The NCAA has altered their criteria for slotting teams in the Men's NCAA Tournament, relaxing some criteria on matches in the NCAA Tourney between teams of the same conference, and adding guidelines for teams that have played each other multiple times.
Previous rules sought to avoid any rematches; now only top-four seeded teams and squads that have faced off multiple times are protected from facing an in-conference rival early in the NCAA Tournament.
Specifically, the earlier guidelines stated that only two teams from the same conference could be slotted in the same region unless nine or more teams came from the same conference. Now, if the top four teams from a conference receive 1-4 seeds, they will be placed in different regions. If not, those teams will be slotted according to their "true" seed as determined by the selection committee.
According to Ron Wellman, the chair of the Division I Men's Basketball Tournament Committee, the attempts to avoid conference matchups has caused teams to be slotted on a different seed line than they deserved.
"After those first four lines are seeded, we want to remain as true to the seed lines as possible," Wellman said. "Too often we have had to move teams up and down a line because we have been limited by our principles on teams from the same league. These changes will give us permissions we have not had previously."
Additionally, teams within a conference that have played three times in the regular season cannot meet before the regional final (Elite Eight). If two teams have played twice during the season, they cannot meet before the regional semifinal (Sweet Sixteen). That rule applies to non-conference matchups as well.
And any of these guiding principles may be relaxed if two or more teams from the same conference are among the "last four in", and selected to play in the play-in "First Round" games.
Are these sensible changes?