Since this topic is going to come up in this week's bracket, I figured that I would share with you how I determine who receives each of the 31 automatic bids during a regular season bracket projection.
Before Conference Play
- The conference team with the best winning percentage against Division I competition, since games against non-D1 teams are not counted toward a team's profile for selection and seeding.
- If two or more teams are tied on winning percentage, the team with the most Division I wins gets the spot.
- If two or more teams are still tied, the team with the highest RPI gets in.
During Conference Play
- The team with the best conference winning percentage gets in.
- If two or more teams are tied on winning percentage, the team with the best record in games against the teams in question gets in.
- If two or more teams are still tied, the team with the most conference wins earns the bid.
- If two or more teams are still tied, the team with the most overall Division I wins gets the spot.
- If two or more teams are still tied, the team with the highest RPI is in.
- Once a team clinches its conference's regular season championship (or best record, if the conference has divisions), it will remain in the bracket until it falls in the conference tournament.
- See item no. 6 above.
- If a regular season champion falls before the championship game, the highest remaining seed will hold the automatic bid in the bracket. This rule holds as high seeds fall.
- Naturally, the conference tournament winner will appear in the bracket (in bold), once the trophy is awarded.
Hopefully, this will clear up any confusion as to why an unexpected team may be in the field as a conference leader. As the weeks move on and there's more balance in league scheduling, these instances should become even more limited.