Is that this the way forward for school basketball? WAC altering seeding for tournaments

For years now the NCAA selection committee has utilized algorithms such as RPI or the more recent and accurate net to help determine which teams should be included in the NCAA Tournament and as what seeds.

Those rankings systems aren’t the be all end all of determining NCAA tourney seeds — debate and voting happens — but they play a significant role.

A mid-major conference has elected to borrow that approach and apply it to its own conference tournaments.

According to CBSSports’ Matt Norlanderinstead of seeding teams by only conference wins and losses, the Western Athletic Conference will use an algorithm going forward.

Created specifically for the WAC by Ken Pomeroy, creator of kenpom.comit will take into account conference performance but also “rewards and/or punishes based off performance against all teams they face in the regular season,” Norlander wrote.

That means, as explained by Norlander, “it’s possible a team could finish with the second-best league record but end up seeded, say, fourth or fifth. Conversely, a team with the eighth-best record but with a more impressive résumé of wins could be rewarded for its degree of difficulty and earn a higher seed than its place in the traditional conference standings.”

Why is the WAC doing this?

Conference commissioner Brian Thornton and associate commissioner Drew Speraw explained to Norlander that the league wants to protect the teams with the best NCAA tournament resumes.

It is not dissimilar from the recent change in college football in which conferences have scrapped divisions in order to give their best teams the greatest chance of qualifying for conference championships game, and subsequently the College Football Playoff.

“The goal (is) ultimately to protect the highest résumé with the highest seeds,” Thornton told CBS Sports. “As we were coming up with this strategic plan from a basketball standpoint — which was one of my big tasks when I came here — nonconference scheduling always came up. … And ultimately, it becomes very hard to penalize people for what you’re able to do from a nonconference scheduling standpoint.”

Per Norlander, the conference is calling it the WAC résumé seeding systemand basically the tougher the opponent played, the more credit teams will receive.

“The concept is rudimentary; it’s merely introducing win/loss merit to bring more nuance to the WAC’s standings ledger,” Norlander wrote. “The concept rewards teams for scheduling well (and winning) and dings them for scheduling poorly (and losing). Since it’s harder to beat a top-50 on the road than it is to beat a team ranked 200th at home, those achievements should be weighted more appropriately.”

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