Explaining the workings of the S-curve

Updated: February 25, 2010, 1:53 PM ET
By Joe Lunardi

Hi, Joe:

Love your work, but I have a question about how you (or the NCAA) apply the S-curve ratings to the actual bracket. Basically, my question comes down to this: Does the NCAA actually rank the teams 1-65 and then seed strictly according to the S-curve? If this were the case, the No. 1 overall seed should be in the same region as the worst No. 2 seed (eight on the S-curve) and the best number No. 2 (nine on the S-curve).

However, in the [Monday, Feb. 22] bracket, Kansas is grouped with Villanova (seven on the S-curve) and Vanderbilt (12). Shouldn't that region have Kansas as the No. 2 with West Virginia (eight) as the No. 2 and Ohio State (nine) as the No. 3 and so on?

Additionally, does the NCAA base regional [pairings] for the No. 1 seeds on S-curve placement (for example, should Kansas line up to play the worst No. 1 seed in the Final Four?). I seem to remember based on previous years that they do not, but wouldn't it make sense?

Thanks in advance. I seem to have this question every year around this time and would appreciate knowing the actual procedure once and for all.

Brian Herrmann
Durham, N.C.

Brian raised all good and common questions. Let me answer two of them right off the bat and then take you through the process of seeding the top four lines in the current (Feb. 22) bracket.