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Eric Vander Voort | | March 1, 2018

What is a team sheet? Breaking down a vital selection tool

If you follow the March Madness Facebook and Twitter accounts, you may be seeing a lot of these during the season, especially in the final weeks leading up to Selection Sunday:

(Click image to enlarge)

What is it? What does it mean?

We're here to help you understand one of the most important tools in assessing potential tournament teams -- the team sheet.

David Worlock, the Director of Media Coordination and Statistics at the NCAA, calls team sheet a "visual snapshot" of a team's résumé. The sheets are used as the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Committee meets to determine the 36 at-large bids and the seeds for all 68 teams in the NCAA tournament.

The team sheet has been a useful way for the committee to put two teams side-by-side and have an easy way to visually compare their tournament credentials. 

Some of the main takeaways:

• Visual Data. It's all there. Wins, losses, scores, dates, metrics, neatly organized into quadrants. Want to know how many Q1 wins two bubble teams have? How much they won by? Where the games were? It's easy to compare.

• New MetricsThe team sheet was updated for the 2017-18 season to now display multiple rating systems. There are results-based metrics (RPI, KPI, SOR) and prediction metrics (BPI, Pomeroy, Sagarin), both of which are averaged together for a quick snapshot 

• Color Coordination. The point of the team sheet is to display a season visually, and the colors are a big help with that. Losses highlighted in red catch the eye. You want that red to be on the left side of the sheet rather than the right, meaning losses came against other potential tournament teams. There's also blue to show non-conference games, while orange and green are used to differentiate between home, away and neutral court games.

Clicking on the image above will allow you to explore the team sheet and what all of the numbers on there mean.


The team sheets are publicly available, so you can know exactly where your team stands. You'll have to select "basketball," "team sheets," and "all" in the dropdowns, then use the right arrow to scroll to the most recent date.

Committee member or not, expect to see a lot more of these as the season goes on. Selection Sunday is coming.

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