Behind the bracket: Scheduling for a tournament bid

The scheduling conundrum in college basketball is no better today than it was a generation ago. The Big Boys generally play nonconference games only on their terms, and The Little Guy is left scrambling for whatever the NCAA Selection Committee deems as its flavor of the month.

(The really little guys just go on the road and collect big checks, but that's another story for another day. All that's new in their world is the price, which now exceeds six figures in many cases.)

Scheduling remains as much art as science, especially as we enter the post-RPI period. The new NCAA Evaluation Tool -- a.k.a. NET -- was not announced in time to impact nonconference slates for the coming season, but it will surely be studied, dissected, parsed and perhaps even manipulated as crafty coaches and their advisors build future schedules.

For now, the coin of the realm remains the quad system, in which a team's results are sorted based on their opponents' NET rankings as well as the sites of their games. To fall into quad one, recall that the opponent must be top-30 for home games, top-50 at a neutral site or top-75 on the road.