It’s a big weekend in college hoops, and we’re introducing expected quad wins and record value before revealing our college basketball predictions to get you ready.

It’s a sometimes awkward interrogation that takes place each year on a Sunday in March. 

The NCAA Tournament Selection Committee chairman makes a TV appearance or two and attempts to justify the group’s decision-making when it comes to any perceived snubs and seeding mishaps.

Several resources are referenced by the committee to explain how it comes to the decisions it does, including strength or schedule, RPI rankings, KenPom and Sagarin rankings, overall health of the team and much more.

But recently, the group seems to be leaning on “quad wins” quite often.

That’s because the NCAA developed a computer model ahead of the 2018-19 season called the NET (NCAA Evaluation Tool) that calculates team ratings used to rank every D1 basketball team and replaced the RPI in the committee’s toolbox.    

Using the NET rankings, team wins and losses have been sorted into four quadrants. Those are organized based on game location and the opponent’s NET ranking, helping to put a greater value on victories on neutral courts and in true road environments.

Here’s how that looks:

  • Quad 1: Home games vs. 1-30, neutral games vs. 1-50 teams, road games vs. 1-75
  • Quad 2: Home vs. 31-75, neutral vs. 51-100, road vs. 76-135
  • Quad 3: Home vs. 76-160, neutral vs. 101-200, road vs. 136-240
  • Quad 4: Home vs. 161-351, neutral vs. 201-351, road vs. 241-351

Simply put, Quad 1 wins are important because they represent the best competition the nation has to offer. And Quad 4 victories, for example, are valued less because they come against opponents a good team should beat.


Is it possible to make the NCAA Tournament without a Quad 1 win? According to The Athletic, no team in the NET era has secured an at-large berth without one.

But again, quad records are always based on current NET ratings, meaning that if a team falls out of a quadrant threshold, it will impact the records of every team that played them.

That complicates matters for bracketologists and college basketball experts attempting to project the field of 68. But using our TRACR model, we’ve developed a metric called expected quad wins that projects a team’s record in Quads 1-4 over the rest of the season.

Since TRACR already predicts overall record, it can also reveal how the team will fare in those respective quadrants – one of those major factors in determining who should get in the NCAA Tournament and who should be left out.

While many teams already appear destined to take part in March Madness basketball games, some will be on the bubble come Selection Sunday. Two of those teams that may fit the bill are the Cincinnati Bearcats and Wake Forest Demon Deacons.

Both teams are close in TRACR – Cincinnati (14-7, 3-5 Big 12) is ranked 28th and Wake Forest (13-7, 5-4 ACC) is 29th. Both are undefeated in Quad 4, but the Bearcats suffered a Quad 3 loss to West Virginia on Wednesday. Still, Cincinnati has a chance to finish with more Quad 1 wins than Wake.

Cincinnati is projected to have 3.9 Quad 1 victories (with 10.1 losses), while Wake Forest has 1.6 expected wins (5.4 losses), per our simulation. So a second big win for the Deacons could be the key to edging Cincinnati come Selection Sunday.

The Houston Cougars, No. 4 in the AP Top 25 but No. 1 in our TRACR rankings, currently have the most expected total wins in Quad 1 with 12.8, followed by the second-ranked Purdue Boilermakers with 11.0. The Iowa State Cyclones are ranked 12th, but they look to have the potential to boost their resume with the fourth-most expected Quad 1 victories (8.9).

Most Quad 1 victories

The Cyclones won’t have to wait long to do just that as they visit Baylor on Saturday. The Bears are 18th in the AP Top 25 and 15th in our TRACR rankings. This is the first meeting this season after Iowa State took all three last year, including a 78-72 win in the Big 12 tournament.

The Bears (15-5, 4-3 Big 12) snapped a three-game losing streak with a 77-69 win at Central Florida on Wednesday, while the Cyclones (16-4, 5-2) knocked off No. 7 Kansas last weekend.


We’ve also developed something called record value, which estimates how likely an average TRACR top-25 team would match or exceed a team’s expected record at the end of the regular season. This process can give us an indication of how strong a team’s record is: The lower the team’s record value, the more rare that record is.

For example, Wisconsin’s expected record at the end of the regular season is 22.9-8.1. For simplicity’s sake, let’s say they finish 23-8 on average. So how many times would the average TRACR top-25 team play through that same schedule and go 23-8 or better? Wisconsin’s record value is 61.4, meaning that a top-25 team would match or exceed that record about 61.4% of the time.

The Badgers, ranked 17th in TRACR after getting upset by Nebraska on Thursday night, will have to rebound quickly with a Sunday date against visiting Purdue (No. 2 in TRACR).

Wisconsin (16-5, 8-2), which is the underdog in this game according to TRACR (more on this later), has won 11 straight at home since falling to Tennessee on Nov. 10. The Boilermakers (20-2, 9-2) extended their winning streak to six in a row on Wednesday when they outlasted visiting Northwestern 105-96 in overtime.

The previously mentioned Cougars (19-2, 6-2) are projected to win the Big 12 and finish about 28-3. Only 7.9% of the time could a top-25 team match or succeed their projected record. Kelvin Sampson has his team set for a possible No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament and will be one of the moneyline favorites to win the title.

Houston, however, could find out if it’s ready for those expectations Saturday when it visits No. Kansas (11th in TRACR). The Jayhawks (17-4, 5-3) have won 16 in a row at home and 91 of their last 95 games there since February 2018.

record value leaders

Duke’s record value is 60.5, meaning that an average top-25 team would only match the Blue Devils’ predicted record 605 times out of 1,000 simulations. Duke renews its rivalry with ACC-best North Carolina (17-4, 9-1) on Saturday night in Chapel Hill.

The Blue Devils (16-4, 7-2) have a chance to move within a half-game of the conference lead with their third straight win in this series. Kyle Filipowski, who leads the team with 17.5 points and 8.7 rebounds per game, stepped up with 22 points and 13 rebounds in Duke’s 62-57 road win over the Tar Heels in the only meeting last season.

UNC, which has won nine straight at home since that loss to Duke, hopes to bounce back after its 10-game winning streak was snapped at Georgia Tech last weekend.


Which teams are the best bets this weekend? How do our projected winners compare to sportsbooks’ college basketball picks? 

Below are our model’s win probabilities for all the AP Top 25 matchups. (The win probability is listed next to the projected winner.)

Friday, Feb. 2

  • St. Bonaventure at No. 21 Dayton (83.4%)
  • Butler at No. 13 Creighton (79.5%)

Saturday, Feb. 3

  • No. 1 UConn (76.6%) at St. John’s
  • No. 9 Marquette (92.9%) at Georgetown
  • Texas at No. 25 TCU (72.3%)
  • No. 17 Utah State at San Diego State (52.8%)
  • No. 23 Oklahoma (59.9%) at UCF
  • No. 4 Houston (70.5%) at No. 8 Kansas
  • Tulsa at No. 20 Florida Atlantic (94.5%)
  • No. 16 Auburn (73.7%) at Ole Miss
  • Cincinnati at No. 15 Texas Tech (71.8%)
  • No. 22 BYU (93.2%) at West Virginia
  • No. 7 Duke at No. 3 North Carolina (74.8%)
  • No. 12 Iowa State (51.2%) at No. 18 Baylor
  • Mississippi State at No. 24 Alabama (90.4%)
  • No. 5 Tennessee (67.0%) at No. 10 Kentucky

Sunday, Feb. 4

  • No. 2 Purdue (57.8%) at No. 6 Wisconsin
  • Nebraska at No. 14 Illinois (85.8%)
  • Stanford at No. 11 Arizona (93.2%)

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