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Ncaa Basketball Standings - Do the NCAA Basketball Standings Matter?

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The NCAA basketball standings change so much every week, it’s almost impossible to tell who the clear number one team in the nation is. Even if a team happens to maintain the number one spot for half the season, there is usually a debate from fans, media and colleges alike who disagree with the standings. You might think this has something to do with biased opinions; true, that may be the case with some people. However, the argument is usually caused by teams who think they should be number one because of their strength of schedule and margin of victory.

National Standings

Fans normally pay more attention to their team’s NCAA basketball standings than their actual games; this is because they want everyone to know that their team is the best. Because NCAA basketball is playoff-based, the standings don’t have much merit when it comes to a team’s ranking. Besides, a team that has a subpar record and isn’t ranked in the standings can still make the playoffs. While the fans enjoy the ranking of their team, the actual team cares more about their playoff chances. There are only 25 spots in the national standings; even if a team is ranked number one, it really doesn’t matter at the end of the day. What matters is their ability to seal a playoff spot.

Conference Standings

NCAA basketball standings are usually split into two categories: national and conference. National standings clearly state a team’s position among 25 other teams in the nation. The in-conference standings states a team’s ranking within their conference. While a team may hold a 15-5 win/loss record, they could have a 3-2 conference record. Those two losses from within the conference hurt a team more than the three non-conference losses.

The reason for this is that a team is ranked in their conference according to their wins and losses. The more they lose, the less-likely they are to win their conference. However, even if a team loses most of their conference games, they still have a spot in the conference playoffs; they will actually be seeded last and have to play the strongest team first. If the losing team actually wins the playoffs, then they automatically get a spot in the March Madness Basketball Tournament.


So, NCAA basketball standings clearly have a two-sided argument; either the rankings mean something or they don’t. This is usually a never-ending debate, but most media and sports broadcasters rely heavily on the standings to pinpoint a team’s strength amongst the crowd. If a team isn’t ranked, they usually don’t receive much recognition; however, if they are in the top five, they are the five most talked about schools that week. Once a team loses, they become just another number, and the new team that takes their place receives the most coverage.

Some people believe that schools shouldn’t be ranked; instead, they should just play out their schedule and see where they end up at the end of the season. If the standings really don’t decide a team’s place in the tournament, they why have regular season standings in the first place? NCAA basketball standings have only one first-place team, but the tournament places four teams at number one based on their bracket. Whether the standings mean anything or not, it sure is fun to root for your college, especially if they happen to be number one.

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