The Most Useful Terms and Acronyms of NCAA Basketball

When college basketball teams are in discussion, several terms, acronyms, and statistics are mentioned. KPI, BPI, NET ranking, SOR, and SO are just to mention a few. There are also the at-large bid and automatic bid. All these terminologies can be a bit confusing. Here is a quick refresher of common phrases that the selection committee uses to make important decisions.


Quadrants are used in determining the strength of wins and losses of a team. The past records of a team are divided into four quadrants on the team sheet, based on the NET ranking of the opponent and game location- home, neutral court, or away. The quadrants are the indicators of how good the wins are or how bad the losses are.

Defensive Efficiency

It is a figure that represents the points allowed in every 100 defensive possessions. For instance, if an opponent team garnered 90 points and the game had 70 possessions, its defensive efficiency is (90/70)*100 = 128.6.

Automatic Bid

There are a total of 32 conferences involved in Division 1, each with its own tournament to conclude the regular basketball season. The teams that win those tournaments automatically qualify for a trip to the NCAA tournament. This is what is referred to as the automatic bid.

At-Large Bid

The teams that are voted for NCAA tournament are either in the automatic bid or the at-large bid categories. There are 36 at-large bids for teams that never won the conference tournament but are impressive enough to participate in the NCAA tournament. The number of at-large teams chosen has no limit.


BPI stands for College Basketball’s Power Index. Established by the ESPN, the BPI shows how far a team is below or above average. It also predicts how good a team is moving forward. This index comprises two factors: Defensive and Offensive strength. The BPI is then calibrated by finding the difference between the two measurements.