Commentary: The performance of the Rewards system, with regards to matching the polls taken before the NCAA tournament begins, was roughly at par this year, with its 'typical performance' (at least with regards to previous years). Rewards agreed with who the polls thought were the top 2 teams, and then agreed exactly with one team in each subsequent group of teams.
This year was the first time a #16 defeated a top (#1) seed, and that victor (UMBC) was elevated from Reawards' #113 team, before the tourney, to #65 thereafter. (UMBC tied with two other teams as the #33 team in the final coaches' poll). Loyala-Chicago was a #11 seed that played its way into the Final Four, and so they moved up from #28 to#11 (in the final Rewards ranking; they were #7 in the final coaches' poll). Kansas State was a #9 seed that reached the Elite Eight, and their Rewards ranking was bumped up to #25 (from #33), and the coaches also voted them as the #19 team. The #13 seeded team from Buffalo, who defeated Arizona, moved up from #67 to #44, and the other #13 seed (Marshall) did likewise (#78 to #62) after beating Wichita State.
St. Mary's was snubbed by the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee, and their two wins in the NIT moved them up from #21 to #16, in the final Rewards ranking, though their penultimate human poll position (#25/#23) degraded somewhat as they were also involved in that three way tie for #33. The NIT champion, Penn State, moved up from #73 to #61 (in the final Rewards ranking), and they were ranked as the #30 in the final coaches' poll; Penn State was unranked before the NCAA tourney began.
(This page last modified April 04, 2018.)