Which will help determine who we will play in the tournament.
Basically the NCAA wants to make each region equally strong, as best they can. To do that, they utilize something called the S curve. Once the 68 teams are in the field, they seed them 1 through 68 and then apply the S curve.
So the 1 seeds are distributed 1, 2, 3, 4. But then the 2 seeds are distributed 8, 7, 6, 5. The 3 seeds go 9, 10, 11, 12, then the 4 seeds go 16, 15, 14, 13. And the same all the way down the bracket.
Gonzaga’s regional, assuming they are the top seed, would thus be 1, 8, 9, 16, 17, 24, 25, 32, 33, 40, 41, 48, 49, 56, 57, and the worst First Four game. And the 5 seed (#17) gets a 12 seed (at large team) out of the First Four in the first round.
Lunardi currently has us as the #10 team, which would be the 3 seed in the #2 team’s regional (Baylor). Our first round opponent should be the #55 team, which would be the winner of a mid-level conference as a 14 seed.
Of course they have bracketing principles that can get in the way, including keeping teams from the same conference apart, depending on how many times they played during the regular season (if we play Bama next week, they would have to keep us apart until the regional final, so they couldn’t put us as the 3 seed and Bama as the 2 in the same region). They also try to avoid first round rematches of nonconference games; they wouldn’t give us a first round game against Abilene Christian, for instance, if Abilene wins the Southland AQ. And then there’s the Mormon exception; BYU won’t play on Sunday, so they have to be put in a regional where they would play on Saturday.
The bracketing procedures are a little different this year because of the pandemic and the semi-bubble tournament, so geography isn’t considered for one thing. In a normal year, they tweak the S curve to keep teams close to home so that their fans can more easily travel.
Another principle they will apply this year is that the First Four teams will all go into the “left” side of the bracket, the one including the #1 and #4 seeds. Which currently, according to Lunardi, would be Gonzaga and Illinois. So Gonzaga will play the winner of one 16 vs 16 game in the first round, and Illinois will play the other.