Playoff Seeding Primer

By John Schuhmann

SECAUCUS, NJ, April 2, 2007 -- Confused by the new playoff seeding format? Were you confused by the old format?

Last season, much ado was made about the Spurs and Mavs, the teams with the two best records in the Western Conference, meeting in the Conference Semifinals because of the rule that gave the top three seeds to the division winners.
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The seeding rules have been adjusted to avoid the two best teams meeting before the Conference Finals.
D. Clarke Evans/NBAE/Getty Images

So, during the offseason, that rule was changed so that the two best teams in the conference would not face each other until the Conference Finals, even if they're in the same division.

As the regular season wraps up and some teams clinch playoff berths while others are eliminated, here's everything you need to know about how the playoff brackets are laid out.
2007 Nifty Numbers

The top four seeds will be the three division winners plus the team with the next best record. Those four will be ordered by record (and tiebreakers if needed), so it's possible that two teams in the same division could hold the top two spots, with the other two division winners at Nos. 3 and 4.

Seeds 5 through 8 are the next four teams according to record (and tiebreakers if needed).

First Round matchups are as follows:
1 vs. 8
4 vs. 5
2 vs. 7
3 vs. 6

Conference Semifinals matchups are as follows:
1-8 Winner vs. 4-5 Winner
2-7 Winner vs. 3-6 Winner

Homecourt advantage for any series is determined by record, not seed. So, it's possible that the 5 seed could have homecourt advantage over the 4, or that the 6 seed could have homecourt advantage over the 3.

Tiebreakers
(1) Head-to-head
(2) Division record (if the teams are in the same division)
(3) Conference record
(4) Record vs. Playoff teams, own conference
(5) Record vs. Playoff teams, other conference
(6) Net points, all games