Those of us fortunate enough to have participated in the NCAA Mock Selection process learned first hand that there’s no such thing as a perfect bracket. Even with 37 at-large bids available, there’s always team No. 38. You can’t escape tough decisions.
Committee Chair Jeff Hathaway said he and his fellow Selection Committee members realize the scrutiny involved with putting together what we know as March Madness. It’s one reason why the NCAA has made the process more transparent in recent years. The Mock Selection exercise is just one example. This year, the NCAA’s official RPI, Team Sheets, and Nitty Gritty reports are available online at www.ncaa.org. Anyone with a computer and an internet connection can view the same reports and data used by committee members. You can even find the Principles and Procedures for Establishing the bracket at the NCAA site.
Here are few quick notes from Friday:
Seeding the Field of 68 isn’t completed until all 68 teams are selected. Team A doesn’t have be placed as an 11 or 12 seed just because it was one of the final at-large teams selected. As “scrubbing” of teams is completed, the s-curve changes. During our mock exercise, we ultimately moved a few teams around on the s-curve before we began placing them into the bracket. NCAA team members said this is a common occurrence. Teams move up or down during the final rankings, and sometimes those teams are moved a seed line to accommodate the bracketing process.
Greg Shaheen of the NCAA said the Selection Committee often spends up to 40 hours “scrubbing” teams during the seeding process. You may disagree with where a team ends up, but it’s not because every team wasn’t thoroughly evaluated. As a reference, we spent about an hour and a half “scrubbing” through the seed lines.
A group of committee members is assigned specifically to the bottom quadrant (Seeds 13-16). Although 13-16 seeds are often automatic qualifiers, Hathaway stressed that it’s important for every team to be evaluated and seeded correctly. Read more…
My initial reaction to Day 1 of the Mock Selection process in Indianapolis: the NCAA team does a remarkable job of creating an educational and entertaining experience. Committee Chair Jeff Hathaway shared a few opening remarks and interacted with the group throughout the day. Those of us in the room were able to ask questions and receive candid answers about the process and how the real Selection Committee works together to select and seed teams. Friday, we will continue with final selections, seeding, and bracketing.
Here are a few key takeaways from Thursday …
Hathaway emphasized the incredible prep work done by committee members. Each member is assigned various conferences and provides detailed reports to the entire committee about such things as injuries, travel issues (that could affect outcomes), etc. All committee members are provided a DirectTV package that enables them to watch as many games as possible. Hathaway stressed the importance of watching games and not simply relying on computer data. Hathaway said he often spends an hour each morning reviewing data from games the night before.
Hathaway wrapped up the evening by talking about the amount of discussion that takes place inside the actual selection room. He described it as “exhaustive” and “extensive.” What we spent 15-20 minutes discussing (because of time), the committee might discuss for an hour or more - breaking down the nuances of a team’s schedule, its wins and losses, where its games were played, and whether the team passes the “eye” test.
Hathaway also stressed that the committee values a team’s non-conference schedule. These are games a team chooses to play. They have options as to who they play and where they play. They want teams to challenge themselves. Read more…