Bracketology Trip: NCAA Mock Selection Committee: Part Two

February 16th, 2012
I've been to Indianapolis almost a dozen times, and each time it perplexes me. Outside of the government employees working downtown during the day, the rest of downtown is one giant convention/conference center. Except it is not contained to the actual convention center, but spread out across 8 blocks.

In town for the NCAA's Mock Selection Committee, I guess I am no different from the other conference-goers filling up chain restaurants (I've counted about 120 so far) and crowding my chain-hotel elevator (the Parts Unlimited crew is pretty rowdy).

At 1 o'clock I'll gather with other members of the media for about 24 hours of non-stop basketball discussion. I don't entirely know how we're going to fill the time. Or at least, I don't know how we're going to fill the time productively. I have projected the field every week for the last 6 seasons, and have very strong opinions about how the field should look. If part of the time is to be spent researching the teams, I consider myself researched-out already.

It will be interesting to see how much of the time is spent over nuanced debates over deserving bubble teams, and how much is spent shooting down ridiculous suggestions: Really, you think Texas-Arlington should be a 7 seed?

In their quest to educate about the selection process, the NCAA held a conference call yesterday, led by selection committee chair Jeff Hathaway. Hathaway will be sitting in on the conference this week, but offered some interesting insight on the call.

For example, when discussing how teams take into account injuries, illnesses, and suspensions, he suggested that performance is what really matters and that those issues are not as relevant. One fan question I was asked on Twitter was whether the committee takes into account injuries, but ignores suspensions. This is something I intend to find out later today.

Hathaway also stressed that the committee does not take into account timing in terms of judging wins. "It's the total body of work," he said. To me, this sounds like the right approach, but I question whether the committee members really act on this.

One comment Hathaway mentioned about the "eye-ball test" irked me. My personal take is that all that should matter in judging a team's NCAA resume is results. How a team "looks" on TV or in person, or their style of play, etc, etc should have no bearing. Hathway said, "I watch how good teams are." Washington "looked" pretty good in nationally televised TV games against Marquette and Duke earlier in the year.. but does this matter? They lost those games and lost many more games. How a team "looks" should have no bearing on the selection committee.

I'll be reporting back throughout the day with more thoughts and insight from the NCAA Mock Selection Committee.