Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Selection Committee Begins Meeting Today

Today is the day when the assorted members of the Selection Committee begin meeting. In the past, conferences and teams with a representative on the committee have generally seen a slight bump in seeding (unless you're the Mountain West), so it is worthwhile at this time to see who might benefit from this bump. (Information found on Bracketography - a site worth checking out).

Side Note: Committee members are required to leave the room whenever their team is part of a vote, so this bias does not occur directly. Instead, I believe it happens when each committee member feels that the absence of that member will lead to a bias against the team in question, and thus gives them a little extra credit when voting. Additionally, it is unclear to me whether committee members leave the room only for the school they currently have ties to, or any school that they have ever had ties to. This question has major ramifications for Notre Dame, who has THREE alums on the committee. I assume that schools in the same conference don't force a committee member to leave - otherwise, Hathaway (the UConn AD), won't be doing very much this week.

#1 - Gene Smith, AD, Ohio State. This year's committee chair managed to get a small bump for every non-Purdue Big 10 team last year - especially his own Buckeyes. If you don't think the Buckeyes are getting the #1 overall, you should consider this information. None of Smith's previous AD stops have a chance of reaching the tournament, but it is worth noting that he won a football national championship with Notre Dame.

#2 - Stanley Morrison, AD, UC-Riverside. Might make a difference on the 14-15 line, but doubtful. Also played for Cal, and coached at Southern Cal. I've seen no bumps based on previous stops, so I really don't think the Trojans are going to benefit.

#3 - Jeffrey Hathaway, AD, Connecticut. Expect to see UConn a line or two above where you might expect them, in deference to this man who leads the athletic department at one of the premier basketball schools in the country. He attended Maryland, which may get them some consideration, but there is probably no love there after Maryland took his head football coach this past winter.

#4 - Lynn Hickey, AD, UT-SA. The second woman ever on this committee. Her conference representative won't be her team, and seems destined for one of the play-in games. Nothing to see here.

#5 - Mike Bobinski, AD, Xavier. Over the past two years, I've missed on Xavier by a line too low. It probably is no coincidence that their AD happens to be on the selection committee. This bump has not appeared to carry over to the other A-10 teams, although his alma mater, Notre Dame, may have been the recipient of some bias last year, when they were criminally overseeded on the 6 line. He has previously worked at Akron and Navy, neither of which should be a factor this year.

#6 - Dan Beebe, Big 12 Commissioner. This is Beebe's second year on the committee, and this man is probably the most well know man on it. After successfully holding together the Big 12, he is in prime position to make the tournament paths of those teams just a bit easier. Will the football expansion fallout transfer over to Colorado and Nebraska, who will be leaving the conference at the end of this academic year? Since he's not actually allowed to vote on

#7 - Doug Fullerton, Big Sky Commissioner - Small conference commissioner. Might impact the bottom lines. I kind of doubt it..

#8 - Ron Wellman, AD, Wake Forest - While Wake Forest is nowhere near the tournament, this positions the ACC to perhaps get a little better positioning. In his second year on the committee, I can't imagine him being a major player.

#9 - Scott Barnes, AD, Utah State - This is a big one. One member of the committee will be out of the room for the discussion of one of the bigger seeding questions of this year's tournament - how do we deal with Utah State's gaudy record - and lack of big wins. How will the other committee members react? It'll be interesting to see if Utah St. gets any seeding bump. I also wonder if his presence on the committee could help St. Mary's, Utah State's signature win.

#10 - Steve Orsini, AD, Southern Methodist - Obviously, Southern Methodist is nowhere near the bracket. One question of interest, however, is whether this could help fellow C-USA members UAB, Memphis, or UTEP. While Memphis and UTEP probably need the auto-bid, UAB is definitely in the discussion to receive one of the last at-large slots. Also of note - Orsini is the third Notre Dame alum on the committee, having played on the 1977 football championship team.

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