Call it a labor of love for Kansas athletic director Bob Frederick ... with an emphasis on the labor.
Sure, it's prestigious being chair of the NCAA Div. I men's basketball committee, but it's also a body-sapping grind that seems to grow longer every year.
"It used to be we'd start after supper on that Thursday," Frederick said. "Then we moved it up to 3 p.m. last year and now it's 1 p.m."
Frederick is serving his fifth and last year -- and his second as chair -- of the committee charged with selecting the 64-team bracket for the men's tournament.
Is he glad this is his last year?
"Yes and no," he said. "It is exhausting. It's a tremendous time commitment, but it's a thrill. I like the thrill, but not the time part."
Frederick and the eight other members of the committee will convene at 1 p.m. on Thursday, March 7, and they won't leave the Kansas City Hyatt Regency until Sunday evening, March 10, after the bracket has been announced on national television.
For most of that time, they'll be sequestered on the top floor poring over baskets of data in an attempt to produce the fairest and most balanced bracket possible.
"It's a casual atmosphere," Frederick said. "I wouldn't say it was tense, but I think the people feel the significance of the task and everyone is focused. I know everybody is exhausted on Sunday evening."
They may be even more drained this time because of the preponderence of good teams.
"Seeding this time will definitely by the most difficult ever," Frederick said. "I think we'll spend more time this year in seeding than ever before."
Whatever they decide, they'll base it almost solely on the numbers.
"One of the things that's really helpful in seeding is what we call our Nitty-Gritty Sheet," Frederick said. "We can compare teams on 20 factors. I think we'll be looking at a larger number of teams on our Nitty-Gritty Sheet this year."
Frederick certainly won't go into next month's session blind. He'll have done plenty of homework.
"In late January I begin looking at the standings in the newspapers," he said. "I go conference by conference. In my first pass-through I saw 100 teams I thought still had a chance, but that number is in double digits now."
In addition, the Kansas athletic director has done the potato on the couch thing.
"I have to admit I've seen an inordinate amount of TV games this year, but I think that's typical of the other eight members as well," Frederick said.
In the future, the committee could be watching even more video screens. Computer terminals would replace the stacks of paper now used during deliberations.
"I expect in three years each committee member will have a monitor in front of him," Frederick said.