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Archive for Saturday, March 13, 2004

Bowlsby face of NCAA committee

March 13, 2004

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— As an athlete, Bob Bowlsby worked on takedowns and pins. He is more concerned with brackets, seedings and RPIs these days.

The former high school and college wrestler is completing his first year as chairman of the NCAA Division One men's basketball committee, the group that selects and seeds the 65 teams in the NCAA Tournament.

Talk about a reversal. But it's one that Bowlsby's high school wrestling coach felt he was ready to handle.

"Whatever Bob would take care of, whether it would be head of football, head of tiddly winks or checkers, he comes across well," said Bob Siddens, who coached Bowlsby at Waterloo West High School.

"I would say with Bob, he always knew what to say."

A useful trait, as it turned out, because as the front man for the committee, Bowlsby -- currently the athletic director at Iowa -- is called on to do a lot of explaining now. A bracket without controversy would be like autumn in Iowa without a corn harvest.

After all the work the committee does to put teams in the tournament, the chairman often gets bombarded by questions about the teams that DIDN'T get in.

Bowlsby and the other nine committee members are now closeted at an Indianapolis hotel, surrounded by charts, graphs, power ratings, laptops and television sets tuned to conference tournaments.

They'll spend their waking hours discussing and analyzing data and voting on who's in and who's out until Bowlsby emerges late Sunday afternoon with the 65-team bracket.

"We have many, many tools at our disposal," Bowlsby said.

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