Archive for Monday, March 14, 2011

NCAA Tournament selection process flawed

March 14, 2011


Too tall to fit into anybody’s pocket, too smart to trust anyone else’s views over his own and too funny to deliver his opinions in drab fashion, Jay Bilas cemented his reputation as the E.F. Hutton of college basketball on Selection Sunday.

When Bilas talks college hoops, it pays to shut up and listen.

Bilas played for Duke and doesn’t let that fact make him favor his alma mater. He also doesn’t let it keep him from giving the Blue Devils the credit they deserve. It seemed clear that the four No. 1 seeds should be Kansas, Ohio State, Duke and Pittsburgh, yet so many others kept talking about Notre Dame and not Duke. Bilas predicted the right four, but it was after the selections, when he disagreed with the NCAA Tournament committee, that Bilas really shined.

Bilas rightly slammed the selections of UAB and VCU.

“These are horrible decisions,” Bilas railed on ESPN. “I’ve been saying for years I think we need basketball people on the committee.”

What a novel concept, basketball people on a selection committee for a basketball tournament.

“When I look at UAB and VCU at the expense of some of these other teams — and now listen, we’re not talking about great teams here, I understand that — but I wonder whether some people on the committee know whether the ball’s round. That sounds harsh, but I’m wondering. These were bad decisions. They’re indefensible.”

In trying to defend the indefensible, selection committee chairman Gene Smith acknowledged the dreaded RPI computer ratings entered the equation. It long ago was time for the RPI to RIP, but it remains a totally unreliable security blanket for weary committee members. It’s an awful system that places far too much emphasis on the win-loss record of opponents. Far better computer rankings, such as Sagarin predictor and, are out there.

If the committee needed help from computers, Sagarin predictor identifies a more worthy team from the same state as Virginia Commonwealth. Anybody with a clue must agree Virginia Tech is more deserving than VCU, yet lists VCU with a 49 RPI and Virginia Tech with a 60. Sagarin predictor has Virginia Tech at 33, VCU at 86. Colorado, which beat Kansas State three times and Texas once, is 34 spots behind UAB in RPI ratings and 10 spots ahead of the Blazers in Sagarin predictor.

Scrap the whole concept of a committee. A better idea: One person a year chosen by Bilas, with vast college basketball experience and enough self-confidence not to have an agenda, should select the preliminary field, announce it on TV and then debate the selections with Bilas for 30 minutes. Exactly two hours later, the chairman then reveals whether he or she has made Bilas’ suggested changes or stayed with the original brackets. Think that selection show might get decent ratings?


Lee Eldridge 7 years, 2 months ago

I love Bilas. He's my favorite college hoops analyist.

jiminycricket 7 years, 2 months ago

Colorado got a raw deal, however, in the bigger picture it was not about Colorado, it was a slap at the Big 12. Other than Kansas and K-state, the Big 12 got hosed. Colorado getting left out was just the icing on the fruitcake. Texas a number four seed?, and gets the toughest four team bracket by far. Texas A&M a seventh seed? Missouri and 11th seed and almost not making the tourney? Common on guys, given the Big "12" picture it's not surprising. Disrespect is the word that comes to mind. It will not be Colorado's performance in the NIT that will prove the committe wrong, but the Big "5's" ability to dance!

number1jayhawker 7 years, 2 months ago

If the so-called selection committee went by the RPI then why isn't KU the overall # 1 seed? Identical records with OSU but we are #1 in the RPI.

thomgreen 7 years, 2 months ago

Maybe this is a leap, but could Dan Beebe have been getting revenge against CU for leaving the Big 12? He's on the selection committee, and (I believe) no one from the Pac 10 was this year. Granted, he has to leave the room while the committee discusses the Big 12 selections (from what I understand). But you're telling me there's not some sort of back room deals going on?

mae 7 years, 2 months ago

you all think this is honest. it's common business. business practice clearly states that you do whatever it takes to make money, lying about it is ok. it's how the separation between wealth happened. viewing this as a business model I would keep the suspense as high as possible whilst trying to uphold norms like the 16seed never winning.

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