SDBB: Duke “Scrubbed” From a Deserving #1 Seed by Flawed Selection Committee

By Bermuda Bob

Each and every year, the Selection Committee comes under severe scrutiny for who they admitted to the Big Dance, and who the omitted.  This year, the consensus seems to be that everyone admitted deserved to be there, and those omitted were “no brainers” !!!

The problem this year is that the Selection Committee came up with a term never revealed before … They call it “scrubbing” and regardless how many times the Committee Chair, Mark Hollis of Michigan State, answered queries from CBS or ESPN Commentators, he offered an expert version of circumlocution.

It appears that this year’s Selection Committee decided, without telling the teams, that the season’s performance would outweigh the respective Conference Championship Tournaments.  They obviously could are less who was injured early on – like Duke, or who was peaking going into Conference Championship Tournaments – like Duke, and thereby, the Big Dance !!!

Hollis admitted that Duke started off as a #7 Seed going into the ACC Championship Tournament, and moved up to a #4 Seed, and then finally a #2 Seed.  There seemed to be no chance for Duke to have acceded to a #1 Seed as the Selection Committee had leaked that the #1 Seeds were “locked” before most finished their Conference Championship Tournaments.

If you haven’t noticed, I have chosen to use the correct name (and inference) for each Conference Championship Tournament.  They are called this because winning the Conference regular season is a combination of winning Home and Away, and while often dealing with a myriad of problems, injuries, disciplinary situations, and generally being at full strength.  Of course, I’m referring to Duke’s season going into the ACC Championship Tournament.

So, my question is simple:  Why does the Selection Committee disregard that each and every Conference considers their Championship Tournament to reflect the Champion of their Conference for the Season.  Even if a team were to win the Regular Season, they are not truly considered Champions if they did not win the Championship Tournament.

There you go … Every Conference was disregarded by the Selection Committee because they, in their infinite, but clearly flawed, wisdom “scrubbed” them from seeding the Conference Champions to reflect their earned position as Champions !!!

Syracuse Head Coach Jim Boeheim, while accepting that his team was being spurned for very good reasonings, lamented a simple, but profound request when he simply asked the Selection Committee to … just tell us what you want to see …

In Duke’s defense, here are the obvious reason for their being named a #1 Seed:

  • Duke earned 8 –  RPI top 25 wins …
  • Duke had 13 RPI Top 50 wins …
  • Duke prevailed over North Carolina 2 out of 3 times …

The questionable aspect of this “scrubbing” baloney is that the Selection Committee admitted that they never once considered the Duke – North Carolina rivalry … without a doubt, the greatest rivalry in all of sport.  To quote Jay Leno:

“What were you thinking ???”

Such a ridiculous faux pas justifiably gives pause to consider my annual rant:

“Why aren’t there Basketball People on the Selection Committee ???”  

If you consider the plethora of retired Head Coaches out there, I see no reason why they are not called on to apply their considerable knowledge, experience, and insight to thoughtfully picking who ought to be seeded where and why.  When you need to create a term like “scrubbing,” which brings to mind things like Brillo, Mr. Clean, and Dawn, you have failed before you have begun.

So, Mr. Hollis … instead of the knee-jerk seeding of Gonzaga, who virtually played nobody of any substance except Arizona, why wasn’t Duke seeded #1 ???  Sure, North Carolina won the Regular Season, but Duke beat them twice !!!   Sure, Duke had a difficult, injury ridden season that included their Head Coach, but they still survived to win their Championship Tournament in the toughest – as reflected by their mammoth number of teams in the Big Dance – conference in the nation.

You have dropped the proverbial ball once again.  While you got the right inclusions, you totally screwed a number of programmes with your seeding.  Just ask the Shockers of Wichita State …

Thanks for listening …

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A Simply Duke Basketball “Blue Paper” – Why Doesn’t the Selection Committee Include “Basketball People” ???

SDBB - Blue Paper - Reverse

Each an every year, the actual process of seeding and bracketing the Big Dance comes under some form of scrutiny.  The reason is that the Selection Committee is reluctant to explain themselves past the obvious.  This year, all that Chairman Scott Barnes (Utah State Athletic Director) would agree to reveal was that undefeated Kentucky was the unanimous overall #1 Seed.

When questioned about which “bubble team” was included or excluded, and why, he provided more circumlocution than a youngster caught with his hand in the proverbial cookie jar.

To be faire, this year’s Field of 64 (68 if you include the play-in games) gave media types only a few glaring questions.  The more overt questions were when and where teams were bracketed.  It was surely obvious that the committee only considered the various fan bases in the preliminary games.

Of course, part of any criticism about Regional venues has to be assigned to the NCAA, who has made no bones about wanting only the largest arenas.  For instance, Duke and Gonzaga – the #1 and #2 Seeds respectively – would each halve the country to Houston for their South Regional contests.  Few fans have the ability to travel that distance and incur the expense of doing so. That violates the spirit of the event and college basketball itself !!!

The annual question about the Selection Committee is about it’s composition. This year, 9 members are Athletic Directors, and the tenth member is Judy MacLeod, Conference USA Associate Commissioner. The overwhelming question is:

  1. What do any of these people know about playing and/or coaching college basketball ??? These people are administrators over a wide palette of sports.
  1. How much quality time can these people dedicate to watching and understanding the yearly changing nuances of college basketball without ethically being distracted from their REAL jobs ???

The answers to both questions is a resounding ZERO !!!

 

When one considers the plethora of former and retired coaches in college basketball, the REAL question has to be asked:

Why are there not more “Basketball People” on the Selection Committee ??? 

“Basketball People” understand what Athletic Directors and Conference Commissioners can’t because of the relative focuses of their jobs. So, please consider this:

  1. “Basketball People” understand recruiting, the management of their players, and not only getting the best of them, but also getting them to play their respective roles effectively. This can change form opponent to opponent.
  1. “Basketball People” understand the important challenges and differences of pre-conference season vs. conference season vs. conference tournaments as they each contribute to readiness for a positive Big Dance performance.
  1. “Basketball People” understand the differences of the traditional questions like “Who did you play ???” or “Who did you beat ???” or “Who did you lose to and why ???” For instance, some teams mature to the point that they are nothing like who they were in the pre-season. The best example this year is the increased prowess of teams like Michigan State and Arizona.
  1. “Basketball People” understand the nuances of the game, and don’t care about creating potential match-ups simply to make “Good TV”

The point is that with all the great, retired basketball people available to comprise at least half of the Selection Committee, they need to change who sits on it and include them.

If you’re constantly changing the criteria for college basketball coaches, then, you need to have the only people who understand their pressures – former coaches.

This fraternity of retired coaches can relate to each and every dribble, each and every twist or turn of competition. This includes the “hatching” of an infantine team in the non-conference season to their “coming into their own” for conference competition. They all understand winning, and what it takes to deserve to make it to and succeed in the Big Dance !!!

The “Big Dance” is, without a doubt, the BEST annual sporting event in America.

Why, then, should it not be run by the absolute BEST people in college basketball ???  Those BEST people being “Basketball People” !!!

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