| | Selecting Tourney Teams Very Difficult This Year
Selecting NCAA tournament teams this year is going to be no easy task. The NCAA selection committee has a very difficult job this year because many teams are grouped together in many conferences.
NCAA Committee chairman Craig Littlepage said there are very few selections that are automatic this year, and that is going to make for a very nerve-wracking selection Sunday for many teams. We know we are going to face some unusual challenges this year and specifically because of conference realignments," Littlepage said. "It seems we have some gridlock at the top or in the middle of conferences. And because there has been some imbalanced conference scheduling, it means some teams might not have played the same schedules."
Usually the committee can put some decent weight into strength of schedule. That is more difficult this year. "You have some conferences where teams might not be playing the same schedule and some conferences that have non-plays," he said. "Finally, there's the question that you need a .500 record in league play to get consideration, but with the schedules that presents some difficult challenges."
There are some teams that have questionable resumes this season. Kentucky could be a .500 team in their conference, yet not have a quality win in conference play. That could be a problem since many of the mid-major conferences are having very good seasons. The Missouri Valley, Mid-American, Sun Belt and Colonial Athletic Association are having excellent seasons.
As tough a job as the selection process will be, the seeding process could be even worse. "I think seeding will be a challenge and as I almost daily go through my own personal seeding process here, teams are moving up and down and horizontally as teams don't run the table," said Littlepage, the athletic director at Virginia. "The problem isn't only going to be on the 8-9 lines, but on other lines as well."
The committee did a test run a couple of weeks ago, and things were more difficult than ever. "I think there could be a lower number of what you would call locks than usual," he said. "Since then, a lot of things have changed and in the next two weeks, there's still a lot to be determined. I think there will be problems because of a lower number of locks and because of the gridlock."
Get prepared for perhaps the biggest debate yet for this year’s 65 team field.