NCAA Basketball Mock Selection Committee: A Look into the Selection Process

Joshua Gleason@JGleasContributor IIIMarch 5, 2012

NCAA Basketball Mock Selection Committee: A Look into the Selection Process

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    This past week, a few of the Bleacher Report writers got together on Google+ and simulated what the NCAA Selection Committee does every year for selecting and seeding the teams that will partake in the NCAA Tournament.

    What transpired was madness that is simultaneous only with March.

    It was a long and grueling few hours that were filled with debates over how to rank teams, the final at-large teams, and the computer problems that could not help but rear their ugly head and slow down the process.

    After it was all completed, I can speak for the rest of the writers and myself when I say that we all gained a greater appreciation for what the NCAA Selection Committee goes through each year; all the numbers on the computer screen can certainly become a blur after looking at them for hours on end.

    The final bracket is done and here is everything that went into it.

    B/R Mock Selection Committee: Joshua Gleason, James Sullivan, Teddy Bailey, Matt Overing

    The Committee took place on Tuesday, February 28, so all standings and résumé were taken from that date.

Conference Champions

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    The first thing we did was simulate the conference championships. Not many surprises occurred, but there were a few notable ones.

    Arguably the biggest upset occurred in the SEC where the Florida Gators were able to get by the Vanderbilt Commodores in the semifinals and then knock off the Kentucky Wildcats.

    In the Big Ten, the Michigan Wolverines and Wisconsin Badgers pulled the upsets against the Michigan State Spartans and Ohio State Buckeyes to advance to the championship game. There, Michigan picked up another huge win and the Big Ten title.

    The Syracuse Orange took care of a surging Louisville Cardinals squad in the Big East Finals. After the Orange grabbed the Big East title and Kentucky lost the SEC title, Matt Overing stated that, “Syracuse should get the number one overall seed,” something all the writers agreed upon.

    The other two one-seeds were determined by the winners of the ACC and Big 12, where the North Carolina Tar Heels beat their rival, the Duke Blue Devils, and the Missouri Tigers exacted some revenge on the Kansas Jayhawks to take the Big 12 title.

    Here is the complete list of conference tournament champions and how a few other teams fared in their respective tournaments:

    ACC—North Carolina

    Duke Finals, Virginia and Florida State Semis

    America East—Vermont


    Saint Louis Finals, Xavier and St. Joe’s Semis

    Atlantic Sun—Belmont

    Big 12—Missouri

    Kansas Finals, Kansas State and Baylor Semis

    Big East—Syracuse

    Louisville Finals, Marquette and South Florida Semis, Georgetown Quarters

    Big Sky—Montana

    Big South—Coastal Carolina

    Big Ten—Michigan

    Wisconsin Finals, Michigan State and Ohio State Semis

    Big WestLong Beach State

    Colonial Athletic AssociationDrexel

    Conference-USASouthern Mississippi

    Horizon LeagueValparaiso

    Ivy LeagueHarvard

    Metro Atlantic Athletic ConferenceIona

    Mid-American ConferenceOhio

    MEACSavannah State

    Missouri Valley ConferenceCreighton

    Wichita State Finals

    Mountain WestUNLV

    New Mexico Finals, San Diego State and Colorado State Semis

    NortheastLIU Brooklyn

    Ohio ValleyMurray State


    Washington Finals, Arizona and Oregon Semis


    Southern ConferenceDavidson


    Kentucky Finals, Vanderbilt and Alabama Semis


    Summit LeagueOral Roberts

    Sun BeltMiddle Tennessee State

    SWACMississippi Valley State

    WACNew Mexico State


    Saint Mary’s Finals, Gonzaga and Loyola Marymount Semis

At-Large Teams

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    After we had the conference champions, we went through the process of selecting the at-large teams to make the tournament.

    This is always the most controversial part of the selection process that the media constantly rips. The basis for most of the criticism comes from high-ranked RPI teams left off. People need to understand that while the RPI is looked at such as in the instance of good wins and bad losses, which is evaluated primarily on the opposing teams RPI, it is not the sole factor in determining if a team makes the tournament or not.

    Of the items we mainly stressed for consideration were whether teams challenged themselves in the non-conference and how they fared in those games, their road/neutral record, and the eye test. Numbers can deceive so it is also important not to forget how a team actually looks on the court.

    Surprisingly, the at-large selection process went fairly smoothly for our committee. We listened to each others' cases for teams and in the end, agreed upon the teams.

    Here is each of our last four teams in:

    Matthew OveringVCU, Xavier, Texas, Arizona

    James SullivanXavier, Cincinnati, VCU, North Carolina State

    Teddy BaileyXavier, Cincinnati, VCU, North Carolina State

    Josh GleasonVCU, Xavier, Cincinnati, St. Joseph’s

    Everybody agreed upon VCU Rams and Xavier Musketeers, so we automatically put them into the field. We debated on the last two spots, and after much deliberation, we decided on the Cincinnati Bearcats and North Carolina State Wolfpack.

    The Wolfpack received the nod because they had a solid non-conference schedule that featured a win over the Texas Longhorns. The Bearcats got in mainly because they have played quite well since ‘The Brawl’ and have fared well in Big East play.

    Here are the rest of the at-large teams:

    ('Last Four In' are underlined)

    1. Kentucky

    2. Michigan State

    3. Kansas

    4. Duke

    5. Ohio State

    6. Marquette

    7. Wichita State

    8. Georgetown

    9. Louisville

    10. Baylor

    11. Florida State

    12. Wisconsin

    13. Vanderbilt

    14. Memphis

    15. Indiana

    16. Gonzaga

    17. Alabama

    18. New Mexico

    19. Iowa State

    20. Saint Mary’s

    21. Connecticut

    22. Notre Dame

    23. Kansas State

    24. Purdue

    25. San Diego State

    26. Virginia

    27. West Virginia

    28. Saint Louis

    29. Washington

    30. Miami

    31. South Florida

    32. Seton Hall

    33. Mississippi State

    34. Xavier

    35. Cincinnati

    36. VCU

    37. North Carolina State

    Last Four OutTexas, St. Joseph’s, Oregon, Dayton

    Next Four OutNorthwestern, Arizona, Colorado State, Nevada

Ranking of All the Teams

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    Now that the field was complete, the next step was to rank the teams. This is basically the preliminary step to seeding. It allows a structure for the seeding.

    Syracuse did end up as the number one overall seed. The Duke Blue Devils, Kansas Jayhawks, Michigan State Spartans, and Michigan Wolverines took the number two seeds.

    The rest of the rankings looked as such:

    1.   Syracuse

    2.   Kentucky

    3.   North Carolina

    4.   Missouri

    5.   Duke

    6.   Kansas

    7.   Michigan State

    8.   Michigan

    9.   Ohio State

    10.  Florida

    11.  Marquette

    12.  Louisville

    13.  Georgetown

    14.  Creighton

    15.  Wichita State

    16.  UNLV

    17.  Murray State

    18.  Baylor

    19.  Temple

    20.  Wisconsin

    21.  Florida State

    22.  BYU

    23.  Vanderbilt

    24.  Southern Mississippi

    25.  Memphis

    26.  Alabama

    27.  New Mexico

    28.  Kansas State

    29.  Saint Mary’s

    30.  Notre Dame

    31.  Indiana

    32.  Iowa State

    33.  Connecticut

    34.  Gonzaga

    35.  Purdue

    36.  Virginia

    37.  San Diego State

    38.  California

    39.  Saint Louis

    40.  Washington

    41.  West Virginia

    42.  Iona

    43.  Mississippi State

    44.  Long Beach State

    45.  Harvard

    46.  Xavier

    47.  Cincinnati

    48.  Seton Hall

    49.  Oral Roberts

    50.  Belmont

    51.  Miami (Fla.)

    52.  South Florida

    53.  Drexel

    54.  VCU

    55.  North Carolina State

    56.  Davidson

    57.  New Mexico State

    58.  Middle Tennessee State

    59.  Valparaiso

    60.  Ohio

    61.  Bucknell

    62.  Montana

    63.  LIU Brooklyn

    64.  Coastal Carolina

    65.  Texas-Arlington

    66.  Vermont

    67.  Mississippi Valley State

    68.  Savannah State

The Final Bracket

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    For a better view of the Bracket, visit this link:!/MisterSideline/status/176758965890318336/photo/1/large

    The Bracket was a long and frustrating thing to put together.

    First off, while the rankings were followed as a basis, it isn't followed strictly for seeding. There are many factors that go into the seeding.

    Providing balanced regions, at least amongst the top four seeds in each region, is the first step. On top of that, two other stipulations go into the process. One of those is that the committee has a rule where the top three teams from a conference aren't supposed to be in the same region. For the most part, this was easy to avoid, except for with the Mountain West, in which the UNLV Rebels and San Diego State Aztecs were both slotted in the Midwest region.

    The main reason that UNLV and San Diego State ended up in the same region was because of another sticking point with seedinglocation. The west coast teams are hard to seed because most of the 2nd and 3rd Round sites are on the east coast. While teams can be placed far away from their home, the committee likes to make sure the higher seeded team is closer than the lower seeded team. It doesn't always work out that way, but the majority of the time it does.

    The other condition that is strictly avoided is games in the 2nd Round that are rematches. The committee also tries to avoid rematches in the 3rd Round, and we were able to keep that to a minimum with only a few possible rematches.

    For the play-in games, we tried to focus on the teams that were deserving of the seeds for the play-in games but had weaker résumés, and therefore should have to prove themselves in the 1st Round. Here were the play-in games:

    South 16 Seed: Savannah State vs. Mississippi Valley State (winner plays 1 seed Syracuse)

    West 13 Seed: North Carolina State vs. VCU (winner plays 4 seed Georgetown)

    Midwest 16 Seed: Vermont vs. Texas-Arlington (winner plays 1 seed Missouri)

    Midwest 12 Seed: Belmont vs. Seton Hall (winner plays 5 seed Vanderbilt)

    Finally, here were the top four seeds in each region:

    Seed East Midwest South West
    1 Syracuse Missouri Kentucky North Carolina
    2 Michigan Duke Michigan State Kansas
    3 Florida Marquette Louisville Ohio State
    4 Wichita State UNLV Creighton Georgetown

Another Great Tournament Awaits

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    Hopefully everybody enjoyed this little insight into how the committee process works! Maybe this will cause some to spare the NCAA Selection Committee a little criticism this year as they put in the work to make a fair bracket with great matchups.

    Follow me on Twitter@MisterSidelinefor more college basketball info!