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For the regular season finale of the UTR Video Podcast – CLICK HERE.
Every year since its inception, the staff members of HoopsHD (including past incarnations like CrimsonCast) gather together during Championship Week to discuss the pending NCAA Tournament. The process is threefold: 1) Select the field, 2) Seed the field, 3) Bracket the field.
The process begins earlier in the week – the first job of each staff member is to select up to 36 teams that would be in the NCAA Tournament regardless of whether or not they win their upcoming conference tournaments. (Teams that already won their conference tournaments were exempt, so conference tournament champions like Gonzaga and Northern Iowa were not included on committee member ballots). Teams that were named on at least 8 out of 10 ballots were added to the NCAA Tournament field. This is where the term first ballot comes from on our show. For other teams that did not make the initial field but were named on at least 3 ballots, they were added to the Under Consideration column on the Selection board. Below is our selection board as of Wednesday from last year:
If you look at the rest of the board, teams listed in blue already won their conference tournaments and were guaranteed entry into the NCAA Tournament. 27 teams listed in green were first-ballot teams as described above. The middle column included all other teams under consideration – teams listed in white and orange (orange teams lost in their respective conference tournaments) were included. Teams listed in red lost their conference tournaments but were not named on committee ballots. After this phase, the HoopsHD Committee had their annual pasta dinner and post-dinner ice cream.
Thursday was the first official day of deliberations for the HoopsHD Committee. Two additional teams were added to the Under Consideration board – Centenary winner Chicago State (click HERE for the Centenary Award details) and 2015-16 Team of the People Grand Canyon (click HERE for Team of the People details). Motions were made to remove teams from Under Consideration that did not have enough merit to be included in the field. (Note that teams in white still had games to play; teams in orange were eliminated from their respective conference tournaments). We then began to debate the merits of Under Consideration teams and who should be added to the at-large field. After the first wave of debates, each committee member voted for their top 8 teams to be selected. The top 8 vote-getters would then be ranked 1 through 8 by each committee member. The top 4 teams (Wisconsin, Providence, Colorado and Butler) were added to the at-large column and the bottom 4 teams “carried over” to the next wave of balloting. After more debates, each committee member individually voted on 4 more teams to be added. The top 4 vote-getters were added to the 4 carry-over teams to again be seeded 1 through 8. The next 4 teams added to the at-large pool were USC, Wichita State, Oregon State and Pittsburgh. 1 at-large spot was left open at this point, but 4 more at-large spots opened up when it became clear that the winners of the ACC, Big East, Big 12 and Pac-12 were already assured of an NCAA Tournament spot. There were also 4 more potential at-larges that could open up pending the results of conference tournaments in the Big 10, SEC, American and A-10. Below is the selection board through Thursday night:
When the committee began deliberations on Friday night, further scrubbing of the Under Consideration board took place as more results from conference tournaments were coming in. At this point, our committee began to build our master seed list. A wave of debates took place as to who the top teams would be – each individual committee member voted on their top 12 teams. (The actual NCAA Selection Committee would select 8 teams at a time, but we did 12 as a time-saving measure). The top 12 teams were seeded 1 through 12 by each individual member; the top 8 vote-getters were added to the seed list on the right-hand side of the Selection Board. Four teams carried over; our committee then debated on which 8 teams (4 by the real NCAA Committee) should be subsequently voted into the seed list. The top 8 teams (along with the 4 carryovers) were again seeded 1-12 and the top 8 vote-getters were added to the seed list. We repeated this process one more time to arrive at 24 teams on the master seed list. At that point, we went to the task of adding 4 more teams to the at-large pool; UConn, Cincinnati, Michigan and Saint Joseph’s were added to the field. We were left with 2 at-large spots to fill at the end of Friday night. Our last task was to add 8 more teams to the master seed list. Below is the selection board through Friday night:
On Saturday night, we began by scrubbing the Under Consideration column down to 8 teams plus the Centenary Award winner. This is where most of the debates took place for tonight – 3 teams were added to the at-large field – VCU, Temple and South Carolina. VCU’s inclusion opened up an at-large spot out of the A-10 – this meant that there would be 2 final teams to add to the field. They were Monmouth and a contingency pick in St. Bonaventure. The contingency arose because of the American championship – St. Bonaventure would be the last at-large if UConn won that game; Memphis would have stolen a bid had they won that game instead. The remaining teams were added to the seed list – this included contingency teams like Memphis, Little Rock and Louisiana-Monroe since the Sun Belt championship was played on Selection Sunday.
And this is where the fun began for Saturday night – committee member Joby Fortson (author of the HoopsHD Nitty Gritty Rankings – click HERE for those rankings) lobbied heavily to remove South Carolina from the field and proposed Syracuse in their stead. St. Bonaventure’s merits were also called into question at the same time. 8 votes were needed to support this motion – the motion was to rank South Carolina, Syracuse and St. Bonaventure. Syracuse was #1, St. Bona #2 and South Carolina #3. This meant that Syracuse was now in the field and that St. Bonaventure would remain as a contingency team. Our last task of Saturday night was to scrub the seed list and move teams around depending on Saturday’s results. Below is how the Selection Board looked as of Saturday:
Sunday was our final day of deliberations. A second scrubbing of the seed list was done as Sunday results began to come in. With the late starting time of the American championship, 2 contingency brackets were built based on the final seed list. This was the final bracket from our committee that took into account UConn’s win:
This was the end result of our work from last season; we will convene again 2 weeks from now to begin building this year’s NCAA Tournament bracket as well.