Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Applying football selection process to basketball

One reason the four-team football playoff has been successful is the selection process. It involved a committee of a dozen or so football experts meeting weekly, discussing college football teams, and issuing its top 25. At the end of the season, the committee set forth the top four for the playoffs and then seeded several others into “major” bowl games.

For most of the college football season, the debate about the committee rankings filled the radio and television airways, was subjects of newspaper columns and website posts and stories each week, and basically pushed the weekly polls by the Associated Press and USA Today (and were there others?) into oblivion. Any poll other than the committee’s was rendered meaningless. If you think otherwise, the joke’s on you.

Thank goodness for the polls being rendered meaningless. Reading or hearing the justification of any media member taking part of the Associated Press top 25 was laid to rest. Who cares what they think about college football team relationships to each other? And, no one was debating how college coaches (or their voting proxies) listed teams. The committee served a very good purpose.

So, let’s have the same for college basketball. There’s already a selection committee, and it’s probably met several times. With 68 teams in the NCAA basketball tournament, choosing a top 68 may seem a little cumbersome, but with 32 automatic qualifiers, it would be easy. Just rank the top 36, followed by the automatic qualifying conferences (not the names of the teams) not represented in the top 36. If the total doesn’t reach 68, add a few to the 36. If the number is greater than 68, it would show bubble teams.

This process would serve a couple of purposes: It would give the coaches, the teams, and the interested basketball fans an idea of the committee’s direction for final selection. It would get rid of the Monday morning columns by the AP writers/broadcasters that don’t mean anything. The media members, columns and polls would be pushed into oblivion, and that would be a good thing.
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sororal (adjective) [suh-rawr-uh l]: sisterly

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