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Info on the Group that Will Decide UK’s NCAA Fate

In preparation for what you’re about to read


It has been a busy football day around the KSR Compound. But that doesn’t mean we forget totally about basketball. Over on, the young writer extraordinaire J.C. Postel has an interesting write-up on the information you need to know about the NCAA Selection Committee. It is long, but very good…that is what she said:

In light of my recent iTunes purchases — One Shining Moment, Season’s ’96 and ’98 — it’s time we talk NCAA Tournament.  Every year in early March the college basketball universe anxiously watches CBS’ Greg Gumble announce the Bracket.  Then we print our own and let the gambling begin.  This year, before we settle into the basketball coma that comes from Rivalry Week and Conference Tournaments, lets discuss some tournament essentials while we’re clear-headed.

In 2010, the Evidence of Bias in NCAA Tournament Selection and Seeding, a study conducted by Jay Coleman, Mike DuMond and Allen Lynch, gave us a glimpse into the world we all want to see, but can’t.  What really goes on behind the doors on Selection Sunday?  Here’s an opening quote from their study:

We investigate bias in the selection and seeding decisions of the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Committee.  Using data on 910 teams associated with the ten tournaments from 1999 to 2008, we test for bias toward teams from seven ‘major’ conferences and six ‘mid-major’ conferences, as well as for bias towards teams represented on the Committee.  We find substantial support for the hypothesis of bias in favor of virtually all major and mid-major conferences in selection and/or seeding, as well as evidence of bias toward majors over mid-majors.  We also find substantial evidence of bias toward teams with some type of Committee representation. 

The study determined that having a representative on the Selection Committee resulted in a higher seed (an average of 1.75 seeds higher for a ‘major’ conference) and increased the chance of getting an at-large bid too.  If an AD is on the committee and a team in his/her conference is on the bubble, that team is 23% more likely to get a bid.  If a commissioner on the Committee is representing a conference with a bubble team, that team’s chance to get in increased by 41%.  The bubble team’s AD being on the committee increases its chance of getting in by a staggering 49%.

BBN, you deserve to meet the Fockers Committee that screwed Kentucky over last year decides which teams are in which are out.


Go to the 1:42 mark. It’s still annoying.


The 10-member NCAA Men’s Division I Committee selects teams then seeds the NCAA Tournament field every year.  Members serve five-year terms and each year 1-3 new members join.  The Committee is balanced geographically, with no fewer than two members representing the East, Midwest, South, and West regions at any one time.


Jeffrey  Hathaway, Big East Conference

Jeffrey is the former Director of Athletics at UConn and current Chairmen of the Selection Committee.  He was forced to retire last summer from UConn and is only allowed to remain on the Committee because he’s now a consultant to the Big East. The Big East welcomes a team from California next season.

Lynn Hickey, UT-San Antonio Director of Athletics

Lynn Hickey is only the second woman ever to serve on the Men’s Selection Committee.  She was an All-American at Ouachita Baptist University, which gives her a grand total of zero experience when it comes to men’s basketball.  I’m all for equal rights, but I’m confused as to why she isn’t on the Women’s Selection Committee.

Mike Bobinski, Xavier University Director of Athletics

Mike graduated magna cum laude from Notre Dame in 1979.  After playing baseball for the Irish he worked for Walt Disney as a CPA.  His Musketeers got jumped by the Bearcats of Cincinnati earlier this season.  We’re all praying for a rematch Mike.  Make it happen.

Dan Beebe, Big 12 Conference Commissioner

Dan served on the BCS’ television negotiations committee with ESPN, which only hurts his credibility nation-wide.  He is a native of Walla Walla, Washington and earned his undergrad degree from Cal Poly-Pomona.  We can only assume he has a stutter, and that Walla Walla is a real place.

Doug Fullerton, Big Sky Conference Commissioner

Here’s a guy you should feel bad for.  As magical as it sounds, I’m not making up what you’re about to read.  Last year, the Spirit Lake Sioux Tribe wrote Doug a letter about the University of North Dakota Fighting Sioux’s logo (which was a headshot of a Native American, presumably a Fighting Sioux) claiming they would sue the UND Fighting Sioux if they discontinued the picture of the Fighting Sioux as part of their logo.  So the Sioux Tribe threatened to sue the Fighting Sioux for removing the image of the Sioux in its logo.  The NCAA took the logo down and the Sioux sued them instead.  Got all that?  Doug was also an assistant basketball coach for the Montana State University-Bozeman Bobcats.

Ron Wellman, Wake Forest University Director of Athletics

In 2010 Ron hired Jeff Bzdelik as the new Wake Forest Men’s Basketball Coach.  Bzdelik came to Wake after a 31-64 record in three seasons at Colorado.  Bzdelik is currently 18-31 at Wake.  Awesome hire.  Prior to joining the Basketball Selection Committee, Wellman served on the NCAA’s Division I Baseball Committee.  He also coached baseball at Northwestern.

Steve Orsini, SMU Director of Athletics

Steve Orsini hired Matt Doherty at SMU.  UK fans can thank Matt Doherty for being a big reason we got to 2,000 wins before North Carolina.  Steve also worked for the Dallas Cowboys and graduated from Notre Dame, so he’s used to being overrated and losing a lot.

Scott Barnes, Utah State University Director of Athletics

Scott initiated a student fee policy at Utah State that generates over $2.1 million every year for the athletic department.  Student fees are just mandatory donations.  This is absurd.

Joe Alleva, LSU Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics 

Joe is Duke’s former AD.  Good move Joe.  What wasn’t a good move was the boating accident in ‘06 that left you with a head injury and your son with a ticket for operating a boat while impaired.  Tell your basketball team to stop tackling.

Jamie Zaninovich, West Coast Conference Commissioner

Before taking over as commish for the WCC, Jamie held the two longest job titles in all of sports, as the Senior Associate Athletic Director for External Relations at Princeton and the Senior Assistant Athletic Director for Strategic Planning and Men’s Basketball Operations at Stanford.  Jamie was able to get the now-Jimmerless-Mormons to join the WCC.


In review, the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee is made up of a group of individuals that boasts an AD that was forced to retire from his school, a woman who has no reason not to be on the Women’s Selection Committee, a former Walt Disney employee, a BCS television guy from Walla Walla, a former assistant basketball coach, a former baseball coach, the guy who hired Matt Doherty, the guy who implemented mandatory donations, Duke’s former AD, and the former Senior Assistant Athletic Director for Strategic Planning and Men’s Basketball Operations at Stanford.  If you’re the AD of an entire division one program or the Commissioner of an entire conference don’t you have enough to do?  Apparently the NCAA doesn’t think so.  Enjoy these fun facts that go into the Selection Committee’s decision process every year:


— AD’s and commissioners are not present in the room during the discussion of the teams they represent.  They do, however, walk right back in the room after and see what everyone decided.

— AD’s are allowed to be present when schools from their respective conferences are being discussed, but they aren’t allowed to speak.  No rules are yet in place that prohibit them from non-verbal communication.  Thus, slamming fists on the table, stare-downs, taking jackets off out of anger, and writing “they should be in” on the white board are all fair game.

— 5 Factors that contribute to your seed.  Who you play — Where you play — When you play — How you play — and if you play home games in Rupp Arena.

— Committee members are assigned to conferences to monitor a portion of the 344 DI teams throughout the season.

— Committee members try and avoid regular season rematches in the tournament especially in early rounds.

— Teams from the same conference can’t meet until the regional final (elite eight) unless the conference has 9 or more teams.

— High or low rankings don’t determine seeds/bids.  This could be bad for Murray State fans come March.

— Any team that plays more than three regular season games in one arena cannot play in that arena during the tournament.

— There are good losses.  The Committee considers competitive games against quality teams good losses.

— On Selection Sunday the bracket stays empty until 3 or 4 pm, or just a few hours before UK beats Florida.

— 1-5 seeds have the best opportunity to be assigned to a nearby second round.  Still, the NCAA is not all about money.

— The Selection Committee has the freedom to move a team one seed line up or down to assist in complying with the overall bracket principles.  They also have the freedom to put every team wherever they want.

— A late season or conference tournament injury to a key contributor can affect a team’s seed.

Define RPI:  Team winning percentage (25%), opponents’ winning percentage (50%), and opponents’ opponents winning percentage (25%) make up an RPI rating.  So, when Louisville lost to Providence a few weeks after losing to UK, it hurt UK because Louisville lost and because Providence is 1-8 in the Big East and barely over .500 on the season.

— With a record of 1-22, Towson boasts an RPI of 292 out of 344.  Based on their RPI, they’re better than 52 teams, even though out of those 52 teams only 1 has a worse record.  Makes sense.


That’s all for now Cats Fans.  Mark your calendars, Selection Sunday is March 11th this year.  I’m on twitter @JCPostelKSR

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35 Comments for Info on the Group that Will Decide UK’s NCAA Fate

  1. Big Boy
    8:22 pm February 1, 2012 Permalink

    The old CBS theme was the shit

  2. GrumpyOldDude
    8:22 pm February 1, 2012 Permalink

    Amazing that Dan Beebe still has a job….

  3. nassau65
    8:24 pm February 1, 2012 Permalink

    my head hurts.

  4. ddhg
    8:30 pm February 1, 2012 Permalink

    Hoosiers going down once again.

  5. Threadee McThreadThread
    8:30 pm February 1, 2012 Permalink

    …and now I’ve got a nosebleed.

  6. ddhg
    8:32 pm February 1, 2012 Permalink

    Where you at Hoo Hoo? Haven’t seen you on here in days.

  7. Huckleberry Hound
    8:33 pm February 1, 2012 Permalink

    Everybody knows that the first order of business each year is to make sure that Puke and my Tarholes play their games in Mayberry.

  8. largebluej
    8:33 pm February 1, 2012 Permalink

    Beebe is no longer the B12 commish, OU got rid of him. Don’t know what he is doing now.

  9. Peter Griffin
    8:40 pm February 1, 2012 Permalink

    Awful lot of honkies on that committee

  10. John Wilmhoff
    8:45 pm February 1, 2012 Permalink

    This is 2 straight years in which the head of the committee has had ties to a program on probation. Way to go, NCAA.

  11. I love how
    8:50 pm February 1, 2012 Permalink

    kenny smith called them EXavier and Tu Holiday…stay with the nba

  12. Bigcat4453
    8:52 pm February 1, 2012 Permalink

    The “Losers” have a losing record in their own conference. Funny how things are different when you have to leave the friendly confines of your own “BARN”.

  13. Gillie's Socks
    8:53 pm February 1, 2012 Permalink

    I don’t think we will be hearing from HOO HOO anytime soon. How many games has IU lost since winning over UK? The Kentucky Effect.

  14. Melissa
    8:57 pm February 1, 2012 Permalink

    Don’t diminish yourself by making the argument that a woman has no place on the committee based entirely on her gender. Since she actually played the game, chances are she knows more than most. There’s a lot to question about the composition of this group. But one person’s gender doesn’t even make the top ten of those questions.

  15. JCPostel
    8:58 pm February 1, 2012 Permalink

    IU is 2-5 in its last 7 with losses to unranked Minnesota and Nebraska. They play the North Carolina Central University Eagles on February 22 so at least we know they’ll win one more game. Why is that on their schedule? Lets be glad they don’t have an immediate representative on the Selection Committee. Hope we get to play them again.

  16. Driving to Lex this weekend!
    9:06 pm February 1, 2012 Permalink

    Wow! That was a tough bracket. It was one of the best nights of my life when UK beat the Buckeyes living up here in Northeast Ohio. The beer was great that night!

    GO CATS!!

  17. barn
    9:07 pm February 1, 2012 Permalink

    why is a woman on the committee? so she played women’s bball. there’s basketball and there’s women’s basketball. women’s bball is similar, but heck they didn’t even start playing full court ’til the 60s/early 70s

  18. Some Guy in Kentucky
    9:12 pm February 1, 2012 Permalink

    Very good post

  19. FeedUp
    9:18 pm February 1, 2012 Permalink

    Does any one know anybody at the board of health in Louisville to go make a visit to “Popi’s(?) Pizza” and check out their “tea bag pizza”?

  20. catsfan54
    9:22 pm February 1, 2012 Permalink

    this is a phenomenal post. i hope ksr continues to investigate and report the inner workings of the selection commitee and the selection process. in the back of many true blue fans minds is the question – how will the selection committee engineer the bracket to give the greatest possible chance of the cats being knocked out before the final 4 – (eg being the no. 1 overall seed in 09 – 10 and drawing a West Virginia team that should have been the 4th 1 seed instead as a 2 seed in the same region.)

    part of the brilliance of the corrupt selection committee is utilizing the distraction of “bubble teams”. any team that is on the bubble is not going to win the Natl championship, yet every year the press focuses on that bullsh*t about Virginia Tech or whoever didn’t get in meanwhile true contenders get screwed on their seeding. 14 – i concur

  21. BUcats
    9:24 pm February 1, 2012 Permalink

    This is the best version of the March Madness theme:

  22. E
    9:26 pm February 1, 2012 Permalink

    Goodman says UK could beat the Raptors. IF we had Knight I would agree.

  23. Echo 1
    9:30 pm February 1, 2012 Permalink

    Excellent post. It is obvious a lot of research and thought went into this. Bravo.

  24. Potemkin
    9:40 pm February 1, 2012 Permalink

    UK students pay an athletics fee, too: $19 per semester. $38 x 27,000 students = $1,026,000 a year for UK Athletics. Not as much as Utah State, but I’m betting athletics fees are pretty common.

  25. Jman3715
    9:46 pm February 1, 2012 Permalink

    Better be careful here. These are not people we want too piss off and give reason to dislike us even more. Not saying its right but it’s the reality we have to deal with.

  26. Loyal_UK_Fan
    9:59 pm February 1, 2012 Permalink

    Great research and findings! Whoever did this needs to replace Drew on his annual trip to the NCAA office. Shocker how about half of the members are West of the Mississippi were basketball is obviously not played very well anymore.

  27. Loyal_UK_Fan
    9:59 pm February 1, 2012 Permalink

    doh! I meant where, not were

  28. RealCatsFan
    11:14 pm February 1, 2012 Permalink

    All I can say is, if UK is a #1 seed at the end of the season and they don’t get the first round game in Louisville, then the selection committee better enter the witness protection plan. Especially after all those years seeing UNC and Duke playing within 50 miles of their campus.

  29. NYCWildcat
    7:13 am February 2, 2012 Permalink

    Here’s my prediction: They will put UK as the no. 1 in St. Louis. The round of 32 game will be against Harvard b/c they love putting us up against the Ivy schools. The sweet 16 game will be against a 12 seeded UConn (b/c they love to set up storylines. See UK-WVU rematch last year). The elite eight game will be against Missouri in St. Louis (Our lower seeds always gets geographic preference. See UK vs. Marquette 2003 in Minneapolis or UK vs. WVU 2010 in Syracuse)

    Duke will undeservedly get the #1 seed in the West even though it should go to Kansas. And although KU will be the highest #2 and the Duke the lowest #1, Baylor will be Duke’s #2.

  30. boobooliscious
    7:16 am February 2, 2012 Permalink

    I agree with Melissa. Lynn Hickey might be the MOST qualified member of this committee. Another Irish/Cowboys mediocrity reference. Love it. That’s gotta get under Tom’s skin a little. I’d like to see this re-posted on the Monday after Selection Sunday with an analysis of affiliated teams’ seeds.

  31. Bob
    7:53 am February 2, 2012 Permalink

    29, totally agree. Don’t forget we also had to play Wisconsin in Minneapolis that year too.

  32. ManOfFaith
    9:13 am February 2, 2012 Permalink

    I don’t agree that a team could be given a lower seed because a player gets hurt. The team together is what got that team to where they are. Not just that one player.

  33. bluristhurr
    9:45 am February 2, 2012 Permalink

    And that one player would be injured so that makes it not the same team in terms of “TEAM”! If we lose Davis I’ll be the 1st to tell you we shouldn’t get a #1 seed. Example Syarcuse lost Melo and lost their 1st game without him to ND and Harangody’s not so bio-logical but still is his twin from another momma.

  34. Catfan in C-bus
    1:15 pm February 2, 2012 Permalink

    In this day and age how can the NCAA get away with having 10 whites on the committee? I’m a white man, but even I can see that this is wrong! Someone call Jesse Jackson.

  35. Jordan
    1:58 pm February 2, 2012 Permalink

    Did anyone notice the top 4 seeds in that bracket? Ohio St, UNC, Syracuse and Kentucky, which are arguably the best 4 teams in the nation this year. Even lasy year that was a tough bracket. What do we have to do to get the NCAA to give us a break? The committee needs to get some younger guys on there too that dont live in the past and hold past UK scandals against us. There are two types of people/teams. The caught and the uncaught. Every division 1 school has broken rules, but when it comes to schools like Duke, the NCAA looks the other way. Its time for a change!!!!!