Saturday, March 15, 2014

Observations on March Madness

Marquette could have used me this year.
The month-long celebration of college basketball is here.  Conference regular season champions have been crowned, conference tourneys are wrapping up, and tomorrow is Selection Sunday for the NCAA tourney.  It’s the time of year where Big East giants are humbled (sorry Nova), where 5-seeds come out of nowhere to become Horizon League champs and crash the Big Dance (congrats Milwaukee Panthers), and where Bill Raftery yells things like “organize the puppies – nylon delivery!”  But even the most wonderful time of the year can be improved.  Below are some thoughts for fans, coaches, players, and especially the zebras. 

Saturday, March 8, 2014

NCAA disbands selection committee, defers to Joe Lunardi

For its 2014 men’s college basketball tournament, also known as “March Madness,” the NCAA has announced a major change in its selection and seeding process.  Philip Timmerman, the NCAA’s Director of Tournament Seeding, stated that this year “the selection committee will be disbanded, and the NCAA will simply defer to the selection, seeding, and placement decisions of Joe Lunardi.”

Joe Lunardi is an ESPN analyst who, in recent years, has predicted the tournament field with surprising accuracy.  “In most years, Lunardi was already predicting 63 or 64 teams of the then 65-team field, and was also amazingly accurate on both seeding and geographic placement of those teams,” Timmerman stated.  “It doesn’t make sense for the selection committee to continue to meet in a small conference room year after year, just to keep reinventing the wheel.  We always end up doing what Lunardi recommends anyway.  Or maybe it was like he was reading our minds and just beating us to the punch.  Regardless, this change will streamline the entire selection and seeding process.”