NCAA announces changes to selection committee, process

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With the position of NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Committee Chair being a one-year responsibility, the NCAA announced its choice for chairman for the 2017-18 season. Creighton athletic director Bruce Rasmussen will move into that role in 2017, replacing current chair and Michigan State athletic director Mark Hollis. Among the responsibilities for the chair are to answer the questions that come after the selection committee releases the NCAA tournament bracket and to hand out the national championship trophy.

That wasn’t the only change announced by the NCAA either, with one such alteration being quite the departure from the way in which the selection committed used to do things.

Per the NCAA, the top overall seed in the NCAA tournament will get to choose where they play the first weekend of the tournament. Teams considered to be in the running for the top overall seed will submit their preferences to the selection committee well in advance of Selection Sunday, so there won’t be any knowledge of possible opponents at that time.

While this is a change to how the NCAA has done things in past brackets, going primarily by mileage when looking to place top seeds as close to their campus as possible, this isn’t exactly a seismic shift since the top overall seed won’t be known until Sunday. But it does give those top teams an option, with designs on it being an additional perk that those programs will have earned.

The bigger change to the selection process is the attempt to revise some of the metrics used by the committee when selecting teams and filling out the bracket, with the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) recommending that the men’s basketball committee take a look at this.

The committee also agreed in concept with the NABC recommendation, as evidenced by past practice in the process, that criteria such as quality wins, overall and non-conference strength of schedule, and road/neutral wins were primary criteria in selecting and seeding the tournament field. Further analysis and study of refining and possibly redefining those specific criteria for the future will be considered by the basketball committee and ad hoc group representatives over the next year. Finally, a longer-term discussion will be ongoing regarding the use of geography and impact of intra-conference matchup possibilities in the principles and procedures for bracketing.

The RPI is a metric that has been used by the selection committee for years, but with the growth in analytics the RPI has come under fire for being outdated. And given the number of options at our disposal these days, the formula used to put together the RPI looks even more archaic. Anything that can be done to modernize that particular metric, especially if the committee will continue to use it, can only benefit college basketball down the line.