For many years, we have heard the question rhetorically posed on Selection Sunday: “Who did you play ?” The question began to hold such gravitas that, I believe, the “SOS” or Strength-of-Schedule statistic was included by the RPI.
So, those schools who got snubbed or got a crummy seed, began to schedule games with anyone and everyone who would have them. Sometimes they had to travel cross-country while their home gyms were dark for weeks. They did this all to establish credibility with the Selection Committee.
Suddenly, after this year’s draws were announced, ESPN’s Jay Bilas correctly observed, it was not “Who did you play ?” or even “Who did you beat ?” but “Who did you lose to ?”
I think it was an unfair shift of impetus by a committee that doesn’t have a clue about basketball because they are nothing more than Conference Commissioners (3) and Athletic Directors (7). People who are obsessed by “The Big Picture” and generally don’t give hoot what basketball people have to go through to win.
One could simply look to the giant chess match they whitewash in calling “Conference Alignment.” Do they ever take anything into consideration other than money ? No.
The point is that with all the great, retired basketball people available to comprise at least half of the Selection Committee, they need to change who sits on it and include them.
If you’re constantly changing the criteria for college basketball coaches, then you need to have the only people who understand their pressures – former coaches. Think of who is potentially available: Bobby Knight, Louie Carnesecca, John Thompson, Lute Olson, Bill Gutheridge, John Chaney, Bobby Cremins, Lefty Driesell, Gary Williams, Dave Odom, Clem Haskins, Tex Winter, Paul Westhead, Pete Carril, Gene Keady, Rollie Massimino, Nolan Richardson, Lou Henson, Denny Crum and so on, and so forth. The list is only limited by your memory and their ability/desire to serve.
This fraternity of retired coaches can relate to each and every dribble, each and every twist and turn of competition, from the “hatching” of an infantine team in the non-conference season to their “coming into their own” for conference competition. They all understand winning, and what it takes to deserve to make it and succeed in the Big Dance.
- Gone would be the abject stupidity of a Chairman who suddenly announces to the nation that there was another way of thinking this year.
- Gone would be a Selection Committee who tried to CREATE match-ups simply because it would be “good TV”.
- Gone would be the hypocrisy of having bureaucrats from conferences and programmes that rarely even field a seed. I wonder how these people do their jobs AND see all the teams they ought to, in order to make credible evaluations ?
- Gone would be the “fuzzy logic” of members who have no lineage/experience in college basketball and have been unfairly influenced by their small circle of exposure.
- Gone would be people trying to re-create history, instead of allowing it to happen by making informed decisions based on a “been-there, done-that” experience.
The “Big Dance” is, without a doubt, the BEST annual sporting event in America. Why should it not be run by the absolute BEST people in COLLEGE BASKETBALL?