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NATIONAL COLLEGIATE ATHLETIC ASSOCIATION MEDIA CONFERENCE
March 13, 2013
DAVE WORLOCK:¬† Good morning, everyone.¬† Thank you for joining us today.¬† At this time I'll turn it over to Mike Bobinski.
MIKE BOBINSKI:¬† Good morning, everyone.¬† Welcome.¬† A special welcome to our friends from the West Coast who have gotten up a little earlier to join us.
We here on the basketball committee are about to begin what are annually the greatest and most rewarding weeks of the year on an annual basis.¬† This week is the culmination of a process that began in November when the season tipped off in Rahmstein Air Force base in Germany in an airport hangar.¬† 5,000 plus games later, we're ready to go.¬† By 'ready to go,' I mean we're getting ready to assemble the field which will consist of 31 automatic qualifiers, 13 of whom who are already in the field, and 37 best at‑large teams who will be our job to place into the field this week.
After we have the field identified, we will seed.¬† That will be a process that will actually begin potentially as early as later today and work throughout the week, ultimately putting them all into a bracket, and that will result in a tournament that, if it reflects our regular season in any way, should be extremely competitive and exciting.
My colleagues in the committee are all here in the selection room putting in their last bits of research before we get started right around lunchtime.
Everything we do is a voting system.¬† We have a very defined set of principles and procedures and a process for how we do this.
The first thing we'll do this afternoon is submit an initial ballot.¬† That initial ballot will identify teams that will move into the at‑large portion of the field.¬† It will also identify teams that will be under consideration for at‑large selection as the week moves along.
We have no minimums in terms of how we vote on that initial ballot and there's no finality this early in the process.¬† We have until Sunday to figure this thing out and we'll take every bit of time necessary to make sure we get it as right as we can.
This is my fifth‑year on the committee.¬† Each year is unique.¬† The field has come at us in a lot of different ways and formats.¬† This year will have its own challenges and circumstances.
As I think back a year ago, the 1 line in the tournament was in pretty clear focus.¬† We had a couple of very dominant teams, at least two or three that had really established themselves at the top of the field.¬† This year looks a little different.¬† I anticipate there will be a number of teams we'll be seriously considering and discussing on the first line of the bracket.
Conference tournaments which are underway and have been underway now for several days will play a role in assisting us as we clarify and sort out the field.
As we always do, we'll focus on the season‑long performance of the team and not try to allow this week to overweight what we've seen over the past three and a half months.
Key criteria for the committee is what is has been for some time:¬† What quality teams were they able to beat.¬† Were they able to beat on the road quality opponents.¬† Were they at full health and strength when they played.¬† How they played against other teams in the field.¬† There will be a lot of other factors we'll consider as we move through this week.
Collectively as a committee we'll answer these and other questions to the best of our ability and ultimately have a bracket ready to go by 6 p.m. Sunday for the CBS selection show.
After that show is done, we'll break it down a little further from 7 to 8 p.m. with a follow on selection show on truTV.
We're excited, all that goes with truTV, we're excited to enter to enter our partnership with CBS and Turner.¬† The fan‑friendly basis with every game available on a national basis start to finish has been incredibly well received and been one of the great advancements in how this tournament is presented to the public.
At the same time fans will have industry leading digital access to March Madness Live which features live streaming of every game, plus additional content on additional mobile platforms.¬† Those guys that are good in the technical area, you can get this stuff, a lot of it, in a variety of different ways.¬† It's really well done.
You can go to NCAA.com/March Madness to get an idea of the way this tournament is being delivered, which is richer with the 75th celebration of March Madness.¬† A little deeper and richer content than any other year.
With that being said, I'm ready to take any questions and look forward to speaking with you.
Q.¬† Mike, I know that you've stated the 1 to 4 seeds get a preferential spot location‑wise.¬† In the PAC‑12 you have three teams maybe sitting a little below that.¬† How do you divide up who goes to what region or is it completely random if you're below the 4 line?
MIKE BOBINSKI:¬† The way we do the bracketing process, which is where all the assignments geographically come into play.¬† We'll begin with the overall No.1 seed, place them in the most geographically favorable region, work our way down through the field.
I would suspect that as we get to teams in the west that are in the field, if they are in the upper half, there will be room and capacity in the western region to place them in that vicinity.
I think it will work out fairly and logically.¬† That will be our goal.¬† We will follow the principles and procedures closely as to how to do that.
The first four lines do receive preference.¬† That determines how the rest of the bracket falls out.¬† We try to make sure that the first four line teams do not ever get placed at a potential home court disadvantage for their first game.¬† We can't guarantee that throughout, but that's our objective for the first game.
As I sort of think how the field might play out, this year we have some balance, stronger teams from the western part of the country, and they'll be able to populate the western region pretty well.
Q.¬† You have an Arizona team which has best overall out of conference, but didn't win it.¬† Does the committee make a decision if they get the best spot or how does that work?
MIKE BOBINSKI:¬† No, the tournament this week will be one piece of how we view any team, Arizona included.¬† It won't have a whole heck of a lot of difference I don't believe in where they get placed.
Again, we're going to place them.¬† If they end up being the first team, it's impossible for me to predict at this point in time, from the PAC‑12 conference, they'll be placed without restriction in the most geographically favorable region for them.¬† As I sit here today, that would be the west region.¬† It all depends what happens to them being placed in the field.
Q.¬† With Sean Miller being the coach here, I know you typically step out of the room with your own teams, but does it matter with him?
MIKE BOBINSKI:¬† No.¬† Sean has been gone from our place now for a number of years.¬† That restriction no longer applies.¬† I'm able to participate fully in his teams or teams from the PAC‑12.
Q.¬† I know you have talked a lot about favoring the No.1 seeds.¬† I'm wondering if there's been any kind of philosophical discussion that maybe the No.1's are getting too much of an advantage by playing so many games, times where the No.1 has played within a hundred miles to the second and third place all the way to the Final Four.¬† Has there been thought of that being too much of an advantage?
MIKE BOBINSKI:¬† Where teams play in any given year depends on who the No.1's are, where they're located.¬† That changes on a year‑to‑year basis, as do our sites, our regions, second, third round sites, everything changes on an annual basis.
I don't feel at all that we're overfavoring the top‑line seeds.¬† They earned that position throughout the regular season.¬† The sites are chosen years in advance.¬† If it appears in any given year they're being unfairly advantaged, it's circumstantial and coincidental.
Q.¬† I know you're not going to comment on specific teams, but I'll try this anyway.¬† Based on what you said on body of work as opposed to what's going to happen this week, should people of Middle Tennessee smile?
MIKE BOBINSKI:¬† No comment.¬† Thank you very much for giving me the answer to that (smiling).
Like any team under consideration, they and others in similar circumstances, the attention they deserve, they deserve a fair, honest, full evaluation.¬† I know our committee is committed to doing that.¬† We'll begin that process here in just a couple hours.
Everybody that has a reasonable expectation to be considered will be considered, I assure you of that.
Q.¬† In your time working with Dan Gavitt, has anything struck you about him or how he goes about things?¬† What kind of asset will he be to you and your committee this week?
MIKE BOBINSKI:¬† I've known Dan for a number of years now.¬† I will tell you this.¬† Dan will be a great sort of steady hand with us.¬† This is actually his first time through this process from this side of the table.¬† He's been obviously a associate commissioner of basketball at the Big East for a number of years, but more importantly has a great feel for the game of college basketball, this championship, how much it means to the teams that are in it.
I think his overall experience, knowledge, familiarity with the game, what a good team looks like, doesn't look like, will add a lot to our work during the week.
He's seated right next to me during this week right now, giving me exactly what he wants me to say right now (laughter).
He will be a tremendous part of the process this year and years to come.¬† I'm sure he'll add some quality to what we do.
Q.¬† He's not a chatty sort.¬† Might he be described as quietly perceptive?
MIKE BOBINSKI:¬† I think that's a fair evaluation.¬† Dan does not speak to be heard; he speaks when he has something to say.¬† When he does say something, it's very meaningful and insightful.¬† I think that's a fair description.
Q.¬† If you can go big picture more.¬† There's a tad bit of parity out there.¬† What specific challenges will that present for you guys over the next five days or so?
MIKE BOBINSKI:¬† You were part of this mock deal a couple weeks ago.¬† We had a chance to visit.¬† You did a good job playing of the role of one of our committee members there.
I would say this.¬† In my five years on the committee, I would tell you that every year there is some level of conversation about how unique the field is.¬† That's an evergreen conversation.¬† As I said earlier, every year has its own unique challenges and circumstances.
This year perhaps the seeding process, when we get to the middle of the field, will be as sticky or maybe just as fine in distinctions as we've ever been asked to make.¬† That probably feels a little different than years gone by.¬† Maybe there's not quite as clear a distinction as to where people fit once you get past the first three or four lines of the field.¬† That will be a challenge.
But we have time.¬† We have five days to get it done as well as we can.¬† As I said earlier, we'll set about doing it the right away.
The other key pieces of the field, the top of the field, the bottom of the at‑large field, maybe a few more teams in conversation for the 1 line this year than last year.¬† As I think back a couple years, we had a very similar circumstance two or three years ago.
It's not completely foreign territory for us.¬† At the end of the at‑large field, it always gets sticky.¬† There is always a next team or a few next teams that are going to go to get a lot of consideration and conversation.¬† But ultimately there's only 37 spots.¬† We can't take everybody in the conversation.¬† We can only take 37 at‑larges.¬† That's our job and our challenge, to ultimately make those distinctions and decisions.
Q.¬† You mentioned the cloudy outlook for the top line.¬† Many of those teams could well be playing on Sunday.¬† How much, if at all, do Sunday tournament finals compromise your process in any way?
MIKE BOBINSKI:¬† They can do a little bit of that.¬† I recall last year, I mentioned we had clarity on two or three teams, but I do believe our fourth top‑line team did come down to Sunday's results.¬† That is a distinct possibility.
I would like to tell you as we sit around this room, we would love to have it come into focus prior to Sunday.¬† It just makes the job a little clearer for us.¬† We can get to the job of bracketing a little sooner, really give ourselves a chance to digest that and give it a good once over to make sure we're comfortable with the whole picture.
That being said, we're going to do what the field tells us to do.¬† If it doesn't clarify till Sunday, we'll leave things open to the best of our ability and allow for some adjustments at the last minute.
In an ideal world, that wouldn't be the case.¬† Again, we can't control how games and results play out.¬† We have to deal with how it presents itself to us.¬† We'll be ready for it in either circumstance.
Q.¬† I know perhaps some television partners would object.¬† Has the committee ever thought about imploring conferences to move their tournaments back to Saturday?
MIKE BOBINSKI:¬† We haven't.¬† That's beyond our purview.¬† We're not in a position to tell conferences they can't play on Sunday or they have to play before a certain time on Sunday.
I think the reality is there is a practical reality.¬† We can't hold the field open till 5:30 on Sunday, have the bracket done in time for CBS.¬† We have to move ourselves to a position where we're really pretty much on the doorstep of closing things up here before that last game ends.¬† We will do that.¬† We don't want to disadvantage anybody, but we also have a practical reality of having a bracket in CBS' hands for that show.¬† We got to do what we've got to do at that point.
Q.¬† I'm wondering how you factor in an injury, a team played at a certain level when he was in, then differently when he's out.¬† Do you try to see they're at the level they were, or it doesn't matter, or he's back and whatever he adds he can add?
MIKE BOBINSKI:¬† It does matter for sure.¬† It's a part of the information that's available to us.¬† We do our very best to try and find a reasonable way.¬† We don't have a prescribed formula for how each of us individually deal as committee members.¬† We have the information available to us.¬† We have our own observations.¬† We know when players were and weren't available.
It's more meaningful if you have injuries of a sustained nature.¬† During the course of a season, every team will have a sprained ankle here or there.¬† But when you have sustained injuries, we do try to take a look at results there.¬† What we don't do, though, is go back and replay games, Fantasy League it, if all these players were available, they would have had different results.¬† It's not appropriate.¬† The results are what they are.
As we try to look ahead, do a full‑season evaluation, it's in our thinking somehow, some way.¬† But how each individual committee member does that is their own choice.
Q.¬† What about a player who is maybe questionable still?¬† Do you try to factor that in as if he would play or do you consider him out?
MIKE BOBINSKI:¬† It's impossible for us to crystal ball things like that.¬† We do work very hard.¬† Dave Worlock works with conference offices to try to get the very best information from institutions as to the status of players.
Ultimately we can only go on certainties.¬† We have to really go with the facts as we know them and as they're presented to us.¬† That does get a little tricky now and then.¬† I want to think that if a player is back, it's going to make a significant difference.¬† We don't want to overweight any of that because it's not a certainty and you don't want to have a 'gotcha' moment there if it doesn't come to be.
Q.¬† There's a growing perception that college basketball is struggling with the grinding game, low shooting percentages, low scores.¬† One of your esteemed colleagues from Texas said earlier this year the sport is in shambles because of the preponderance of one‑and‑done players.¬† How do you answer those charges?¬† How important is a vibrant tournament in helping boosting the overall appeal of the sport?
MIKE BOBINSKI:¬† With all respect to DeLoss and all his years of experience and perspective on all of the different sports that we offer, I would tell you that I don't agree with him that college basketball is anywhere near being in a shambles.
Has this been an interesting year?¬† Sure it has.¬† I think a lot of factors come into play as to why it is what it is.¬† The one‑and‑done rule is a piece of it, but just a piece of it.¬† It is by no means the whole story nor the whole answer.
The way young men might come to the game these days, the experiences they've had playing in the AAU world, again, is not the whole story, but part of the story.
I think in general as I look at the season and the number of last‑possession games that we've experienced, the number of overtime games, just as recently as Sunday, the Indiana‑Michigan game, an amazing finish to a really high‑level, competitive game, we've had plenty of great moments during the course of the season.
It's easy to take those grinders that have happened, none of us can deny that during the course of the year, and extrapolate that to the whole.¬† But it's not true.¬† In general, there have been a lot of terrific games out there.
I think the tournament will play a tremendous role in restoring that really good feel.¬† I think it does every year.¬† It's a cleansing moment for a lot of college athletics because for three and a half weeks people focus intently on college basketball, the game, all that's good about it.
If the regular season and its competitiveness is any indication, I think we're going to be in for a very thrilling tournament and really give the game a great boost as we move through this next month.
Q.¬† Do you think college basketball needs a tournament, an exciting tournament with a lot of buzzer beaters, a Cinderella team to boost that good feeling you're talking about?
MIKE BOBINSKI:¬† Do we need it?¬† We're certainly not going to turn it down.¬† I think we like it every year to be that way.¬† It's just a positive thing.¬† Just like in college football, exciting bowl games are great for the game.¬† I think it's just a natural positive to have the tournament be a good thing.
My experience is it very rarely disappointing.¬† Year in and year out it becomes the event it is because it was given the great story lines, finishes, different and interesting competitive matchups that don't occur during the course of the regular season.¬† I expect this year's tournament will live up to everything we've come to expect of it over the years.
Q.¬† We have some teams in Philadelphia that are on the cusp of being in.¬† Seem to have an equal amount of good wins and bad losses.¬† Is there any way to quantify if one is better than the others, kind of like splitting hairs?
MIKE BOBINSKI:¬† That's a good question.
Quantifying it is really hard to do.¬† We don't have a selection formula.¬† We don't have any set criteria that we offer up to the committee members.¬† Everybody gets to make their determinations on their own.
As I sit here, this is just me as a single committee member with no more voting weight than anybody else, I would tell you that the ability to beat good teams is really probably a clear indication of your deservedness to be in the tournament.¬† If you can beat teams that are generally accepted and evaluated to be amongst the best in the country, that says something about who you are.
Losing to good teams or bad teams is part of it.¬† But I think for me, one of the real hallmarks is have you shown that you can play, play successfully, at a very high level.¬† That to me weighs a little bit heavier than the loss side of it.
Q.¬† If you're watching a team that's maybe in consideration and they might lose a big game by a lot, 15, 20 points, do you think that has any weight on the committee members with human nature being what it is?
MIKE BOBINSKI:¬† I think a lot goes into how a game gets to be a 15‑ or 20‑point loss.¬† We look beyond the pure numbers, how has that team looked over an extended period of time.
Even teams that would generally be considered to be the top teams in the country this year, if you look a little deeper at their results, there are going to be a couple in there for darn near every team with very few exceptions and say, How the heck did that happen?
I don't know that any particular loss or any significant game would really significantly damage any team's or advantage any team's ultimate position in the field or where they're seeded this year.
One game is ultimately one game.¬† We need to keep it in perspective.
Q.¬† When you mentioned the factors that the committee will be looking at, you mentioned road wins first.¬† Was that just coincidental or is that a really important factor?
MIKE BOBINSKI:¬† It was coincidental.¬† I didn't mention that in order for any particular reason.¬† We're just putting them out there. ¬†You've been around this plenty of years.¬† There are no hard and fast criteria.¬† Again, speaking for one committee member, myself, over a five‑year period, I do look at road wins.
When you come down to making those distinctions about teams, that is one indicator of a team's strength, is their ability to take their show on the row, particularly against quality teams and, number one, win, and number two, be competitive on a night in, night out basis.
It's one thing in college basketball, very well‑established, years and years of statistics prove how advantaged it is to be at home playing in your own environment in front of your own folks with your own everything.¬† But your ability to do that on the road and play at a high level on the road to me is a fairly strong indicator of strength.
Q.¬† There's so many called bracketologists this year.¬† They seem to be starting earlier in the year, providing insight into what's going on.¬† How does the committee member view all the various bracketologists?
MIKE BOBINSKI:¬† It's become its own industry, which is interesting to us here in the committee room.
We know all those folks, honestly enjoy what they do.¬† I think it's great for the game of college basketball.¬† It builds and sustains interest throughout the course of the year.
The one point I've tried to make here recent about what they do and what we do that's really different, they react literally on a day‑to‑day or sometimes half‑to‑half or game‑by‑game basis to what they see.¬† That's who they are, what they get paid to do.¬† It helps to drive and build interest, makes for great conversation the next day around the water cooler.
But we have a different circumstance here.¬† We try to allow all the dust to settle and have all the facts and detail in front of us, evaluate it in totality, not have those emotion‑based ups and downs during the course of the year.
We find what they do great.¬† I think it's good for the game.¬† But it's a little different than how we go about it.
Q.¬† There's always been the talk of considering the last 10 games of the season.¬† Does that still apply?¬† Is that ancient thinking there?
MIKE BOBINSKI:¬† A couple years ago, I think maybe three years, during my time at committee, it moved to the last 12 games of the season.¬† It was actually part of what was included on our team sheets that we use as a real strong reference point, which are available to the public these days also.
We took it off because what happened is folks in the media and elsewhere were we'll fixating on that as an overall weighted determinant and it misled people as to how we view that.
Again, it's a very individual thing.¬† Is how you finish important?¬† Of course, it is.¬† But it's different in an individual way.¬† It's also different because with unbalanced schedules and other factors out there today, who you play in those last 10 or 12 games makes a big difference, and where you play makes a big difference, understanding again how difficult it is to win on the road, particularly against quality teams.
If your schedule is back‑loaded with a lot of tough tests, you may be doing great to finish 7‑5 over the last 12.¬† Conversely, if your schedule isn't very good, 7‑5 may be an indication you're struggling a little bit.
It's too simplistic to say, How did they do in the last 10 or 12?¬† Just like everything, you have to slice it a little finer, look at it through a sharper focus to understand how much it means.¬† As I mentioned earlier, it's an individual call in this room as to how much that matters when you make your evaluations.
Q. ¬†Do y'all factor in suspensions like injuries?
MIKE BOBINSKI:¬† Player availability makes a difference for whatever reason, whatever the cause of it.¬† It is part of the information we have available to us.¬† If it's relevant and appropriate, impactful, we'll do our best to factor it in there.
Q.¬† The teams on the bubble, they're breaking out ugly new uniforms, could that eliminate them from consideration?
MIKE BOBINSKI:¬† If you're asking me, the answer is yes (laughter).
Q.¬† I know you mentioned this as maybe not completely unusual, having a lot of potential No.1's.¬† It's certainly different than last year.¬† Any way you can tell us approximately how many teams might be in the running for that going into this last weekend?¬† Is that, by history, a high number?
MIKE BOBINSKI:¬† I can't speak for our entire committee here because we'll get to that here before the day is over, I suspect.
As I walk into our process this year, I would tell you that I probably have seven teams that are in my mind for those first four spots.¬† I think that will all come to clarify, into focus, over these next couple days.¬† That's about where I am right now.¬† I think seven for the top four.¬† It could be even as few as six.¬† It's more than four for the top four, I know that.
Q.¬† From your time on the committee, is that an unusually high number for you at this stage?
MIKE BOBINSKI:¬† It's probably as big as it's ever been.¬† I'm not sure it's any larger than maybe a couple years back.¬† But it probably hasn't ever been any more significant than that in terms of the volume of teams that could compete for that top line.
Q.¬† When we started the mock process last month, you warned us about not having an unwieldily number of teams under consideration right at the beginning.¬† I know you haven't taken that first ballot yet.¬† From your feel for it, do you think that's going to be a problem, a large number of under considerations?
MIKE BOBINSKI:¬† That's a great question.
I don't think there will be an unwieldily number or overly large number.¬† We had a long conference call on Saturday, the purpose of which was to identify the teams that are truly in the running and deserve to be considered for at‑large berths.¬† It will all come out in the voting.¬† Once we submit that vote, we'll know how many teams are on that board under consideration.
The purpose of our call, all of our discussions, is never to get everybody thinking the same.¬† This always comes down to individual votes, thoughts and opinions.¬† That's the beauty of the process.¬† But I think we moved toward some sense of focus and clarity as to who the teams are that he legitimately might compete.¬† I don't think we'll come out with an under consideration board that will be too large for us to deal with.
Q.¬† You mentioned at the beginning of the conference tournaments.¬† Do you think that role will be more towards the sticky decisions at the end or is it going to be a bigger role on the actual seeding of the teams?
MIKE BOBINSKI:¬† My gut sense tells me that it's got as much to do with seeding as with anything.¬† I think your selection to the field is really for years now based on your performance over the course of the entire season.¬† We try hard to not overweight what we see here happen this very week.
On occasion there may be those key matchups that tilt things one way or the other.¬† For the most part some seeding differentials and some seeding distinctions and clarity will occur during this week more than anything else.
Q.¬† There have been a couple games that ended on controversial calls, maybe should have gone the other way after replay.¬† How do you look at those when it could be a potential top‑50 win that they could have got, and the other team got a win maybe they shouldn't have?¬† Is there an asterisk?
MIKE BOBINSKI:¬† Good question.
We're aware of a number of those.¬† The reality is we all hope, and I can't predict this or really give you a clear answer on that without us going through this process a little deeper than we are right now, but I would hope any one game won't be the difference between an in or out in terms of selection to the field or a significant change agent when it comes to their seeding position.
Again, you got to look at it and say, It's a single came in the course of a 30‑plus game season and keep it in that perspective. ¬†It minimizes the impact.
We are aware and have information as to some of those difficult decisions that happened at the end of games where things could have gone one way or the other.¬† But I don't know that I expect those will have a real significant impact on either selection or seeding decisions.
Q.¬† You talk about criteria, how it's different for everyone.¬† How has yours evolved in the five years on the committee?¬† Was it something when you first came in and now it's changed over the five years?
MIKE BOBINSKI:¬† Yeah, I think it has.¬† My first year, it was all kind of a blur in a lot of ways.¬† I think I got a much better feel as time went by of what I felt distinguished teams in my mind as being, first of all, capable, amongst the best in the country, and then even from a finer distinction point as to where they belonged in the field.
As I thought about it, I think those real key decision points are, for me again, the ability to win on the road, the willingness to challenge yourself in the non‑conference portion of the schedule, put yourself in different circumstances against different teams other than those that you're required to play because of what conference you belong to.
I think those have become things over time that matter to me, not exclusively by any stretch.¬† You still have to look at the whole picture.¬† I know the non‑conference strength of schedule question gets asked an awful lot.¬† We as a committee have been on record now for some time encouraging people to play stronger non‑conference strength of schedules.
The reality of that is if you don't, it doesn't eliminate you from the field.¬† It doesn't prevent you from getting in the tournament.¬† It shrinks your margin for error.¬† If you don't challenge yourself significantly in the non‑conference portion of the schedule, what you have to do is show us during the January and February period of the year you are clearly a team that deserves selection to the field or deserves to be seeded in a favorable spot.¬† You've given us less evidence, less opportunities to evaluate you.¬† It's not a disqualifier by any means.
Q.¬† If I understand you correctly, you mentioned that the teams that win later in conference tournaments, you weigh those less (indiscernible).
MIKE BOBINSKI:¬† I didn't intend to say they mean less.¬† Honestly, every game we try to be honest in how we weigh it.¬† What I intended to communicate is we try not to overweight what happens here this week in relation to the rest of the season.
Teams have played since the middle or early part of November in some cases.¬† To all of a sudden put undue weight on what happens here this last week before selection doesn't seem to do justice to the game or to a team.¬† So we just try very hard to not overweight what we see here this week.¬† We don't underweight it, try to minimize it.¬† We certainly build it into our evaluation.¬† We don't want to be swayed in any undue way by what happens this week was really the point.
Q.¬† How much influence does RPI have, versus margin of victory margin?
MIKE BOBINSKI:¬† Purely an individual decision here in the room.¬† I would tell you if you went around and asked the 10 different committee members, everybody would give you a different opinion as to how they individually consider those different rating systems and factors.
The true fact and reality is that the RPI is sort of the organizational basis for the information that's presented to us, that's available to the public through a variety of NCAA sites and access points.¬† So it is a way that we evaluate strength of schedules, whether it be non‑conference, or overall.¬† Top 50 or top 100 wins are all RPI‑based.¬† But the RPI itself is never used as a selection tool.¬† It's not a standalone criteria for selection, seeding or for anything.¬† It's that general and overriding organizational metric that we use.
But I know from my own perspective, I absolutely rely on other ranking systems, and I think one of the points that's been made, one our committee members Jamie Zaninovich from the West Coast Conference, when he sees large differentials between different rating systems, it causes you to dig more into a team, and say, Why is that?
That's very much how I use it.¬† When I see big swings between how a team is evaluated from one system to another, it really causes me to want to dig in a little deeper.
All of that is balanced by the observations we have of teams.¬† We don't ever look at paper or statistics.¬† We blend all of that against our own visual analysis and the actual on‑site or on‑television ability to watch teams play a lot of games during the course of the year.
Q.¬† Is there a general point in the season where you start to think about the last 10, 12 games in the season, where it really starts to make a difference maybe?
MIKE BOBINSKI:¬† I don't know that there's any specific point.¬† I think the reality of the college basketball season is it's really difficult for any team to play at your best night in and night out.¬† It's a long season.
The student‑athletes has who knows what going on, final exams.¬† They have things happening during the course of the year that collectively make it difficult for any team to hit on all cylinders each and every night.
There is no single point where we say all of a sudden now it's time to start watching how they do.¬† I think every team has its own sort of lifecycle during the course of a season.¬† You see that play out.
The end of the season, though, is the end of the season for everybody.¬† That has something to say about how a team is performing as they come down the stretch, but it's not a standalone or an evaluation criteria that in and of itself will make a decision for any of us.
Q.¬† This is a little vague.¬† I'm wondering how much subjectivity is involved in the overall process of the Selection Committee?
MIKE BOBINSKI:¬† Well, I think it's not vague.¬† I understand the question, I think.¬† I'll try to answer it.
I think the subjectivity comes in that every vote that we take is a private ballot, individual vote, based on the individual thoughts, opinions of every committee member.¬† There is no prescribed reads to select teams, rank teams, seed teams.¬† Everybody gets to do that on their own system for determining who they think are the best 37, then once we have the field together where they fit in the field.
Clearly, the human element, the ability for people to make their own decisions and form their own opinions is part of the process.¬† That's sort of the definition of subjectivity, so it's in there somewhere, for sure.
DAVE WORLOCK:¬† We want to thank Chair Bobinski for taking the time out of this very busy day for the committee.¬† We want to thank all of the media for outstanding questions.¬† We appreciate your time.
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