March 7, 2000
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Different setting, same procedure.
The 10-member NCAA Division I men's basketball committee will convene at the Westin Hotel on Thursday to begin selecting 35 at-large teams, seeding them and the 29 automatic conference qualifiers and slotting all 64 teams in brackets for the 2000 NCAA Championships.
The committee conducted its deliberations the past 18 years in Kansas City, Mo. When the NCAA moved its headquarters to Indianapolis last summer, the selection site moved, too. The Final Four will be at the nearby RCA Dome on April 1-3.
"We'll keep it the same as much as possible," said Craig Thompson, commissioner of the Mountain West Conference and chairman of the 2000 selection committee. "I don't believe there's going to be anything different about this year's selection process other than the four new committee members."
The new members are athletic directors Jim Livengood of Arizona, Les Robinson of North Carolina State, Judy Rose of North Carolina-Charlotte, and Gene Smith of Iowa State.
They got their first taste of the selection procedure last month in a mock bracket exercise at the NCAA headquarters, and they are scheduled to arrive back in Indianapolis on Wednesday.
After dinner Wednesday night at a downtown restaurant, they'll take all other meals on the 15th floor of the Westin, where each of the members and the five NCAA staffers assigned to assist them has a room. The 15th floor will be secured, with limited telephone access, as will be other areas of the hotel where the NCAA Division I women's basketball committee is cloistered for its selection process.
The men's meeting convenes at 1 p.m. Thursday. One member will be assigned to each of the eight sub-regionals. The committee also will select 96 officials to work the first- and second-round games. Then the members will begin studying up to 30 criteria they'll use in seeding the teams and balancing the brackets.
They know no matter who they pick, some teams will feel slighted.
"You're always going to have a couple of teams saying, 'We should have been in. Why aren't we in?' " said Jack Kavancz, athletic director at George Washington and a second-year committee member. "I'm sure every single person in that room will do their absolute best to pick the best 64 teams. I left last year feeling we had done that."
The tournament field expanded to 32 teams in 1975, and to 64 in 1985. Seeding began in 1979. The NCAA last year signed a rights agreement with CBS Sports that will bring in at least $6 billion over 11 years, beginning in 2003.