Some insights on how the first ever Rankings Show came into being

In reading a recent column by Seth Davis of Sports Illustrated, he painted a rather interesting picture on how the NCAA Rankings show will take a small page from what ESPN gives football fans every Tuesday night during October and November with the focus being on the Top 4 schools when the Top 25 list is released.

Sometime after the Kentucky game at Alabama on Saturday afternoon around 3 p.m. Eastern time, the next huge WordPress, Facebook, and Twitter moment will be revealed from New York.

It was not the fans or alumni, but the coaches who wanted to see this concept come to fruition–as far back as summer 2014 to be more precise.  What we will see is a list of the 16 top teams and how they would be seeded based on the current NCAA Tournament principles and procedures.

Sure, the schools will have every right to be angry and complain about the general seeding process.  What the job of the Committee Chairman, which this year falls on the hands of Michigan State Athletic Director Mark Hollis is to make some sense of how the bracket would look come Selection Sunday.

The rest of the members of the Selection Committee gather in Indianapolis at the NCAA Headquarters just off of White River State Park each February to discuss, grapple over tons of information and computer statistics covering known and unknown metrics–RPI and Ken Pomeroy ratings included.

Another thing most coaches did ask for is that there will be an added incentive for which school winds up as the overall Number 1 seed.  As I explained briefly in a prior blog, which makes a lot of sense IMHO–that school will get to choose which of the eight regional pod sites they would like to play during the first two rounds.  Most of that decision will be based on geography.

Using 2016 as an example, Kansas would have much rather have played at the United Center in Chicago instead of where they actually started several hundred miles away from the Lawrence campus.  What might create more confusion similar to football is what criteria the Committee plans to use.  It is not organic, but rather a more fluid basis on what to draw from.  Seth Davis provided this general reasoning in his January 30 article on

“…the committee is more likely to come up with a list of primary considerations (road record, record vs. the top 50, nonconference strength of schedule) and secondary considerations (head-to-head results, record vs. common opponents, avoidance of losses to bad teams).”

CBS Sports college basketball analyst Seth Davis

And here is the real kicker, why we will not have a weekly show as if CBS was thinking of pre-empting some major primetime dramas on Tuesday nights instead of just having this one time deal on Saturday afternoon:

“When the real exercise takes place in March, the 10 members of the committee will spend five very long days and nights poring over data, crunching numbers and scrubbing the seed list to come up with the 68-team tournament. If they’re not going to put the same kind of time and effort here, then it is probably not worth doing. Besides, the committee needs conference tournament results. If they composed an entire bracket for this show, they would have to concoct “pretend” results, and that could create a lot more problems than it solves.”

That is the job of bracketologists like expert Jerry Paul.  He will appear in studio and take what the NCAA will release in the top quarter of the bracket and come up with a pretend bracket as if the draw had taken place in some back room.

Just fyi, each of the committee members are volunteers.  With each individual asked to attend hundreds of games that usually take up chunks of time every night during parts of over three months, plus helping in any way they can to assist on deciphering lots of information from hundreds of games every day is asking a bit much.  This is unlike in football where most of the key games take place on Saturdays and the CFP committee has ample time to come up with their Top 25 list by early Tuesday evening.

Basically, there is very little sense to having CBS do a weekly show.  And for all of the ladies reading, I bet seeing new episodes of NCIS is way better than hearing the common term this time of year, “overall body of work.”

However, we will see if the public appetite is eager enough in this very weird, anything goes landscape.  Hopefully, in the opinion of this blog reporter–I hope it creates some much needed conversation so many fans from coast to coast can start getting pumped up for the next big American sports event.  After all, this is the same tournament structure in what longtime former CBS Sports announcer Brent Musburger simply referred to the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament during the 1980’s as, “the four fastest days in sports.”

And I will definitely give my general reasons both here in this blog and via podcast regarding the NCAA’s rankings and which teams might be seeded higher or lower based on the games up to that point.

Bottom line is that I hope that the show turns out to be both fun and educational.

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