As conference tournaments begin play, one staple of TV broadcasts will be analysts projecting bubble teams into the NCAA tournament based on an early-round win over a ranked team or a deep tournament run. Georgia Tech athletic director Mike Bobinski, who served five years on the NCAA Division I men’s basketball committee and was the chairman in 2012-13, heard it, too.
“It doesn’t work that way at all,” Bobinski said.
The committee takes into consideration a team’s entire season, not weighting more recent games more heavily than earlier ones. Bobinski acknowledged it was a challenge and sometimes required a conscious effort to adhere to the principals and procedures of the selection process.
“We always tried very hard to not let that recency effect of what’s happening right now, right before your eyes outweigh the 30 games you’ve already watched,” he said. “There’s a whole season’s worth of evidence that you’ve got to consider and a team having a great or really bad performance right at decision time shouldn’t be overly weighted.”
The only time a team’s most recent results would have the sort of impact that media members – and coaches – believe, Bobinski said, is “if, in fact, the games that they won to get there really put that team in a different light than the whole season that we watched them play.”
As committee members watched games in the selection room, Bobinski said, they listened to the predictions with bemusement.
“We heard it all,” he said. “Honestly, if you listened to all the folks who say, ‘Well, if so-and-so wins, then they’re going to be in,’ there would have been 112 teams in the tournament.”