In what seemed like an innocuous press release, last week the NCAA announced that Atlantic 10 commissioner Bernadette McGlade and Bradley Athletic Director Chris Reynolds would begin five-year terms on the Division 1 men's basketball selection committee starting with the 2018-2019 season. At the time, it didn't raise many eyebrows. Each member of the ten-person selection committee serves a five-year appointment, and this year was the final season for Southland Conference Commissioner Tom Burnett and Creighton Athletic Director Bruce Rasmussen. McGlade and Reynolds will replace them starting next season.
The buried lede in this release is huge news if you think mid-majors deserve more representation in the NCAA Tournament. What this means is that the majority of the ten-person committee will be represented by mid-major or low-major conferences for the first time since 2013. Why? Because of the two departing members, one is from the power conferences (Rasmussen - Creighton) and one is from a low-major (Reynolds - Southland). McGlade and Reynolds, the two incoming members, are both from mid- or low-major conferences. This shifts the power to 6-4 in favor of the smaller conferences. Listed below are the members of the 2019 selection committee:
Power conference members:
Bernard Muir (Chair) - Stanford
Mich Barnhart - Kentucky
Kevin White - Duke
Jim Phillips - Northwestern
Mid or low-major conference members:
Mountain West Commissioner (yet to be named)
Jim Schaus - Ohio University
Tom Holmue - BYU
Janet Cone - UNC-Asheville
Bernadette McGlade - Atlantic 10
Chris Reynolds - Bradley
So what happened in 2014 to shift the balance of power to the power conferences? Bruce Rasmussen, the AD at Creighton, began his five-year term on the selection committee. At the time of his appointment, Creighton was still a member of the Missouri Valley conference - a mid-major. This kept majority representation with the mid-low major schools (four from power conferences, six from non-power conferences). But in Spring 2013, Creighton joined the Big East, changing the makeup of the committee members to five and five. The equal representation from the elite conferences made a MASSIVE difference in selection and seeding from 2013 to 2014. Take a look at the last four at-large teams selected in those two years:
Boise State (Mountain West)
La Salle (Atlantic 10)
Middle Tennessee (Conference USA)
Saint Mary's (West Coast Conference)
Xavier (Big East)
NC State (ACC)
Iowa (Big Ten)
Pretty drastic, right? In the year where the power on the committee shifted toward the power schools, the last four at-large bids went from four mid-majors to four power schools. This doesn't even begin to scratch the surface; mid-majors like St. Bonaventure in 2016 and Middle Tennessee in 2018 were left out even though they had strong resumes. Meanwhile, Syracuse made the field in both 2016 and 2018 despite having a losing record in top 50 and 100 games.
While committee members are supposed to be objective, it was clear that the five members from power conferences were voting as a bloc over the last five seasons. Some would argue that the power conferences should comprise at least half of the selection committee because they have most of the talent and wins. But remember, the Power 6 schools represent just 77 of 351 member institutions, about 22 percent of the schools in Division I. It only makes sense that the power conferences be limited to 40 percent of the body that determines all of the at-large bids, seeding, and destinations for each institution.
It's 10 minutes to 6pm and the Selection Show is about to start. Unfortunately, there's no time to do a bracket before the clock strikes zero. That being said, here's your 2018 projections and seed list. At the bottom are the first ten teams out. Enjoy!
San Diego St.
New Mexico St.
South Dakota St.
Cal St. Fullerton
The clock has struck midnight! Welcome to March, everyone! Over the next 20 days or so the action will be almost non-stop, and Bracket Forecast has you covered. To celebrate March Madness, we've got a fresh bracket up for your viewing pleasure. We'll have new posts coming just about every day until Selection Sunday, March 11th. In the mean time, Let's quickly go over a few headlines about the bracket as it stands today.
Growing up outside of Richmond, Virginia in the heart of ACC Country, college hoops was set into the fabric of Rusty Tutton at an early age. A 2008 graduate of VCU, he lives in the Fan District of Richmond and works full-time in higher education.