NATIONAL COLLEGIATE ATHLETIC ASSOCIATION MEDIA CONFERENCE
March 18, 2013Eastern Indiana Sports
DAVE WORLOCK: Good evening, everyone. We're live from the selection room where the Division I Men's Basketball Committee has just completed the process in the last few hours of selecting, seeding and bracketing the field.
We know there's a lot of people on tonight's call ready to ask chair Mike Bobinski a number of questions. We also have our vice president Mr. Dan Gavitt, Vice President of Men's Basketball Championships. Both will be speaking tonight.
We'll get right to the questions.
Q. Who were the last teams out that you left out of the bracket?
MIKE BOBINSKI: The last teams out were, in no particular order, they were Alabama, Iowa, Kentucky, Southern Miss, Tennessee, Virginia I think were the last group of teams that were unable to make the field.
Q. Can I ask you about Virginia specifically. Pretty unique résumé.
MIKE BOBINSKI: Well, 'unique' is exactly what they had. They had some terrific wins during the course of the year. They beat Duke, North Carolina, the beat Wisconsin on the road, they beat NC State. They also had a non?conference strength of schedule in the 300 range, they had seven losses outside the top 100, four of which were outside the top 50. Really a difficult résumé for us to get our arms around.
It's as unique a team sheet that I've ever seen in my four, five years on the committee. They weren't particularly strong on the road. They did have the Wisconsin win, but other than that, they didn't do a whole lot of damage away from home.
When you put all that together, they ultimately didn't pass muster as one of the 37 at?large teams for us.
Q. Would you elaborate a little on Kentucky's strengths and weaknesses on their résumé and what ultimately made the difference.
MIKE BOBINSKI: Kentucky was a team, because they had done some things during the course of the year, we analyzed very closely. They were in that last group as I just pointed out to the previous caller of teams we evaluated.
When Nerlens was playing, they were a team that showed some signs of making some progress. Even at that point they hadn't done a lot of notable things. Since he went down, they really struggled away from home. You've seen the results. They lost four times I think away from home, double?digits to teams that are not in the field.
The tournament is played away from home. It just felt like at the end of the day as we evaluated them they just weren't there in terms of being one of those 37 best teams.
They have plenty of talent, well?coached, all of that. At the end of the day we didn't get them in that group this year.
Q. I've heard you say five or six times on CBS and on this call about the road, performance on the road. Why is that important for you?
MIKE BOBINSKI: Well, it's been proven over many years that winning at home in college basketball is predominantly the province of the home team. It's just difficult, shows a sign of strength, if you're able to go on the road and beat good teams away from home.
Again, this tournament is competed in neutral sites all around the country. If you haven't shown you can play away from your own environment, then that's an indicator to us that maybe you're not one of those 37 best at?large teams in any given year.
Q. Was LaSalle the second to last team in? Can you talk about what you liked about putting them in.
MIKE BOBINSKI: I do not recall if they were. I'm looking here to try to see if I can come up with that. They, in fact, were the second to last team put in.
What we liked about LaSalle was the fact that they won four games against the tournament, they were 8?6 on the road, nice wins at VCU, which is significant. They've beaten Butler, Villanova. They've done some really nice things during the course of the year. Six top?100 wins. Just a pretty good performance. A veteran team, strong guard play. We feel they're going to be a legitimate team. The win at VCU was a big win because winning there is difficult. Having a top?25 road win is something that a lot of folks don't have in this field. LaSalle having that was a big factor.
Q. Oregon being a 12 instead of a 11, can you tell me would they have made the field if they hadn't won the PAC?12 tournament last night?
MIKE BOBINSKI: Absolutely they were in the field. They had been voted in the field a couple of votes before our last. They ended up at a 12 just because of, again as I mentioned earlier, without going into great detail, some bracketing issues we ran into. They had to be bumped down the line, which is difficult. A lot of it had to do because we couldn't take teams like Boise State and Saint Mary's from Dayton all the way out to San Jose. We wanted to open those spots for Cal and Oregon.
It was unfortunate they dropped a line, but it's not indicative of how we feel about them as a team. We had no other option at that point in time.
Q. Was it their record against the PAC?12, their non?league schedule didn't really stand out?
MIKE BOBINSKI: No, it didn't. That's a legit factor. I think that's one of the reasons they weren't seeded higher in the field also because when Dominic was out, they really lost their edge. They were playing, we felt, really well at the beginning of the PAC?12 season. When Dominic went down, they took a little bit of a hit and had a hard time getting it back even when he returned, although I thought last night they started to look a lot like that team again.
They've got a lot of pieces, a lot of weapons. They can score from a lot of different positions. But they were swept by Cal, by Colorado. They had a nice win at UNLV.
Again, a team that we think is very deserving of being in the field, but sort of appropriately placed not at the 12 but where we had them at the 11.
Q. How did you wind up evaluating Arizona with the way they finished on a little bit of a skid there? Did their seed fall? Do you make up with that with the placement in Salt Lake?
MIKE BOBINSKI: I'll start with the second part.
The placement is not a makeup. When we bracket, we do it based on they were the first team from the PAC?12. They got geographic preference for that. There were slots open in Salt Lake and L.A. They earned that based on their seed.
Early in the year they had great wins over Florida and Miami plus some pretty strong quality PAC?12 wins. Without a doubt, though, being swept three times by UCLA, struggling a little bit, maybe not playing quite as sharply as the year went on probably affected them a little bit.
We consider them a really good team. Once we got past those first two lines, the field was very balanced. Honestly, it's really difficult for us to put them in order this year. We don't see a great difference between a 6, a 4, a 7, a 3. All those teams look remarkably alike this year.
Q. Did you consider putting UCLA ahead of them? Did Jordan Adams' injury downgrade them a little bit?
MIKE BOBINSKI: Yes and yes. We did consider that. I think absent Jordan Adams' injury, which had he played last night, who knows how the game would have gone, that was a factor for us. However, at the end of the day that injury did give us a little pause and caused us to not move them up over Arizona.
Q. Can you go over the UNLV rematching with Cal from an earlier game this year, how that happened.
MIKE BOBINSKI: We really ran out of options, unfortunately. We wished we were able to avoid that because it's a consideration, it's not a primary consideration, it's a secondary, but one that we try to avoid if at all possible.
We just literally could not because of some first four logistical issues with team travel and other things. We had no place to put them other than there.
It's a little unfortunate. But Oregon also played UNLV, that was the other option. We really had either/or. That's just the way the bracket fell. We would have avoided it had we had the opportunity to do so, I assure you.
Q. Obviously there's been a lot of conversation about the last teams in not being from the so?called power conferences. Is there a message to power conference teams coming out of the room this year?
MIKE BOBINSKI: No. We're not in any way trying to send any message whatsoever. That's not our job, not our business. Our job is to really just identify who we believe are the best 37 teams.
I think it's great for college basketball when in the committee's evaluation there are good teams spread all around the country in a variety of different settings and leagues. Kind of a positive as far as we're concerned.
But we were sending no message when we selected teams that happened to not be from those conferences.
Q. Obviously there were quite a few teams in consideration for a No.1 seed. Duke was ranked No.1 in RPI and strength of schedule. What did you see in them to decide they were a No. 2 seed?
MIKE BOBINSKI: We really did give a lot of time and energy to that first line this year, as much as I can recall in my five years on the committee. There were six teams that we really strongly, strongly analyzed for those four slots.
Duke was one of them. They had a great season, performed tremendously well at full strength with Ryan Kelly. At the end of the day if we had to give you one distinction, it got down to fine distinctions here, maybe they didn't win on the road quite like some of the other teams in the 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 slots. They were in the mix for a No.1 slot. As the week went forward here, they actually spent some time on the 1 line, as did a number of teams, as we did our evaluations.
It was a very, very close call. Just one of those decisions we ultimately had to make. Plus they also tangentially didn't win their regular season or the tournament as the other No.1's in some cases.
Q. Colorado State finishing the Mountain West second in the regular season, but seeded behind SanDiego State. Did Dorian Green's sprained ankle have anything to do with it?
MIKE BOBINSKI: Dorian's back.
Q. He played a little last game.
MIKE BOBINSKI: We were aware of him being injured. That didn't have a lot of influence on our seed. At the end of the day, if I recall our conversations about those two teams, it was more that SanDiego State had a nice neutral?site win against UCLA. They beat Indiana State, who is a pretty good team. They did a couple things that we felt were just enough deserving to have them slightly ahead of Colorado State.
Colorado State's non?conference wins didn't feature anything over teams that were in the tournament, where SanDiego State had that. Close call. We didn't have them on our seed list. They were within four or five slots, so that in today's field is really close. It's a very fine distinction.
Q. Ohio State being in the same region at Gonzaga as the No. 2, is that they're the strongest No. 2 or you couldn't put Ohio State and Indiana in the same region?
MIKE BOBINSKI: We don't use that S?curve anymore. We don't match up the top 1 with the lowest 2. That's not how we do it.
We couldn't put Ohio State with IU because the top three teams from a conference have to be in separate regions. It wasn't because we were trying to match strength or anything like that.
Q. I know this would just be conjecture, but I'm wondering what Kentucky could have done in the SEC tournament short of winning it to get a bid.
MIKE BOBINSKI: Had they won a couple games. I wouldn't say they would necessarily have had to win it. They were on the road. They were at a neutral site at that point in time. They were on our radar throughout the week, leading into this week.
Just winning the game, winning two games would have really given us a little bit more confidence about who they are as a team. Unfortunately that just didn't play out.
Q. Is there any thought at all about the defending champion not being in? Does that say a good thing about the overall parity, if nothing else?
MIKE BOBINSKI: Obviously that's not a consideration of ours. I would say that clearly is an indication of the balance in the field this year. It just shows you you've got to earn it each and every year. It's a challenge. That's the competitive nature of college basketball.
DAVE WORLOCK: Thank you very much. We appreciate everyone's time tonight. Thank you for participating and we'll talk to you soon.