During the Selection Show fans get a peek at how players react to their seeding. (Photo courtesy of washingtonpost.com)

Selection Sunday just became an all-out frenzy. It is an event about both the teams and the fans of college basketball. The event already garners a significant amount of attention from avid fans as well as the common sports fan. Office bracket challenges are a common occurrence. Normally the majority of attention goes to the bubble teams. Who’s in? Who’s out? Now, the very top spot is something that teams will be clamoring to reach in the field of 68. The NCAA added a new right to the number one overall seed, allowing them to select their location for the first and second round games. This is an excellent addition and will benefit the tournament and college basketball in several ways:

 

  1. Scheduling

 

Teams like Kentucky should have no problem in this area. At this point, however, even the most elite of teams will be forced to schedule out of conference games at a higher level. There needs to be some way for a team to separate themselves from all of the other 350 schools. Now there is a hyper emphasis placed on elite wins. Whereas before a team gained very little from being the number one overall seed versus the fourth overall seed now there is much to be fought for.

The minute differences between the school’s resumes will push one, and only one, school over the top to receive the extra privilege. The question becomes if the committee will reward a school that plays several elite teams and loses a handful. Last year no one seed had less than four losses. Virginia even had seven. Regular season basketball is already competitive, but this renewed emphasis in scheduling will bring the level of competition to new heights.

 

  1. Conference Tournaments

 

A team cannot exactly be the number one overall seed in the NCAA tournament if the team does not win their conference tournament. At the very least not winning it would make it extremely tough. Any given team should not get a higher seed than a team that they just lost to—looking at you Texas A&M. So, now there should be a huge emphasis on conference tournaments.

Conference tournaments do get a decent amount of attention as is. Recently, however, big name coaches like Calipari and Izzo have expressed their discontent with the way these tournaments are run as well as the way they affect the seeding in March Madness. Coaches also commonly cite the strenuous schedule over a period of a few days as a problem. The bottom line is that these games matter more now than they have before. This will only make the beginning of March Madness that much more watchable.

 

  1. The Selection Sunday Spectacle

 

The 2016 Selection Show was two hours. This was the first time that the program was of this length. (Image courtesy of ign.com)

Lengthening out the Selection Sunday Show in 2016 was painful to watch. Hopefully with this additional piece of information to reveal, the show will be all that much more interesting.  The event normally opened up with the announcement of the one seeds after the introduction. The number one overall seed usually appears first. Perhaps now they will do the reverse with the one seeds. This even could leave the door open to start somewhere else in the bracket. The closing of the reveal could contain the First Four as well as one seeds.

 

There is so much that could be done to better the show on top of that. The NCAA released a statement reporting that teams in the running will be contacted prior to the selection show and submit their choices.  This makes sense because the NCAA Selection Committee will need to have the bracket done before the show.  They could share all of the teams they contacted along with their choices.

 

There should be a display of caution, though. As much as this move could benefit the show it could also detract from it. The show needs to go back to an hour so that the fans can receive all pertinent information in a timely fashion.  A separate show could play host to any and all analysis. The addition of the No. 1 seed’s power has all the potential to add to the show but not if they attempt to stretch it and fluff it further.

 

  1. Scrutiny

 

The NCAA Selection Committee faced some criticism for a few of the teams that made the field in 2016. (Photo courtesy of NCAA.com)

For most governing bodies, scrutiny is a negative thing. Scrutiny, in terms of the NCAA Selection Committee, does get people to talk about the sport and the tournament.  Last year many chastised the Selection Committee for choosing teams like Syracuse to land in the First Four leaving Monmouth out. That made Syracuse’s run to the final four all the more interesting. With this added level of importance the committee will be under fire for any semblance of the incorrect choice at a whole new level. Fans and analysts will continue to evaluate the committee’s choice as the tournament goes on.

 

It is important to note the choice made by the team does not include their region but rather their first and second round locations. That means that the committee will also face negative press for putting the one seeds in a particular region more than they have before. If a team chooses a particular region as a one seed, will that affect their region?

 

Overall, this move is beneficial to NCAA basketball.  The only stipulation is that the Selections Show must have the egregious time frame corrected. The additional detail has the ability to bring new excietment and attention to Selection Sunday, but it is necessary to correct the errors. That would make the 2016-17 season the best it could be at this point. This move will affect this season and many more to come in a powerful way.

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