When it came to forming a College Football Playoff committee, the organizers referred to NCAA Division I men’s basketball for guidance. For instance, when a committee member’s school is being discussed that person must leave the room. That’s a page from the hoops committee playbook.
Now, basketball seems to be swiping an idea from their gridiron cousins by providing a peek behind the selection curtain.
On Feb. 11, the committee will announce its top 16 seeds, with the top four in each region. That will begin the show at 11:30 a.m. on CBS, and committee chairman Mark Hollis, Michigan State’s athletic director, and analysts will break down the results.
The NCAA Tournament’s 68-team bracket will be unveiled on March 12.
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Apparently no bubble talk this time, just the top four lines, which should be of special interest locally not only because of Kansas, which takes a No. 2 ranking into Tuesday’s game at West Virginia, but Kansas City, which will be the site of the Midwest Regional semifinals and final.
More transparency is always a good thing, but Hollis and his group should be ready for the backlash and have the answer to the question, “Why is my team getting shipped to San Jose?”
The seeds revealed in a couple of weeks will become bracketology’s baseline. Projections going forward will be based on the Feb. 11 uncovering.
Hollis addressed the idea in the form of a warning in a statement.
“It’s important to recognize after this list has been released, there is still a significant portion of the regular season to be played and every league must stage its conference tournament,” Hollis said. “There’s potential for quite a bit of movement until we do it for real March 12, but this early peek will give everyone insight as to where the committee stands as we hit the stretch run of the regular season.”
Yes, there is potential for a quite a bit of movement, if football can be the guide.
In 2014, the CFP’s inaugural season, TCU moved out of the top four — the Horned Frogs were third in the next-to-last CFP ranking, which is made public over the season’s final few weeks. TCU won by 52 points in its last game and dropped to sixth.
The plunge was explained by the lack of a “13th data point,” the game other conference champions play, which helps explain why the Big 12 is reviving its football title game for 2017.
But say this for the CFP rankings — and the same will be true for basketball — the program is can’t-miss viewing. The football rankings are announced in reverse order to build drama, and ESPN analysts debate the order.
The argument then moves to social media, where your team’s slight by Kirk Herbstreit is hashed out. A week later, the same scenario unfolds.
Men’s basketball is doing this once — but why not a weekly occurrence like football? The women’s hoops committee revealed the first of three top-16 rankings on Monday, giving No. 1 seeds to Connecticut, Baylor, South Carolina and Mississippi State.
No regular-season ranking delivers a final word, but it produces many words of reaction and plenty of attention. And CBS and Turner transfer more than $1 billion annually to the NCAA in rights fees. No one should begrudge the networks a little extra selection drama programming.