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Author Topic: Are Calipari’s pokes at NCAA plausible? Odds of a Selection Committee conspiracy  (Read 157 times)

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Calipari’s chronic case of NCAA-induced paranoia resurfaced last weekend as he acknowledged the painful defeat his Kentucky team inflicted on good buddy Bob Huggins

“I am rooting for West Virginia, and I always do,” Calipari said. “He is rooting for Kentucky. We’re not going to play (again).”

With that, Calipari paused, then added, “Well, we will play each other in the NCAA Tournament. No question they’ll put us in the same bracket because they don’t want the two of us to advance. So we’ll play each other. But hopefully it’s (in the) later rounds.”

Tom Jernstedt interrupted. “Before you go any further,” he said, “that is so much B.S. That sort of talk frustrates me, and I’m disappointed because I have a high regard for Cal. He and I have had a good relationship. For someone of his magnitude, who has been around the game and the tournament that long, I’m really disappointed to hear that. It couldn’t be further from the truth.”

Jernstedt worked for the NCAA in a number of executive positions from 1972 to 2010.

“The 38 years I sat in the meeting room, there was never any effort to match this person against that person,” he said. “And I can swear on a stack of Bibles. During my 38 years, that never happened.”

Bill Hancock, a liaison between the Selection Committee and the NCAA from 1990 to 2005, said he did not believe Calipari was serious.

“I think he was joking,” he said. He, too, said a scenario such as matching coaches in order to eliminate one would never happen.

Bracketologists agreed.

When asked if the NCAA might want to create attractive matchups for television or punish certain coaches or favor other coaches, Jerry Palm of CBS replied in an email, “This one is easy. No, no and no.”

When asked why he believed it was farfetched to think the NCAA looked out for TV or played favorites with coaches, Palm wrote, “Because there is no evidence to support that.”

ESPN’s Joe Lunardi agreed.

“This is an easy one,” he wrote in an email. “Not only do I have complete faith in the Committee on these topics, there are also bracketing rules and procedural considerations that would get in the way of any bracket gerrymandering (bracket-mandering?) Anyone who has ever completed a bracket following the line-by-line procedures would agree. Bottom line: There are 67 games in the tournament, and storylines cannot be avoided. They just happen.”

Hancock cited the rules and guidelines involved in seeding and bracketing that make “bracket-mandering” all but impossible.

The guideline involved in the frequency of teams playing in the NCAA Tournament reads, “If possible, rematches from the previous two tournaments should be avoided in the first round.”

Of these three games in six years, Hancock said, “When dealing with bracketing, there’s no way you’re going to know who’s going to win. The committee cannot project (and) would not. There’s no reason to project who’s going to win and advance.”

Those addicted to conspiracies can whet their appetites next Sunday when the NCAA announces its top 16 teams a month from Selection Sunday. This promotional stunt should not be taken too seriously. Last year’s inaugural announcement a month out saw the seed and region correctly predicted for only five of the 16 teams.

During the NCAA convention last month, Ben Roberts of the Herald-Leader participated in a training exercise. Media representatives go through a mock process of selection, seeding and bracketing. It is designed to help pull the curtain back on the Selection Committee’s work.

Might the Selection Committee arrange a Kentucky-West Virginia game in order to prevent Calipari or Huggins from advancing?

“From what I saw, it’s not plausible at all,” Roberts said.

Of course, Calipari’s complaints about UK’s seed, site and/or potential opponents have become a rite of spring. Roberts found this understandable. He noted that several possible opponents would make a UK partisan suspicious. Indiana. Louisville. North Carolina. Duke. Kansas. Michigan State. In-state schools. And now, apparently, West Virginia.

Said Roberts: “Somebody’s got to be in your region when you count 10 teams as rivals.”


Would be more likely to be a 12-5 game.

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