By KEITH PEEL
Instead of everyone complaining to the NCAA Tournament selection committee and selection chairman — by the way I give Mitch Barnhart kudos for writing an open letter to the committee — I believe the true driver behind this poor process is CBS-TV.
Since CBS is paying multiple millions of dollars for the broadcast rights each year they are looking for a return on their investment. In order to attract viewers ( and advertisers) to this annual event they must have marquee matchups and the selection committee is just the group to provide them. They are just the “errand boy” for the network.
Because of the bias toward viewership we will always see more teams from conferences that have large populations that support basketball ( not the SEC) and teams from metropolitan areas that also can provide a big following.
The committee’s goal is not to seed the tournament to provide the best seeds with the easiest path to the finals or even to put the most deserving teams in the field. Their goal is actually to put the most fannies in seats and especially to attract the most eyeballs to their broadcasts.
Since each year viewership for the tournament is rising we will continue to see this trend. UK fans should get used to seeing Duke, UofL, West Virginia, Indiana, North Carolina in our bracket each year. Our seed will be set to allow a matchup like the ” made for TV” matchup they put together (they are hoping) of UK-IU or Texas-Texas A&M. Same is true for North Carolina. CBS is hoping to get a UK -Carolina matchup in the finals.
As we all know ” money talks” and right now it is saying that the process is a sell out to the highest bidder to create the best advertising revenue possible, not to create a credible seeding process.
If we are going to complain we need to make sure we know who to complain to and all you need to do is follow the money.