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Guest post: Follow the money to understand NCAA seedings

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.

4 comments

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  1. LindaS

    it is a shame that the almighty $ dictates so much in today’s society.
    If the $ does secretly control the brackets, which I think might contribute maybe 45% of the decisions of who we play they would have sent KY and their best buds to a larger arena closer to Kentucky so that the might BBN would fill up the arena. 17000? seriously…that is a drop in the bucket I have a feeling that many won’t travel to Iowa because they might think they won’t get tickets and the gym won’t be flooded with blue.
    I think just like everything else with the NC2A, botox mark and his band of merry men the whole kit and caboodle needs some really deep house cleaning and maybe even a senate investigation…well, an unbiased one. Get a bunch of clergymen, nuns, Buddhist, rabbis with no fundamentalist to honestly investigate botox mark and his band of merry men.
    Just wait, in a school whose athletes didn’t take a real class might win this one…refs control so much of the games….and then in a couple years, will claim the non-class was not an infraction and nothing will happen to them.
    In my real world, they would receive a very stiff sentence…maybe that one is what loserville deserves…but, they will have all titles and wins stripped from that time and we know it was a very long time.
    $,loserville and non-classes it has ruined one of the most exciting times of the year. OK, some of you prefer that funny looking leather ball but to me this is it besides the Derby.

    1. Theresa C

      Well said, Linda! I hate injustice so this just has me pulling out my soapbox to stand on. Those who know me well, just politely listen and nod all the while pretending to care. But, really, I suppose everything that man touches just has to be corrupt–even something like the seeding and organization of as a basketball tournament. I would add two caveats to the clergymen, nuns, etc., they have to be knowledgeable about basketball the game–have either played it or watched it consistently for numerous years to recognize the skill level– and the RPI metric has to be thrown out, but the other more reliable metrics should be used (KenPom, BPI, etc.). Then, hopefully, the dollars will not enter into the equation.

  2. sprink

    That’s what I’ve said all along about the seedings. It’s all about made for TV ratings and the ginormous sums paid for the broadcast rights. It’s been such a freaky season, though, some of these match ups may not happen due to teams losing earlier games.

  3. RJ

    Has anyone deluded themselves to think that the parings were based on sportsmanship? This sort of thing has been going since they began televising college basketball. Back in the day, TV cameras were bystanders just like the fans. Today, TV is the driver of parings, play times and everything else regarding tournament schedules. Companies pay a lot of money for advertising and they want it at the right time with the most people watching.

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