March 9, 2012
By Andrew Gilman
NORMAN, Okla. -- Joe Castiglione is used to watching a lot of basketball.
But not this much.
Castiglione, OU's Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics Programs and Director of Athletics, was a late addition to the 10-person NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament Selection Committee, filling in when former Big 12 Commissioner Dan Beebe resigned.
So, while the rest of us will be examining teams, trends and numbers starting Sunday evening, know that Castiglione has been doing the same for the past several months.
"By a longshot," Castiglione said when asked if he watched more basketball this year than in years past. "It's incumbent on each member to be prepared. It's important each member comes to the meeting prepared to present cases for teams and compare those cases side by side with other teams."
This is Castiglione's first time to serve on the NCAA Tournament Committee, a process which is widely criticized by analysts and fans alike. He has been assigned six conferences to monitor this season, although he didn't say which ones.
Most of us see the end result -- the unveiling of the brackets. What we don't see is the months of preparation, the mock selections and the final weekend where Castiglione and the other members will be sequestered with limited cell phone access and limited communication with the outside world.
"We can't watch every game for every team, so we try to have an organized approach of monitoring," Castiglione said.
Castiglione will serve on the committee this year and next year.
"The process is completely different than most think when one realizes the level of details that goes into the selections, followed by the seeding and then the bracketing," Castiglione said.
Castiglione and the rest of the committee will be in charge of picking 37 at-large teams. The other 31 teams are automatic selections.
And how does the committee make sure that happens?
Yes, the committee does weigh the Ratings Percentage Index, a formula for determining a team's worth. No, that's not the only thing the committee uses.
Yes, the committee does look at games from November and December as much as the ones recently played. No, the committee does not consider what ESPN "Bracketologist" Joe Lunardi thinks.
"The level of detail we want to include is to do the best job possible," Castiglione said. "At the end of the day, you want to make sure everybody receives the best possible consideration."