A committee’s thankless task

Group that decides NCAA Tournament field deserves some love, right?

This Sunday night, just after 6 p.m., anyone who cares about college basketball will see the only bracket that matters.

Ron Wellman, athletic director at Wake Forest, and the rest of the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Committee will unveil the 68 teams for our annual Dance – who they are, where they are going, when they’ll be playing.

A big TV show is made out of it. “Experts” will dissect the tournament, sometimes seconds after the names are put together. Predictions will be made. Very wrong ones, too, as everyone knew that Syracuse was supposed to lose to Montana, right, Seth?

As that is going on, the work of another group will also end. Not the committee, mind you, but rather a self-appointed group of men whose sole task and purpose in life is to drain all the fun and suspense out of what used to be a fun, suspenseful day.

You remember that, right? Even 10 years ago, Selection Sunday was anticipated the way a certain holiday late in December is anticipated by kids. Maybe you had an idea of who was going to make the tournament, but seeing how they would get paired up, and in many cases whether they would make the field at all, created incredible tension and excitement.

But now that’s gone. Just the fact that Joe Lunardi’s name is mentioned more than March than all the teams, players and coaches combined is a sickness. March is about basketball, not whether some bracket-wielding egomaniac trumpeted by a narcissistic sports broadcast empire gets all of his picks right.

To them, it’s almost like the NCAA committee doesn’t exist – or if it does, its only purpose in life is to reinforce what people with no responsibility, but lots of undeserved air time, have already decided for themselves. In other words, why bother meeting? Why do we have a committee, if we’ve usurped the role for ourselves?

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