Colorado Springs News, Sports & Business

KLEE: Time to bust the bracket, tweak NCAA Tournament

photo - Kansas State head coach Bruce Weber points to the television while waiting to learn their NCAA college basketball tournament assignment during a Selection Sunday viewing party in Manhattan, Kan. on March 17, 2013. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner) + caption
Kansas State head coach Bruce Weber points to the television while waiting to learn their NCAA college basketball tournament assignment during a Selection Sunday viewing party in Manhattan, Kan. on March 17, 2013. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)
By Paul Klee Updated: February 28, 2014 at 8:50 pm

DENVER - Fixing college basketball won't be easy.

That's OK; we have time, and with million-dollar TV contracts, the game's not going anywhere. The new freedom-of-movement rules eventually will offer a nice measure of progress. Someday, hopefully, we'll straighten out the crooked recruiting scene.

That's partly up to the coaches and whether they're willing to name names, so we can send the sinned to basketball jail. I think it's called Kelvin Sampson Arena. History suggests Kentucky has its own wing.

There's another, more immediate need for change. It's time to shake up the NCAA men's basketball selection committee. That's not to say the 10-person collective of ADs and commissioners is unfit to bracket the 68 teams in the NCAA Tournament.

They do a fine job.

The media members who cover college basketball could do a better one.

Saturday marks another day of opportunity in college basketball, another late pitch for teams trying to prove their worth for Selection Sunday, March 16.

By subbing a half-dozen or so basketball media into the selection committee, we relent from the computer-driven model that turned the BCS into a math equation and frustrated football fans to no end. We regain the most valuable gauge for measuring teams: the eye test.

There's no substitute for watching a team play in person, and no one sees more teams than college basketball media.

Put Dana O'Neil, the superb reporter from ESPN.com, on there. Mike DeCourcy, Jeff Goodman and Gary Parrish will do it. Give me Luke Winn and John Gasaway. Grab beat writers from the Big 12, Pac-12, Big East and SEC. I bet Jay Bilas and Dan Dakich are available. (Sorry, Dan. You are definitely media now.)

Those are just a few names, and there are plenty of others who will be mad at me for not mentioning theirs. But you get the point. I would argue no sector of media knows its sport as well as college hoops media - the good ones, at least. And outside of coaches, no one watches more games.

Commissioners and ADs are burdened by real jobs - running conferences and athletic departments. While an AD is busy firing a football coach in November, a beat writer is covering a nonconference game between future bubble teams Minnesota and Richmond. You know, watching games.

We may not be able to balance the budget of an athletic department, but we know the difference between a tournament-caliber team and a paper tiger that rained 14 3-pointers in a fluky upset.

The RPI is one tool, and a handy one at that; the eye test remains the best tool.

No one's had more eyes on college basketball than the media members who cover it.

This isn't to trivialize the work of the current committee, or to suggest it does a poor job. It usually does a decent-enough job.

We could do a better job. For us, college basketball is our job. The NCAA says it wants the best for the student-athlete. So give them the best bracket possible.

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Twitter: @Klee_Gazette

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