Bruce Rasmussen, the director of athletics at Creighton University and chair of the Division I Men’s Basketball Committee, answered questions about the NCAA Tournament selection process Sunday night.
Q. I’m wondering what your discussion in the room was like about Louisville. I know they weren’t in the first four out. I wondered where they ended up in your pecking order and what was it that cost them the bid?
BRUCE RASMUSSEN: First of all, Louisville has a very good team. They weren’t in the first four out but they certainly were discussed a great deal by the committee, along with about 15 other teams. And we knew there were only a very few spots available. In reality, we looked at who did you play, where did you play them, how did you do?
Louisville had the majority of their wins against teams in the third and fourth quadrants. They had five wins against teams in the first two quadrants. They had a lot of opportunities.
So we just didn’t feel like with the opportunities they had — they had 13 opportunities in quadrant one, they had three wins. They had two wins in quadrant two. And we just didn’t — Louisville is a very good team — we just didn’t think there was enough there to put them in ahead of teams that made it.
Q. On the last call I know you said that the committee would not be discussing the extracurricular stuff, the stuff that was implicated in the federal complaints from last year. Can you tell us now that the press has actually played out, that that stuff indeed didn’t come up? And relatedly, I guess, you know there were three teams all on the bubble, none of which made it. Can you tell us that that had nothing to do with it?
BRUCE RASMUSSEN: It had absolutely nothing to do with it. There was no discussion at all in the committee about that. That’s outside of our purview.
Q. I’m just wondering, Middle Tennessee and Vermont had excellent conference records. Vermont dominated its conference. And Syracuse, Alabama, Texas, Oklahoma and Arizona State all finished below .500 in their respective conferences. Is there any thought about requiring teams to at least finish .500 in their league in order to be eligible for a tournament? Would that be an easily quantifiable point the committee could use and the teams would understand?
BRUCE RASMUSSEN: Well, it’s been discussed in the past. But as conferences have gotten larger, as there’s been more uneven scheduling, it’s something that has not generated enough interest to be a policy at this point.
Q. I had a technical question about how some of the teams ended up at specific sites. I know you’ve got Cincinnati and Xavier in Nashville, which if I’m not mistaken is technically their second closest site — I know they’re a little bit closer to Detroit. Could you say if there was a rationale behind that and if getting Michigan State to play in Detroit played any role in that at all?
BRUCE RASMUSSEN: We had a discussion as a committee and those sites were very close to each other. And really pretty much the same distance from each other. Maybe just a few miles. And so we went by the seeding principles where the better seeded team on each line got the geographic preference. And that’s the way it worked out.
Q. With regards to Arizona, being as they were a No. 4, I was wondering, was there consideration putting them in San Diego and why did it become Boise? And secondarily I was wondering if any of the injuries, and they had a key player injured and another key player suspended for a couple of games, if those factored in at all?
BRUCE RASMUSSEN: We discussed player availability concerning every team. And unfortunately this year I think for a lot of teams there were a lot of players that were not available. So we take the resumé as it appears.
Arizona was the fourth No. 4 seed and so they had to go where the slot was left. And that’s why they ended up where they ended up.