John Calipari

Kentucky coach John Calipari and the Wildcats will learn their destination for the upcoming NCAA Tournament during a selection show Sunday. The Wildcats open play in the SEC Tournament Friday in St. Louis.

Tammie Brown, Kentucky Today

ST. LOUIS — The NCAA Tournament Selection Committee is hunkered down and set to begin the selection process for the Big Dance.

Going into the Southeastern Conference Tournament, 12 teams, including Ohio Valley Conference Tournament winner Murray State, have secured automatic bids to the NCAA Tournament, which begins next week at various sites across the county. The selection show will be at 6 p.m. Sunday and televised nationally on TBS.

Creighton Athletics Director Bruce Rasmussen, chair of the Division I men’s basketball committee, said once the teams are selected, the committee crafts together a final bracket, which takes approximately an hour to complete with a few exceptions.

“While that's true, I should also add that we always have to build contingency brackets based on possible outcomes or a combination of possible outcomes of Sunday's five conference championship games,” Rasmussen said during a teleconference Wednesday. “A couple of years ago, we had 12 brackets based on those scenarios.”

Rasmussen said the process isn’t limited to particular criteria and added the committee follows “the bracketing principles pertaining to geography as we strive to get as many teams as we can to the closest site available.” The committee also takes into “consideration conference affiliation as we try avoiding matchups of teams from within the same league.”

“We evaluate the whole body of work,” he said. “All games have the same emphasis. However, when you're playing in a conference tournament, you have an opportunity to possibly play teams that are high RPI teams, and therefore you have an opportunity to maybe get another quality win or two, which could impact your seeding and selection.”

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Rasmussen also added the committee doesn’t “try to project how a team will do with or without a player.” Kentucky freshman forward Jared Vanderbilt is being evaluated on a day-to-day basis after suffering an unspecified injury in practice earlier this week. Vanderbilt wasn’t expected to practice Wednesday. Vanderbilt has averaged 7.9n rebounds and 5.9 points since making his debut against South Carolina in January.

“We don't try to project how a team will do with or without a player,” he said. “We try to look at what they've done over the entire year and make a decision based upon that.”


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