“It’s very time-consuming. One ex-committee member said when he was all done he took a pencil to it and calculated that five years on the committee equated to one year of your life,” Barnes said. “It’s a labor of love.”
Utah State and the NCAA Tournament
There are rules and procedures in place that keep Scott Barnes from influencing the vote when it comes to Utah State, but that doesn’t mean the Aggie athletic director hasn’t picked up some tips on how to improve his school’s chances of selection in the future.
In 2011, Barnes’ first year on the committee, Utah State made the NCAA Tournament by virtue of winning the WAC Tournament, but even with a 30-3 record, the Aggies were given just a 12-seed. Had the team not won the WAC Tournament, there was a chance it could have been on the outside looking in.
“Old Dominion was an 8 seed and some of our student athletes and coaches thought that should be our seed,” Barnes recalled. “The reality is they had a tremendous number of wins in the top 50.”
Among the top things Barnes looks for when comparing teams are wins against teams ranked in the top-50 and top-100 of the RPI and a rigorous non-conference schedule, two areas the Aggies have been criticized for in the past.
Both of these issues will likely be resolved next season. The Aggies are challenging themselves with scheduled games against USC and Mississippi State in the non-conference schedule. In conference, Utah State will move to the Mountain West, which finished this season as the top ranked league in the NCAA, according to RPI. Barnes says the committee doesn’t factor conference affiliation or strength into the selection process, but being in a stronger conference will mean a lot more chances for wins against quality opponents.
Kraig Williams is a 2010 Utah State University graduate and regular Deseret News sports blogger. He can be followed on Twitter at DesNewsKraig.
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