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Post The logistics of preparing for the tournament

Wednesday March 19, 2008

A lot of last weekend’s basketball schedule had to do with the expectation of the NCAA selection committee that conference representatives would be known before the selection show at 6:00. Many fans wondered why this process was so inflexible – couldn’t the selection show just be delayed awhile or even moved to Monday?

This article from the AJC illustrates the biggest problem with delaying the selection process: logistics.

Consider Georgia: the Bulldogs won the SEC championship around 5:30 p.m. on Sunday, stayed to watch the selection show in Atlanta, and arrived back in Athens later on Sunday evening. Almost as soon as they hit the ground in Athens, the staff went to work pulling film and developing a schedule for the next two days. With an opening round game scheduled for Thursday, the Dawgs left Athens mid-afternoon Tuesday. Hopefully some sleep was involved at some point.

That sequence of events gave the Bulldogs less than 48 hours to do everything from film work and scouting to coordinating travel plans, itineraries, hotel rooms, and practice times at the tournament site. The travel manifest has to be finalized well before departure. Since the NCAA arranges travel for participants, factor in 64 other programs doing all of this at the same time. Now imagine shortening that window of time even by 6 hours.

As the AJC points out, the logistical challenges don’t just involve the team. Band, cheerleaders, and other auxiliary groups have to make plans, and the athletics administration also has to swing into gear. Ticket employees must coordinate with the host site to make tickets available to fans while also developing the now-infamous pass list.

Georgia was also one of a handful of schools who had to do this process twice – for the men’s and women’s teams. The women had a little more flexibility as their tournament doesn’t start until Sunday, but I assure you that their scouting process also began minutes after the Georgia vs. Iowa pairing was announced on Monday evening.

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