College basketball is taking a cue from college football, it seems.
The NCAA announced Tuesday that the selection committee will reveal the top 16 seeds in the country — the top four teams in each region of the NCAA tournament — “as they stand” on Feb. 11, a full month ahead of Selection Sunday.
The NCAA is billing it as “an in-season look” at the NCAA tournament bracket, much like the College Football Playoff selection committee reveals its rankings on a weekly basis over the last month or so of the football season. In this case, the 16 teams will be revealed — for the first time ever — during a Saturday afternoon (12:30 ET) broadcast on CBS.
— NCAA March Madness (@marchmadness) January 24, 2017
“We are excited about giving the fans a glimpse to what the men’s basketball committee is thinking at this point of the season, and creating a buzz as we look towards Selection Sunday,” said Michigan State athletic director Mark Hollis, the chair of this year’s committee.
Hollis made sure to emphasize how much time will remain in the season when these teams are revealed. A lot can change from then until Selection Sunday.
“It’s important to recognize after this list has been released, there is still a significant portion of the regular season to be played and every league must stage its conference tournament,” Hollis said. “There’s potential for quite a bit of movement until we do it for real March 12, but this early peek will give everyone insight as to where the committee stands as we hit the stretch run of the regular season.”
Here’s how the broadcast will play out:
Leading off the show, the bracket with the Committee’s top 16 seeds as of Feb. 11 will be revealed. Hollis, along with host Greg Gumbel and analysts Clark Kellogg and Seth Davis, will discuss the selection and seeding process as well as the reasoning behind the Committee’s first-ever in-season bracket preview.
Noted bracketologist Jerry Palm also will join Gumbel, Kellogg and Davis later in the show to project out the entire 68 team bracket, analyze the field, discuss bubble teams and highlight key story lines heading into March.
There will surely be some critical of the mere existence of this broadcast, but it’s far enough away from Selection Sunday (while only revealing a fraction of the teams) that it seems like it will reveal very little. It will generate its fair share of conversation, too, which drives up the excitement level for the NCAA tournament. And that’s what the NCAA wants.
More college basketball from Yahoo Sports:
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