News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Indiana State University

May 26, 2014

Prettyman describes committee experience as 'intense'

ISU had 'a lot of respect from peers'

TERRE HAUTE — Indiana State Director of Athletics Ron Prettyman wasn’t on much sleep on Memorial Day.

He spent the weekend sequestered in the Indianapolis Westin Hotel during his maiden voyage as part of the NCAA Baseball Tournament Selection Committee. Prettyman will serve on the committee until 2018.

It’s an arduous process to select the field. I participated in the college basketball mock selection in February and the endless Pick 8/Rank 8 runoffs were mentally exhausting. And we only got a taste.

Prettyman got the full treatment. The committee goes from 7 a.m. to about 12:30 a.m., especially on the final two days when conference tournaments are concluding. The NCAA is mandated to list the host sites on Sunday night before Selection Monday, so that adds some spice to the process.

“Everything I’d heard, it was pretty much what I expected, but it was a little bit more intense than I expected. You compare and split hairs and that’s a difficult task. We had computers going a lot of watched games Saturday,” Prettyman said.

Indiana State’s at-large possibilities added a wrinkle to things. Prettyman could not be a part of any discussions involving ISU or the Missouri Valley Conference.

Moreover, Prettyman was not in the room at all when sites were determined at any of the 16 regionals. The NCAA doesn’t want any athletic directors in the room from participating schools to avoid perceived bias.

It doesn’t mean it won’t happen anyway. Some national pundits pointed to ISU’s No. 2 seed and thought Prettyman’s presence on the committee helped. If it did, it wasn’t as a direct part of the process.

“I was not in the room the whole time they did the pairings. I knew who was going to be in the tournament, but when they started placing I was out of the room. There were four athletic directors on the committee from participating schools. We hung out in the lobby,” Prettyman said.

Prettyman noted that ISU was identified as an at-large team “very early in the process”. ISU’s 22 RPI stands out and so did the factors that helped build it, according to Prettyman.

“We had a lot of respect from my peers in the room. The issue of us having split with IU, winning two of three against Dallas Baptist and playing good teams on the road like Vanderbilt worked in our favor. The schedule and being willing to play on the road helped us,” Prettyman said.

Scheduling was a major factor in determining the have’s and have not’s on the bubble.

“It was brought up on nearly every team. We looked at road record, last 15 and how teams were finishing. Messages were sent to some coaches,” Prettyman said.

As for ISU’s placing at IU? It was expected by many, but not guaranteed. Most expected ISU to be in Purdue’s regional in 2012, but instead, the Sycamores were shipped to Oregon.

I e-mailed the NCAA back in April to see if ISU’s two games against IU might have an influence as to whether they’d go there for a regional. I was told that except for the 16 regional seeds, the pairings for regionals, whenever possible, will be based on closest geographical location. An exception would be a team moved to balance a bracket.

Here’s the specific guideline the committee is supposed to use:

“… Examine the previous two tournament brackets to determine the number of times a team has been assigned to a particular site. The committee may also consider avoiding repeat match-ups from the regular season if the seeding and pairings policies are not compromised.”

Prettyman said he was very tired after the long process was over, but he gets little rest. The Missouri Valley Conference athletic director meetings begin in Kansas City on Tuesday.

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