NCAA selection committee still hard at work as tournaments begin

// Photos by Charles Hallman Bernard Muir

The 10-member NCAA men’s basketball tournament selection committee, composed of Division I athletic directors and conference commissioners, don’t select the four finalists that will compete during the first weekend of April for the national championship. But earlier this week they did select the 68-team field.

“We put in a great field,” Stanford AD Bernard Muir said on Sunday’s selection show. Muir is the only Black member on the selection committee — he finishes his five-year term this year.   He is also the committee chair.

“I’m one of 10 members,” Muir told me during a January visit to Minneapolis, where this year’s Final Four will be held. “It’s great to have this opportunity to lead the group as chair. It’s always difficult for us [to get] those last few teams in. It requires a lot of study on everyone’s part.”

Minnesota (seventh seed) plays 10th-seed Louisville Thursday in Des Moines, Iowa.

As committee chair, Muir explained, “My role is to shepherd the process and procedure that we have to follow. My job is to make sure that we continue to follow and adhere to those rules and have everyone collectively contribute to the meeting, the voting and the process.”

Asked about his legacy as a selection committee member, Muir pointed out, “My legacy is about making sure we get those teams right. We are very excited to be involved with college basketball and its marquee event.”

The 2019 NCAA Men’s Tournament started Tuesday, but the committee work is far from done, Muir stressed. “We are still responsible for administrating the tournament [at] each of the sites: the First Four site [in Dayton], the first and second round site[s], the regional sites, and then the Final Four.” Their responsibilities include “monitoring the administration [of the tourney] from officiating to getting the teams to the locales, making sure they are set up well.”

“I know [that] those four teams who are lucky to be here [in Minneapolis] are going to have a wonderful weekend,” Muir said.