Softball Committee Chair Talks About Regional Selection Process
Why are the 7th-ranked Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns not hosting an NCAA regional this weekend?
Why isn't James Madison, who is ranked in the top 16, and has an RPI in the top 16, also not hosting?
Why is Alabama, who won the SEC regular season title by 4 games, seeded lower than Florida, who finished their SEC slate with a record of .500?
What is the process to determine the Field of 64 in the NCAA Tournament?
In terms of the Cajuns, and why they are not hosting this weekend, Stuart indicated that while they had an impressive resume, their schedule didn't do them any favors.
A team like Louisiana, in some regards, is like the Minnesota of 2017. They went out and took care of their business. It’s just that unfortunately when you’re comparing bodies of work side to side then you’re getting a different perspective. Quite frankly, we found ourselves splitting hairs to determine which teams were going to get in in front of others and which teams may leap frog others just based on their complete body of work.
James Madison apparently was viewed similarly.
So, when we get down to schools like JMU and Northwestern, we are looking at their complete body of work. Now when you look at JMU, their schedule isn’t as visually balanced as Northwestern. The reason for that is Northwestern, they have a lot of conference games in the top 20 and top 50. What we do is extract those top 50 conference games and look at what they did non-conference. Now, we are comparing apples to apples.
Unfortunately for JMU, they still didn’t give us enough of a body of work non-conference, we didn’t have enough results to give them the nod. There’s no doubt that they went out there and they played Michigan and they beat them, there’s no doubt that they went out there and played teams that they had to go find and play because their conference isn’t as strong but I believe Northwestern still had four or five more non-conference results after taking Big Ten play out. That’s where Northwestern got the nod. It was a very slight edge over JMU.
Stuart also pointed out that Alabama was also penalized for their non-conference schedule.
I know people don’t always understand or don’t want to look at it but Alabama is the only team in the top eight with a three-digit non-conference strength of schedule.
We thought that they did enough to deserve the recognition for a top eight but we take into account everything and that includes all four quadrants. They had a really heavy fourth quadrant but they still won their games so they don’t get punished. For us, we can’t go off of the eye test. We have to go off of the information that is given to us to provide a fair and equitable process to everybody.
View the complete interview, here.