Q&A with selection committee chairperson Oman about NCAA Tournament bracket, at-large bids

Off the Block conducted an interview with Janine Oman, NCAA men’s volleyball committee chairperson and Ohio State executive associate athletic director, after the seven-team NCAA Tournament bracket was unveiled on Sunday.

Among the highlights of the NCAA Tournament field included UC Irvine edging out Hawai’i for the final at-large bid and King traveling to Ohio State for the NCAA Tournament play-in match.

Check out Off the Block’s interview with Oman about the at-large bid selection and entire NCAA Tournament bid selection process.

Off the Block: What are your overall thoughts on the bracket and process the selection committee went through to determine the NCAA Tournament field?
 
Janine Oman: It was a late night with much conversation. The NCAA provides a significant amount of data to review which aids the discussion. Adding the fifth AQ brought new challenges in relation to bracketing that we hadn’t yet encountered since the expansion to six teams. This year the at-large selection process was a difficult one with very deserving teams to consider.

t new challenges in relation to bracketing that we hadn’t yet encountered since the expansion to 6 teams.  This year the at large selection process was a difficult one with very deserving teams to consider. 

OTB: Every year there are always a lot of great teams in contention for an at-large bid. UC Irvine earned one of the at-large bid. Can you take us through the committee’s process of selecting UC Irvine instead of Hawai’i or Loyola?
 
JO: We use RPI as a gauge for what teams we should consider. Once we determine those teams under consideration, we use many metrics to separate those under consideration. We look at teams in a very holistic manner. The season is a long one, and each team is evaluated on their complete body of work. Who you play (conference and non-conference), where you play(home/away/neutral), results in those matches, and record against top ranked teams were some of the differentiators that led to the committee’s decision.

OTB: How much was geography a factor in determining that Ohio State would play host to King in the NCAA Tournament play-in match?

JO: The committee has latitude with who we select for the at large selections, but opening round match-ups will be determined by geographic proximity.

OTB: Right now there may be some upset fans of teams who don’t get into NCAA Tournament. What’s one thing you’d like to tell them so they can better understand the process or metrics the committee uses to determine NCAA Tournament field?

JO: This is a hard job, but one that the committee takes very seriously. The metrics we use you have previously published.  Those metrics will always be what we use to determine selections. The criteria may have some variability each year based on the teams being considered and ways to differentiate the selection. 

OTB: One final question, was the travel costs for certain teams a factor in determining who received the at-large bids?

JO: The committee is free to select any team for an at large berth. Geographic proximity only plays a factor in determining the bracket once teams are selected.