Gene Smith, tourney chair, on Kentucky and Florida

(AP photo)

From teleconference transcript with Selection Committee chairman Gene Smith, released by NCAA tonight:

Q. What kind of emphasis did you put on the fact that Kentucky won the SEC tournament or lack of emphasis? You had talked about Florida, how they had strung a string of victories together. Kentucky strung an impressive résumé together at the end of the year and still ended up as the No. 4 seed.

GENE SMITH: You know, a lot of people put a lot of emphasis on the 1 seed, 2 seed. At the end of the day, the top five lines are benefited in a great way. You benefit because you’re protected from being in an environment where you are at a home crowd disadvantage when you get into the bracketing process. You’re protected as best as you can geographically, when we can put you in a geographic location that’s closer or in proximity, if we can do that, but that’s not always the case. Kentucky is a very good ballclub. But when it came to the votes, they slid a little bit.

Also keep in mind, when I mention Florida, it was to a particular question. You look at Kentucky’s full résumé compared to everyone else, we feel real comfortable with their seed.

Q. What do you mean that Kentucky slid a little bit? Are you saying the fact that they won the SEC tournament wasn’t a factor or it hurt them?

GENE SMITH: Keep in mind there’s 10 people in the room and everyone in the room has different a emphasis on different criteria. So when we go to vote, everyone selects the criteria they think is important to them and they ultimately vote.

That didn’t happen with just Kentucky, it happened with everyone else in the field. So when they came up on the board, everybody voted based upon their individual criteria. We study every single team, look at a lot of different factors. They ended up in the spot that they did, and we think it’s a good spot.

And later:

Q. I know some people on the network shows were questioning Florida being a No. 2 seed. Could you talk about that decision.

GENE SMITH: Again, Florida is an outstanding basketball team, well coached. They played a very good overall schedule, had some quality wins. So when you stack them up against the teams in the top quadrant, we call it, they rose to the top. We felt like they deserved to be a No. 4 seed. They had strong strength of schedule, overall four, non conference strength of schedule of a seven. We felt they deserved to be at the top of the seed list. The No. 2 seed is a very strong seed.

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  1. Kevin Faris says:

    Looking at, UF’s NCSOS was 110, UK’s was 46. Their non-con quality wins were K-State and Xavier. UK’s were over Notre Dame, Louisville, and Washington. UF had non-con losses against Jacksonville and Central Florida. UK had non-con losses against UNC and UConn.

    Gene Smith either does not want to explain/discuss or does not understand how each team was selected or seeded. I feel bad for OSU that this guy runs their Athletic Department.

  2. Disappointed says:

    He totally answered those questions by not answering those questions. Ten committee members with different criteria voting? Really? They’re not voting on prom queen.

  3. Skip says:

    “The top five seeds are benefited in a great way” – Having to go through Ohio State in the sweet 16 is beneficial?

    “everyone selects the criteria they think is important to them and they ultimately vote” – Conspiracy theorists will love this line. No mention is made of WHAT criteria is used. One such criteria could be “do you like this coach? Are you afraid of this teams mascot?” It sounds subjective and was a poor choice of words.

  4. Skip says:

    “They played a very good overall schedule, had some quality wins. So when you stack them up against the teams in the top quadrant, we call it, they rose to the top” – “good” overall schedule means it wasn’t great, and I would assume that a number 2 seed would warrant a great schedule combined with a strong performance during said schedule. Also, he neglects to mention the losses that Florida suffered. Having not fully examined their schedule, I believe most, if not all, of Florida’s “quality wins” occurred in conference play. One would assume that one such quality win would be the one over Kentucky at home. If this were the case we could reason that Kentucky defeating Florida in Rupp and on a neutral court would qualify as more “quality” wins.

    He also fails to mention the “bad” performances in Florida’s schedule against teams such as Jacksonville St in Gainesville. A number two seed should not have any home losses, at least none against clearly inferior opponents. If the NCAA has shown us anything this year it is that they clearly have no defined guidelines for either disciplinary actions nor selection of tournament teams. Unfortunately, the fans and teams are completely powerless against this inept and seemingly corrupt organization.

  5. jhn says:

    Those are non-answers. Its what someone in a deposition gives to a question they can’t answer. This man knows Kentucky got screwed. I would venture to guess his “vote” was to put Kentucky higher. The question is- who are the other 9 people on this committee and why are they on the committee? They obviously have no idea what they are doing.

  6. Baxter says:

    And to think he is in charge of an Athletic Department of a major University. I hope a lot of parents were watching and taking note of which school not to send the young, future leaders of our country to.

  7. David C says:

    This guy should run for office as he would make a great politician.He talked for a long time and said absolutely nothing of value in answering the questions asked of him.What a disorganized orgainzation!

  8. teresahill says:

    Well, he does sound like an idiot.

    But unless somebody paid him off, he wouldn’t be doing his own school any favors by putting Kentucky as a 4-seed in Ohio State’s way.

    And — don’t know if this is still true, but — from what I’ve read previously about how the selection committee works, if they’re talking about the seeding of your school, you have to leave the room. I wonder if you have to leave, too, when they’re placing teams in your region if you’re a No. 1 seed.

    Or maybe he is stupid and the committee hates him and screwed him and Ohio State by giving it Kentucky. Actually, having read his remarks, I think that might be the most obvious answer.

  9. Mark Liptak says:

    Another “sterling” example of the leadership, accountability and honesty of the NCAA. LOL.

    And schools allow themselves to be led by these blithering idiots?

    Mark Liptak

  10. john57 says:

    It seems pretty obvious that some of the pairings were made well before Sunday and they didn’t want to have to change them. There is no other rational explanation why Florida ended up a 2 and we ended up a 4. Every one thought we would get a 3 seed. Once again, we got the shaft, N.C. plays in Charlotte, and Duke appears to have the easiest road….

  11. hays stamper says:

    Again, the NCAA committee screws UK. This is getting olf. how do you give Fla. a 2 seed. I hope they lose the first game…..The Comittee needs to be ousted!

  12. bigbluelife says:

    Folks- Jim Tressel is his football coach- how else would you have expected him to answer

  13. danny says:

    It seems that each year the whole selection process is more of a joke than the year before. It’s starting to make the BCS look good.

  14. david says:

    I usually don’t criticize the Selection Committee’s seedings, but giving Florida a #2 and Kentucky a #4 makes NO sense whatsoever. There’s no way they can logically defend Florida being a 2 seed…2 seeds above Kentucky.

  15. david ball says:

    money money money…it isn’t about fairness, it isn’t about the kids anymore…it’s about TV ratings..Kentucky playing Ohio State (and if UK wins, possibly UNC) is huge ratings…there was a time when UK and Duke were always put in the same bracket to try and tie in the 92 game…the NCAA knew it would be a ratings boon to have that game again (as it did in 98)…$$$$$ rules…fairness and equity are just catchphrases used in promotional TV clips…strength of schedule??? Florida lost to Ohio State earlier in the season…and Jax, UCF and SOUTH CAROLINA…too bad UK lost all of those close games on the road to quality opponents (UNC, Alabama, Vanderbilt, Florida–and beat 3 of those 4 teams later in the year)…harumph…life isn’t fair, and neither is the NCAA

  16. B. Mack says:

    Wow, fantastic non-answers. My four-year-old daughter knows more about the teams in the tournament than this guy. As a lawyer, I wish I could teach all of my clients to provide these sorts of vague, shallow, unresponsive non-answers. This isn’t life or death, so I can’t get too outraged, but come on, this is your job fellas! You can do better than this! There is simply no way to justify seeding UF two slots higher than UK.

  17. Robert says:

    Jay Bilas pegged the committee best: This bracket fails the “Laugh Test.”

    What a joke all around. The fact that this moron, who can only repeat talking points from his staff’s memo, is AD at OSU only proves some Asst. AD is REALLY in charge in Columbus.

    I wouldn’t let Smith be AD at my kids pre-school after hearing his idiocy in several interviews.

  18. Tim says:

    If we somehow won it all this year, in spite of the Kanter debacle, in spite of the fact that this bracket seems to have been put together by LSD abusers, Kentucky and Cal could present to the NCAA the greatest “how does my ass taste?” moment of all time. It could happen. We’re peaking at the right time.

  19. Dan Jenkins says:

    Talk about your non answers. Just like our recent politicians, they have put themselves above everyone else. It has got to be about money or dowqnright stupidity.
    RPI UK-7 UF-8; Sagarin-uk 12 UF 18; VS top 25 – UK 4-3, UF 2-3. UK’s strength of schedule higher than Fla; Pomeroy: UK 7 UF 19. Bad non conference losses: UK none Florida @ Home Jacksonville. And loss against Central Florida. Head to head UK 2 of 3 winning the neutral court and tourney game convensingly. Overall im SEC games UK was 13-6, Florida 14-5. But UK beat Florida in their last two encounters.

  20. kygolfnut says:

    The whole NCAA selection routine has gone haywire, it’s no longer about the best teams from each conference playing, now it is about how much money can the NCAA make by stacking the seedings and placing those teams which always has a large travel contigent versus those that dont. The NCAA knowing the UK fans will travel wherever isnt worried about the right place, but where can they send them to make the most money. As for the teams that made the field, once it again the little conferences get the shaft. Too many of the teams from the power conferences leave the smaller ones out again. All the conference try to play whomever they can during the year but stupid selections like this will mean more of the power conference will not schedule the smaller ones…why? Better not if you want to better your chances to make the field. To continue to increase the size of the overall field is a prime example of how money is now driving the sport, and yet they slam the kids for trying to make a few bucks…ha. I would hope that at some time some one will step in and do a total investigation on how the NCAA works today. Maybe a good start is to have a power conference championship and one for the rest of the Division 1 teams…there I go dreaming about fairness again