Wake Forest athletic director Ron Wellman, chairman of the NCAA basketball committee, conducted a teleconference Wednesday concerning the NCAA Tournament selections, which will be announced Sunday:
How does the committee consider the impact of injuries, especially those hurt in the past few weeks?
Wellman: “The committee is well‑aware of those injuries. We will follow those injuries. We will get updates on the injuries. We already received a report this morning about an injury. We will be well‑aware of the latest information and whether that individual is going to be available to his team during the tournament. It is a discussion point with the committee, the injury reports, how that might impact the team. Again, it is up to the individual committee member as to how much weight they want to put on that particular injury.”
Kansas’ Joel Embiid is the highest-profile injury. How do you follow that one particularly? What information do you keep an eye on there, and how does that affect where you put the Jayhawks next week?
Wellman: “Where that puts the Jayhawks next week, we haven't even started those discussions yet. I can assure that the committee members are well aware of that injury. We will be following it throughout the week. We will be in contact with Kansas to get various updates. So we will be in as good a position as we possibly can be to place Kansas in the right seed line and the right location in following that injury and the impact that injury could have upon Kansas. You need to remember, too, that we have seen Kansas play three times without him now. We'll have the opportunity to see Kansas play a number of times possibly this week in their conference tournament without him.”
Along the lines of injuries, I think it was three years ago when Syracuse had an injury. They told the committee that somebody was going to be able to play in the tournament that wasn't able to play. How can you be sure you're getting the right information from the schools regarding injuries?
Wellman: “We have to rely upon what the schools tell us. We don't have a CIA operation here where we can go in the backdoor and find out information that they are not giving us. So we do rely upon the school's truthfulness with us and we believe they do tell us the truth. Sometimes it doesn't pan out the way they predict. But they believe they do their best to give us the very best diagnosis. The diagnosis of an injury can change from day-to-day, as well. That could have very well been the case in the situation that you refer to. So we will be in close contact with Kansas and any other team that has an injured player through this week.”
When you judge Kansas with him versus without him, is it truly a matter of their record?
Wellman: “I can assure you in any situation whether it regards an injury or an overall evaluation of a team, the committee not only looks at the victory or the one-loss record, we look at how the team played, who they played, where they played that particular team. So it is a very deep evaluation of a team that goes way beyond whether they won or lost that particular game.”