Roy Kramer, head of the NCAA basketball tournament selection committee, made a clarification yesterday that will please Wake Forest fans.
Kramer was quoted recently as saying teams that do not have .500 or better records in their conference would have a difficult time getting into the tournament.
Wake Forest (17-10) lost its last three ACC games to finish 7-9 in the league.
"What I really hoped I was saying and apparently did not say . . . was that should a team not have a winning record within a conference, there have to be some additional factors," Kramer said. "Those teams would have to have other chips to play."
For the Deacons, that's clearly their win over top-ranked Duke, one of two losses for the Blue Devils.
Nevertheless, Wake Forest appears to join North Carolina-Charlotte and Virginia as teams on the NCAA tournament "bubble," which Kramer says is a precarious place to be.
There are 64 openings in the tournament. Thirty are filled automatically by conference champions. From the teams that remain, the committee must select the best 34 for at-large berths.
Kramer said the first 20 of that 34 are easy to pick, but that selecting the last spots is tedious work.
"When you get down to 14 or so remaining, there's lots of discussion," Kramer said. "You're really looking at a group of teams that is double that number, or even triple."
Many criteria are used to break the cluster, such as head-to-head competition and records against teams already in the tournament.
The nine committee members will convene in Kansas City, Mo., tomorrow night to begin the selection process.
Computer data compiled by the NCAA helps the committee evaluate the necessary criteria, such as each team's strength of schedule, road record, record against the nation's 50 best teams, its late-season performance and the comparative strength of conferences.
Kramer said the process starts with each committee member reviewing the data and then providing a list of 34 teams for consideration. Because he is commissioner of the Southeastern Conference, Kramer's list may not include SEC teams. Committee members who are athletic directors may not nominate their teams, but may list teams in their conferences.
Once all the lists are compiled, Kramer said the committee will double-check to make sure no team was omitted.
Then the narrowing begins.
After the final selections are made, the seedings begin and then the pairings fall in place.