NORMAN — Oklahoma athletic director Joe Castiglione hasn’t made an appearance at the Big 12 tournament in two years. Might not seem like a big deal, but it ended a 29-year run of spending the second week in March watching either Oklahoma or Missouri, where he worked before coming to OU, face the league’s best teams.
Castiglione traded that for one of the most coveted posts in college athletics — NCAA Tournament committee member.
While the Sooners suffered through a heart-breaking 73-66 loss to Iowa State Thursday in Kansas City, Mo., he joined nine other committee members in their second day of the five-day process in Indianapolis that sets the most scrutinized bracket in sports.
“It’s a true honor and a privilege in our profession to be selected to serve on this committee,” Castiglione said. “It’s really just an amazing experience.”
It will end today when the bracket is announced at 5 p.m. In truth, however, the work started long before the committee members converged in Indianapolis.
Think you’ve watched a lot of college basketball this season? Castiglione probably topped the average fanatic by a dozen games. He’s watched them in person, on television and on-line studiously since November.
The eye tests serves as one indication. That exam is followed by the constant pouring over stats and reports from conferences on each and every team. There’s also the weekly conference calls with other committee members. There are no secrets when it comes to picking the field. Every team has a résumé and they’re constantly getting better or worse.
No matter what, you can’t help but see the game in a different light.
“I would say that I watch games differently. You have to critically analyze certain games and watch them differently than I would have prior to the committee experience,” Castiglione said. “You’re looking of the kinds of things that are going to be important for the evaluation and giving each deserving team the proper consideration.”