Greg Shaheen, the organizer of the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship for 12 years until 2012, will join ESPN for this weekend’s coverage of Championship Week and Selection Sunday.
Shaheen will provide insight from his experiences of being “in the room” with past selection committees for ESPN’s Bracketology, SportsCenter, halftime studio segments, ESPN Radio and ESPN.com. Shaheen spoke with Front Row about what he will offer, who he is most looking forward to working with and more.
How will your experience enhance ESPN’s coverage?
I view this as an opportunity to bring perspective on what hasn’t been widely understood about selection weekend. There is a lot more to the process than most people know and the experience in the room is unlike anything I suspect I’ll experience for the rest of my life.
Understanding where the committee likely is in the process, the impact of games just completed, in-progress and on-deck (oops, wrong sport) should allow the on-air discussion to take on a different fee — that’s the perspective I hope to contribute toward this weekend.
How much college basketball have you watched this season? Any particular moments or performances stand out?
I’ve attended more games than ever before around the country, which has been enjoyable. And I’ve watched a steady diet of games throughout the season.
The number of teams that have demonstrated the ability to win tough games this season speaks to the continuing spread of talent around the country. It will be compelling to watch the conference tournaments this weekend for “final arguments” by a number of teams. The committee’s work is going to be tough — it always is — but this weekend will require a lot of discussion before we see the bracket Sunday evening.
What ESPN show or anchor/analyst are you most looking forward to working with?
I’m bringing a 256-team bracket to work on with Digger Phelps.
Every year, there were coaches and ESPN analysts voicing disagreements with the teams that got in or didn’t and the seeding. Now you will be in the position to voice a critique — what will that be like for you personally?
I’ll let you know next week. I expect that I’ll be explaining and thinking through rationale and process from the perspective of the room more than critiquing, but we’ll see.
What ESPN analyst will you look to model your on-air style after?
It would take years to evolve any kind of style, I suspect. But obviously, one name — Howie Schwab.