INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -The NCAA promises not to bust a budget or a bracket when March Madness arrives.
NCCA tournament selection committee chairman Mike Slive said his group still will try to keep teams close to their home fans, as it has in the past, but not if it would result in unfair competition.
``We're concerned, as are all Americans, but I think our primary obligation is to provide the nation with a geographically and balanced national tournament,'' Slive said during Tuesday's conference call with reporters.
The recession has some schools scrambling to fill budget holes and seats.
Last month, The Associated Press reported that Stanford projects a $5 million shortfall over the next three years and is considering reducing its staff. At Indiana, athletic director Fred Glass has reduced ticket costs for balcony seating to $5, hoping to improve slipping attendance.
Other schools are concerned about rising travel costs for teams, alumni, bands and fans during the 65-team tournament.
the NCAA adopted a system designed to keep schools close to home as possible, by ending the practice of having an entire eight-team section of the bracket play in one place.
But last year George Mason and Winthrop went to Denver while Boise State wound up playing in Birmingham, Ala.
``The bracketing principles are designed to place teams as geographically close to their home city as possible, and we certainly understand the economic times,'' Slive said. ``But I don't think we're going to violate those principles.''
Selection committee members consider each team's individual resume, regardless of conference affiliation. They use computer-generated rankings, nonconference strength of schedule ratings, head-to-head results, injuries, how teams fared in their final 12 games, and even consider teams they've seen play.
They also can use a computer program to determine how many miles each school would travel.
It's a program the committee has used since 2002, and while it can sometimes help the committee decide whether to send a team to, say, Birmingham or Denver, Slive insists travel expenses will not play a more significant role in seeding and bracketing than they have in the past.
That leaves the committee back with its more customary debate about who's in and who's out.
from one conference.
There is no limit, meaning the Big East, Big Ten and Atlantic Coast conferences, which have a combined 16 teams in this week's Top 25, could have a huge presence in March.
``It's a good time to remind people that each team is chosen based on its own merit and being in a particular conference does not help or hurt your chances of making the tournament,'' he said. ``It's the committee's job to pick the best of the best.''

NCAAB Headlines

NCAAB Top Stories

Thumbnail Final Four Game Odds As Saturday’s Final Four games approach, here is a look at the odds for the two national semifinals.
Thumbnail TCU vs. Central Florida Prediction Which No. 4 seed will reach the NIT Tournament finals tonight when Central Florida faces TCU in the semifinals at...
Thumbnail Bakersfield vs. Georgia Tech Pick In an improbable NIT Tournament semifinal, eighth-seeded CSU Bakersfield will face off with No. 6 Georgia Tech tonight at 7PM ET. Which team will come away with a win...
Thumbnail Final Four Odds The NCAA Tournament is down to its Final Four. Here is an updated look at the odds to win this year’s national championship.
Thumbnail Kentucky vs. UNC Total Pick Will the South Regional Finalbetween North Carolinaand Kentuckybe another high-scoring game? Here’s our take on the total.

NCAAB Team Pages