Kallander addressed the Texas situation as well as a number of others on a conference call following the announcement of the bracket. Unlike what some of his predecessors have experienced in the past, Kallander's session with reporters was relatively free of conflict.
Perhaps the most pressing question was the inclusion of Michigan State in the field and the exclusion of Wake Forest. Michigan State had a 37-21 record and an RPI of 45 while playing in the relatively weak Big Ten, while Wake Forest went 33-24, had a No. 38 RPI and a strength of schedule ranking of 16th while playing in the Atlantic Coast, ranked first among conferences in the RPI.
The Demon Deacons' downfall? They finished 13-17 in the ACC regular season.
“Wake Forest is a team I was looking at all year long,'' said Kallander, commissioner of the Big South Conference. “They had a good season, but in looking at their conference regular-season record, we just couldn't get over 13-17.”
Michigan State might have finished fifth in the Big Ten, but Kallander said the Spartans were ranked second by the regional advisory committee that provides input to the Division I committee
“They were behind Purdue in their region,'' Kallander said. “We took that plus the fact that they had a very good nonconference strength of schedule and had some success into strong consideration.''
The committee also left out Utah Valley State, which led Division I with 47 wins. Utah Valley State plays in the Great West, which does not get an automatic berth in the field.
“To win 47 games and go undefeated against a conference schedule, regardless of how weak it is, is certainly impressive,'' Kallander said. “It came down to nonconference competition and nonconference schedule strength, and we just didn't feel we could put them in.”
Kallander said the selection of Florida as the tournament's overall No. 1 seed was hardly a slam dunk, but the Gators' overall body of work, which included a 21-10 record against ranked teams, earned them the spot.
Four schools received strong consideration for the No. 8 national seed, which ultimately was awarded to South Carolina, the two-time defending national champion.
The national seeds are assured of playing at home through regional and super regional competition.
The committee did provide a potential intriguing matchup for the Gamecocks as it placed intrastate rival Clemson in the Columbia regional. The two bitter rivals have not faced each other in regional play since the tournament was expanded in 1999.
“We understand the atmosphere there in that area,'' Kallander said. “It came down to geography. One of our primary guidelines as we put this together is to be fiscally responsible. That weighed heavier than other factors.''