In what could only be interpreted as positive news for the Colorado men's basketball team, NCAA Tournament selection committee chairman Ron Wellman said Wednesday that a significant injury generally impacts seeding more than selection.
In other words, the loss of a key player on a good team is more likely to be a factor into that team's placement within the 68-team bracket rather than, in itself, becoming the determining factor as to whether the team is worthy of a tournament bid.
Colorado (18-6, 7-4 Pac-12) stands 4-3 in full games without Spencer Dinwiddie. The standout junior point guard suffered a season-ending knee injury late in the first half of a Jan. 12 loss at Washington.
"My experience during my first four years on the committee is that injuries affect seedings rather than the selection, to a greater degree anyway," said Wellman, the director of athletics at Wake Forest.
"We have to be very careful about the amount of emphasis that we put on an injury," he added. "We don't know, for example, what factors are impacting the level of play of the opponents. We just have to be very careful about what the impact of an injury is on any team (during the selection process)."
Speaking on a teleconference with media, Wellman did not refer to specific teams. But he acknowledged that the committee already has begun analyzing how certain teams have fared since losing a significant player.
Colorado takes a three-game winning streak into tonight's game at UCLA (18-5, 7-3). The Buffaloes look impressive in the RPI power ranking (24th) and in strength of schedule (26th). But CU faces a challenging final stretch to its regular season, playing five of its last seven games on the road.
It would behoove the Buffs to continue to show the selection committee that they look and play like an NCAA Tournament team despite the absence of their floor leader and top scorer.
After all, the selection of the 36 at-large teams will come down to a vote of the 10-member selection committee.
"(A significant injury) is considered to varying degrees by the individual members of the committee," Wellman said. "Some members probably consider it very strongly. Other members less so."
Colorado is 1-3 in Pac-12 road games this season, with the win coming Jan. 8 in overtime at Washington State — Dinwiddie's last full game.