When Northeastern Athletic Director Peter Roby was named to the NCAA Men’s Basketball Committee three years ago, he carried with him one dream: to be asked to leave the room. That dream came true on Sunday.
Roby was serving on the 10-member committee responsible for setting the field for this year’s tournament, which begins Tuesday night. By rule, committee members are not allowed to be in the room when their school is being discussed so as to avoid a conflict of interest.
Northeastern captured the Colonial Athletic Association tournament championship on March 9, securing an automatic bid to the Big Dance that will mark the university’s first trip to the tournament in 24 years. So Roby—very happily—was not present when the committee decided the Huskies’ seed, first opponent, and preliminary round site.
“I haven’t been banished yet,” Roby joked during a phone interview on Friday. “Just the idea of knowing your team is in the tournament is an incredible feeling. I’m still on cloud nine and I don’t think I’ll be coming down for quite some time.”
The committee ultimately gave the Huskies a No. 14 seed, and the team will travel to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to play No. 3 Notre Dame. Northeastern punched its ticket to this year’s Big Dance with a 72-61 victory over William & Mary in the CAA championship game.
Roby was named to the selection committee in 2012 and is serving a five-year term. Throughout the season he monitored seven conferences, including the Mountain West and American Athletic Conference, to collect as much information as possible to finalize the tournament field of 68 teams.
His role requires him to watch hundreds of college basketball games—hardly a dreadful task for a guy who has also coached at the Division I level. “Well it’s not like you have to twist my arm,” Roby said in an interview during his second year on the committee. “I’m like a kid in a candy store.”
Though finalizing the field this weekend marked the culmination of months of committee discussions and film-watching, Roby’s work is far from over. For the first time as a committee member, he will attend the First Four opening round—held in Dayton, Ohio—and then he’s off to Columbus, Ohio, for the second and third rounds.
Due to his committee responsibilities, Roby was unable to attend Sunday night’s NCAA Selection Show event in Cabot Center at Northeastern. But he did record a video message that was played for the crowd, in which he congratulated the team for its accomplishments and gave special recognition to seniors Scott Eatherton and Reggie Spencer.