Canfield native Paul Krebs was on the NCAA selection committee

New Mexico AD

Krebs on committee

By Greg Gulas

Canfield native Paul Krebs had a hand in picking the NCAA men’s basketball tournament field.

A 1974 Canfield High School graduate, Krebs is currently in his 10th year as vice-president and athletic director at the University of New Mexico.

This was his first appointment on what many believe is the NCAA’s most prestigious and influential group — the men’s basketball tournament selection commitee.

Krebs will oversee Midwest and South Region first-round games beginning Friday in Sacramento, Calif.

“In terms of service and the committees to which they have been appointed, ask any athletic director and they will tell you that there is not a better assignment,” Krebs said prior to his Sacramento flight. “It is absolutely fun, the basketball is exciting and between committee members and NCAA staff, it’s a great group with plenty of camaraderie.”

A late replacement to this year’s selection group, Krebs took over for former San Diego State University director of athletics Jim Sterk, who was hired last August by the University of Missouri as its new AD before ever having a chance to serve on the committee.

Spending the last five months engrossed in basketball, while still tending to his everyday duties as Lobos athletic director has been a fun challenge for the Valley native.

“We met in Phoenix last November as a committee and went over the logistics,” Krebs said. “With the basketball season set to begin, each committee member was assigned conferences to monitor and instructed to watch as much basketball as possible. I probably watched three or four games a night and being on the West Coast really helped. I was often able to catch a 5 p.m., 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. game.”

Krebs was assigned to monitor the West Coast Conference (which includes this year’s West Region top seed, Gonzaga), the WAC, Southland and Sun Belt.

His secondary assignment had him scrutinizing the PAC-12, Conference USA and Colonial Conference.

“I found myself watching a lot of basketball,” Krebs said. “ In addition to games, we watched highlights and even had access to a software package that coaches use, downloading other games to view as well,

“I’d estimate that I probably watched over 200 games.”

The committee reconvened the Tuesday prior to Selection Sunday, keeping a watchful eye on conference tournament games and the so-called bubble teams.

The committee members even participated in a “practice” for Selection Sunday that took place in February.

“We met in Indianapolis about a month ago and went through a mock exercise, which was very helpful,” Krebs said. “Last Tuesday, the committee arrived at the Marriott Marquis in Times Square, started in earnest on Wednesday and never left the hotel after that. We created eight brackets on Sunday, which were based on the outcomes of five or six games and it just happens so quickly, which is why you prepare different brackets.”

Two games on which the committee kept a watchful eye were the Big Ten championship game between Michigan and Wisconsin, and the American Athletic Conference title tilt between Cincinnati and SMU.

“The only thing that the outcomes changed from those two Sunday games were the seed lines, which again, is why you prepare multiple brackets,” he said.

Accommodating the media was also a part of the process.

“On two separate occasions, both CBS and ESPN came into our meeting room in order to shoot ‘B roll’ in advance of their selection shows,” Kreb said. “The stuff that we were working on at the time was put away and concealed.”

Krebs added that he doesn’t get back to Canfield as much as he would like since his mother moved to Columbus in order to be near his younger brother, Ken.

He admits that his time in the area during his formative years were a lot of fun.

“I used to get back home once or twice a year when my mother was still living in Canfield and have great memories of growing up next door to Dick and Dr. Ray Duffett, and Bob Dove and his family on Neff Drive,” he said. “Those were truly special times.

“I still follow YSU and President Tressel, know the great job Bo Pelini has done with the Penguin football program and also follow Ohio State as well. Twitter and Facebook has helped in that area.”

After this weekend’s first-round games in Sacramento, Krebs will head to San Jose for second-round action. Then it’s back to his office for two days before going to the Final Four, this year at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz.

“My travel schedule won’t be that bad since everything is out West,” Krebs said. “It hasn’t been too bad at all.”

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