"How many of you guys are a little bit tired?"
That was the question asked by my friend and colleague Steve Scheer, a producer at CBS, during the annual "mock selection" exercise conducted by the NCAA last week. It was last Thursday at about 7:30 p.m. I was one of about two dozen members of the media who had been working on our bracket since 2 p.m. We worked for another two hours on Thursday night, met back in the conference room at 9:00 Friday morning and were done with our bracket by 2 p.m. The whole thing took 24 hours, and we had plenty of breaks.
Scheer has a unique perspective on this process because every year, it is his job to be embedded with the men's basketball committee as they put together the official bracket. Scheer is not allowed inside the conference room when the committee is deliberating and balloting, but he hangs around the floor of their hotel to collect footage for our CBS shows and coordinate the live remotes. For many years, Scheer has seen these men and women arrive in the conference room as early as 6:30 in the morning to get a head start on the day's work. He has shot video of them as they sat up well past midnight watching games and studying the numbers. More than anyone who has not served on this committee or worked at the NCAA, Scheer knows how tedious and exhausting this process is. He knows how hard these folks work.