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Steve Luhm and Lya Wodraska cover Utah State athletics for The Salt Lake Tribune. Lya Wodraska is on twitter at @LyaWodraska, Steve Luhm is on twitter at @sluhm

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Utah State AD Scott Barnes has a hectic March Madness on NCAA men's basketball committee

Logan • Think you can be the guy in charge of the NCAA Tournament seeding and the infamous "Bubble?" It's a heavy crown to wear.

A year from now, Scott Barnes will be the chairman of the NCAA men's basketball committee, which is most well-known for picking the field for the Big Dance. Even this year, the Utah State athletic director has plenty on his plate as vice chair, a role in which should prepare him to be one of the most scrutinized figures in college basketball.

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"There's a bullseye on my forehead," Barnes said. "Anytime you're chair, there's that visibility and scrutiny. It's an important job and we try not to take ourselves too seriously, but we take the job seriously. We work hard at it."

Barnes will be on the committee in Indianapolis this weekend, picking those teams that are in the tournament, then helping sort out where and who they'll play. After the Sunday selection shows, he'll head to Logan to handle university business before flying to Spokane for second- and third-round games.

Then back to Logan. Then to Indianapolis for the Sweet Sixteen and Elite Eight. Then straight to Dallas for the Final Four, arguably the most anticipated postseason event in college sports.

Whereas in previous years Barnes would be assigned conferences to cover and focus soley on those, this season those responsibilities have been scaled back slightly as he supports current chair Ron Wellman and learns his role for next year.

"My role in terms of the number of multi-bid leagues I would oversee is a little bit less, giving me more of a chance to look at little more at it nationally," he said.

Barnes isn't permitted to talk about how the seeding might shake out, but he's been keeping a keen eye on the potential field and remarked it should pose some "interesting challenges."

But joining the committee, Barnes said, has been "the most rewarding professional experience I've had." He's rubbed elbows with athletic directors from Oklahoma, Michigan State, LSU and other schools, drawing both new lessons to take to his job as Utah State athletic director and becoming close friends with his fellow committee members.

"It's a long time together and a lot of meetings: You learn things from each other, and hopefully you're growing together," he said. "It's an excellent opportunity to grow and hopefully bring some of that back to Utah State."

Kyle Goon

kgoon@sltrib.com

Twitter: @kylegoon



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