Peter Roby fol­lowed hun­dreds of men’s col­lege bas­ket­ball games this season—in person, on TV, and even on DVD. Sure, the North­eastern ath­letics director is a huge bas­ket­ball fan—and expert. But this under­taking served a higher pur­pose, helping create this year’s NCAA Tour­na­ment bracket, which mil­lions of fans world­wide fill out annu­ally in antic­i­pa­tion of March Madness.

Roby served as one of the 10 mem­bers of the NCAA Divi­sion 1 men’s col­lege bas­ket­ball selec­tion com­mittee, which is respon­sible for selecting and seeding the tournament’s 68-​​team field. The com­mittee on Sunday released its offi­cial bracket; the teams included either earned auto­matic bids for win­ning their con­fer­ence tour­na­ments or were at-​​large selec­tions by the committee.

North­eastern Ath­letics Director Peter Roby

It’s been an eye-​​opening expe­ri­ence, and it’s very hum­bling when you know how impor­tant it is for these teams, the student-​​athletes, and the coaching staffs,” said Roby, who in Sep­tember was appointed to a five-​​year tenure on the com­mittee. “As a com­mittee, we really took it seri­ously to do the best job we could to get the right teams in the field and acknowl­edge all their hard work.”

The tour­na­ment begins Tuesday night with a pair of games in Dayton, Ohio, and con­cludes with the Final Four weekend in Atlanta in early April.

Roby spent the days leading up to Selec­tion Sunday sequestered in a con­fer­ence room in Indi­anapolis with his fellow com­mittee mem­bers, who for hours pored over team sched­ules and sta­tis­tics and debated each program’s tour­na­ment resumé.  While com­mittee mem­bers were assigned spe­cific con­fer­ences to mon­itor throughout the season, their roles required them to be knowl­edge­able about the rest of the pack.

That meant watching lots of basketball—a task Roby embraced.

All of a sudden now, you’ve got an excuse to watch five games a night, and no one gets mad at you,” he joked.

Roby said many fac­tors are at play when deciding why one team should be seeded higher than another, but one thing he put a pre­mium on was how teams per­formed on the road. “That’s a real badge of honor because it’s not easy and it speaks to the quality of your pro­gram,” he said.

The North­eastern men’s team nar­rowly missed out on a bid to the NCAA Tour­na­ment after losing in Colo­nial Ath­letic Asso­ci­a­tion tour­na­ment to James Madison. How­ever, since the Huskies won their con­fer­ence regular-​​season title, the team received an auto­matic bid to the National Invi­ta­tional Tournament.

The eighth-​​seeded Huskies will face No. 1-​​seed Alabama (21–12) on Tuesday night at 9 p.m. on ESPN2.

It’s a great accom­plish­ment, and we’re proud to say our team is playing in the NIT because it’s got such a long his­tory and proud tra­di­tion,” Roby said.

After the season, the Huskies will lose their two senior co-​​captains to graduation—guards Jonathan Lee and Joel Smith—but Roby noted that the team has a strong group of young players that can learn from playing mean­ingful games in the postseason.

It’s all part of the journey and the process for us,” he said.