by Bill DiFilippo

We all knew that SLAM cover boy Joel Embiid’s back injury was being monitored by basketball fans across the nation. Now, his injury has piqued the interest of the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee.

Kansas coach Bill Self said that his star freshman center would miss the Big 12 Tournament and likely the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament with a stress fracture in his back. According to committee chair Ron Wellman, the committee will be in touch with Kansas to check on Embiid’s status for the Tournament.

Via ESPN:

“I can assure you it will be a detailed discussion as to when he is going to be available, and we will be monitoring and communicating with Kansas throughout the week as to what his availability will be going forward,” Wellman said.

There is precedent for this, with Arizona dealing with a back injury to Loren Woods in 2000 and Connecticut in 2004 with Emeka Okafor. The Wildcats’ seed wasn’t affected, though Woods didn’t play in the NCAA tournament that year. UConn’s seed was dropped a line, but Okafor played and the Huskies won the title.

“Do you reward teams for what they have done in the season, or do you project what they are going to do?” Wellman said.

Selection Sunday is this Sunday, March 16.