Once the NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament starts tomorrow, March Madness will be in full swing.
Of course, if you ask the "average lunkhead male" about that, they would probably tell you that in fact March Madness was in full swing as of yesterday when the Men's tournament started.
But not so if you believe Martin Johnson who writes for The Root.com.
If you accept Johnson's claim that the women's tournament is easily the third best college sporting event behind the men's tournament (definitely best in all of sports) and college football (despite the ridiculous BCS system), then March Madness isn't truly in full swing until we get the men and women going.
So if we start with that premise, then why shorten the field as Johnson suggests?
While the games are worthwhile to the devotees of the sport, they don’t recruit casual fans by commandeering their attention to drama....the women’s tournament would do itself a favor by slashing the field to 40 teams. The top two seeded teams in each of the four regionals would get a bye into the round of 16, and the other 32 teams would play on Saturday through Tuesday for the right to join them at the regional round. A smaller championship tournament would heighten the drama of the regular season and the conference tournaments. The bye weeks would make top seeds even that much more valuable, and the first round would feature more quality matchups. In other words, there would be much more drama that is accessible to the average sports fan in the preliminaries of the tournament, and it would ramp up an even larger audience for the big events down the road.
I don't read this as slamming the women's tournament as much as an argument for how to increase the game's popularity among the average lunkhead males out there: showcase the best and the fans will pay attention.
Do I agree? Not sure... I see the argument. I was also talking with a friend the other day about the idea of changing the men's tournament with a little round robin system instead of the current brackets because it's entirely too long... don't know if I like that really either.
Bottom line is this: March Madness is the most exciting sporting times of the year and the women get no pub... would Johnson's suggestion change that?
Haven't posted in a while, but something that's caught my eye is the state of black coaches in women's collegiate basketball. Of particular interest to me is ex-WNBA'er Tia Jackson who coached the University of Washington Huskies team to a last place finish in the Pac-10. The question of whether she'll be ousted keeps coming up...and whether she deserves to be, I think it brings up an issue worth discussing -- why are there so few black female coaches in NCAA women's basketball?
My picks for the tournament this year: On the men's side I have to pick with a caveat -- if Ty Lawson's foot doesn't prevent him from playing, I go with UNC. If not, Louisville. On the women's side...Maya Moore...'nuff said.