Tuesday, March 13, 2012

What a Joke

As much as the NCAA likes to promote its Women's Basketball Tournament as a major event, it continues to operate the thing like a two-bit circus.  How else to explain the situation the Green Bay Lady Phoenix find themselves in?

Despite a top ten ranking in the polls and a 22nd place standing in the RPI, GB is a 7-seed in the tournament.  That is lower than last year's 5-seed--when the team had a worse RPI.  And to add further insult to injury, the Lady Phoenix will have to play 10-seed Iowa State in the first round....ON IOWA STATE'S HOME FLOOR!!

The NCAA did away with home court advantage in the Men's Tournament back in the 1980's--right around the time it went from the tournament to MARCH MADNESS! (TM).  Yes, teams can still play in their home states--like Duke playing in North Carolina almost EVERY YEAR--but at least its not a real home game, and the teams that get that advantage tend to be one of the top two seeds in a regional.

But in the Women's Tournament, the fear is that if games are played at neutral sites, nobody will show up to watch.  Better to have "rabid hometown fans" attend a couple of the games than to have a bunch of televised contests played in front of thousands of empty seats.  So "big conference" schools like Iowa State get home games in the tournament--no matter how low a seed they are.  Meanwhile, better "mid-major" schools like Green Bay can look forward to a bunch of "road games" against inferior teams.

Perhaps if the NCAA had a football playoff, they could afford to play their women's basketball tournament at truly neutral sites--and not worry about attendance.  And there is no rule that says you can't charge just a couple of bucks for tickets (or make the games free) to boost attendance as well.  Maybe real sports fans would take your tournament seriously then.

PS--I sure hope those "die-hard" Cyclone fans turn out for the second round to watch Green Bay take on Kentucky in that second round game next Monday.

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