Possible danger for OKC
The NCAA women’s basketball committee seeded OU fourth and OSU third, and it’s the Cowgirls who got shafted. In women’s hoops, it’s not where you’re seeded that’s nearly as important as who might play and where.
OSU Kurt Budke said it best Saturday night when he told me he would rather be a six-seed, with a chance to make it to the Ford Center regional, than be a three-seed and go elsewhere. Like to New Orleans and face LSU.
That’s the Cowgirls’ reward if they beat East Tennessee State and probably Ohio State in the Des Moines, Iowa, sub regional. A game against a school with four straight Final Four trips, getting to play 70 miles from home.
Meanwhile, a team that seems in free fall, the Sooners, get a chance to play in the Ford Center, albeit against Tennessee, which seemed a dubious task for OU even when it was playing well. Which the Sooners now aren’t.
All of which means the NCAA might have shafted OKC as much as OSU. OU against Notre Dame, the likely second-round matchup in West Lafayette, Ind., is a tossup, the way the Sooners have been playing. Don’t believe it? In the RPI, the mystical rankings that at least provide a decent gauge of a team’s stoutness, OU is 13th. Notre Dame is 14th.
The Irish have a coach, Muffet McGraw, who has won a national championship. They come from a league, the Big East, that has Connecticut and Rutgers, so they’ve been around big bullies. And the Irish will be playing 151 miles from home, within their state.
So it’s no given that OU will make it to Oklahoma City. No given at all. Most everyone was hoping that both the Sooners and Cowgirls were placed in the OKC Regional, but the truth is, OSU provides the better chance of making the Sweet 16.
The OKC Regional will not be a dud even if the Sooners lose in West Lafayette. Advance ticket sales are strong, and there are enough women’s basketball fans to get fired up about Tennessee, although truthfully Texas A&M and Duke don’t excite anyone. You want a 2-seed that will sell tickets, how about Rutgers? You want a 3-seed that gets people talking, how about Kim Mulkey’s Baylor Bears?
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