Men’s, women’s rankings mirror
Check out the AP men’s basketball poll. Top five: 1. UConn; 2. Oklahoma; 3. North Carolina; 4. Duke; 5. Louisville.
OK. Now check out the AP women’s basketball poll. Top five: 1. UConn; 2. Oklahoma; 3. California; 4. Duke; 5. Louisville.
You never see polls mirror like that, except when it’s two polls from the same sport. The AP and coaches polls in football, for instance. Or men’s basketball. Or women’s basketball.
This is a different sport. Different teams, different coaches, completely independent of each other.
And four of the top five slots are exactly the same for men and women. What in the names of Geno Auriemma and Jim Calhoun is going on?
At the very least, I think we can state that good basketball on one side of the gender begets good basketball on the other. Facilities, fans, tradition, whatever.
Every story is different. UConn men have been a power for about 20 years, the women a little less, and both programs have taken advantage of being adored by a tiny but populous state.
Oklahoma has a long history of solid men’s basketball and a checkered past in women’s hoops, but Sherri Coale has ignited success and interest.
Duke’s women have built upon the great tradition of the Duke men. And Louisville’s women are new to the national stage.
In all cases, men’s basketball was the forerunner. But clearly, the success of the men has instigated success in the women. The days of the solitary women’s power are fading — Louisiana Tech, Wayland Baptist, Old Dominion, Immaculata. Those once were the power names in women’s hoops. No more.
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