NCAA women’s tournament: Not exactly March Madness
The NCAA Tournament is 58 games in. Only five games left. America is on the edge of its seat. Ready to stand up and do something else.
The NCAA women’s tournament has been awful. If not for Britney Griner’s dunks and Pat Summitt’s possible farewell, the women’s side of March would be void of virtually anything interesting. Including games.
Women’s basketball has a serious parity problem. There isn’t much of it. The problem once was that a couple of schools — Connecticut, Tennessee — ruled the sport. Now there’s a little more sharing of the title — at Texas A&M won the 2011 championship, and Baylor figures to in 2012, after UConn and Tennessee won the previous four and 12 of the previous 16.
But the parity doesn’t go below five or six teams. Which means the games are awful. Terribly one-sided. Women’s basketball has a quality control issue.
Out of 58 NCAA Tournament games, 40 have been decided by double-digit margins. That’s actually not a terrible figure. But there have been 65 men’s NCAA Tournament games played, and only 31 have been decided by double digits. And this men’s tournament is notable for its lack of suspense.
But worse than just the lack of close games is the lack of competitive games on the women’s side. Embarrassing games, like Connecticut’s 72-26 rout of Kansas State in the second round. This wasn’t a one-seed vs. a 16-seed. This wasn’t big bad UConn against a little directional school. This was a foe from a power conference that already had won a game. Worse yet, in the regional semifinals, Notre Dame beat St. Bonaventure 79-35.
There have been 10 games played once we reached the Sweet 16. Of those 10, only one game has been decided by single digits — Maryland’s 81-74 victory over A&M. Think about that. In the marquee games of the season, it’s been one-sided game after one-sided game.
We have five games left: regional finals Tuesday night matching Notre Dame-Maryland and Connecticut-Kentucky, then the Final Four. I’m not optimistic.
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