Both the NCAA women's and men's basketball tournaments will be concluded over the next several days...the men play Saturday and Monday while the women play Sunday and Tuesday.
While top-level basketball will be played in both, only the men's tournament captures the attention of the nation. There are several reasons...but one sticks out....the unpredictability of the men's.
The four teams in the men's tournament are Florida, a #1 seed, Wisconsin a #2, UConn a #7 seed and Kentucky a #8 seed.
In the women's tournament, its two number ones, UConn and Notre Dame, #2 seed Stanford and #4 seed Maryland.
In the men's tournament, while Florida is the favorite, it is possible for any of the four teams to win in a one game showdown...in fact, Wisconsin and UConn are the only teams to beat the Gators this season. And Kentucky was a pre-season number one team with a freshman class that many said was the best-ever.
In the women's tournament, both Notre Dame and UConn are undefeated...the last time that happened in the men's game was 1991...UNLV..and they were upset in the semi-final. The last time a men's team won the title with a perfect record was Indiana in 1976.
UConn is the hands-down favorite in the women's game...44 straight wins, 38 this season and they have won games by a larger average margin than any women's team in history. They have not played a close game this year. It is their 7th straight trip to the Final Four...for Notre Dame its four in a row...for Stanford 5 out of the last 6 seasons.
On the men's side, all four teams in this year's Final Four are new...Kentucky won the title two years ago but missed the tournament last year...UConn was ineligible last year but won the title in a true upset three years ago, Wisconsin has never won a title and was last in the Final Four in 2000 and Florida hasn't been there since winning back-to-back titles in the mid-2000's.
The point is the women's game is predictable because the talent level isn't deep. There is a huge gap between the top four or five teams and the rest...and sometimes between the top team and the rest.
In the men's game you see upsets throughout the tournament, something you don't see in the women's game...rare is the 14 seed upsetting a 3 seed...and virtually never does a seed of four or lower get to the Final Four.
Until the talent in the women's game becomes more widespread...and UConn doesn't gobble up all the top players, the women's game will play a weak second fiddle to the men's game.
Posted at 7:37am on April 2, 2014 by Big Don Voltz
Very true. Although the only time a 16 seed defeated a No. 1 was in the women's tournament (Harvard over Stanford, 1998). It's a shame, too, because the women's game can be very entertaining. It's usually heavier on precision passing and shooting fundamentals. But you can go chalk on your bracket and get 95% right.
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