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beknighted



Joined: 11 Nov 2004
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Location: Lost in D.C.


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PostPosted: 04/01/18 7:06 am    ::: News from Columbus Reply Reply with quote

Columbus (AF) – After two consecutive losses in national semifinal games – unprecedented in school history – the University of Connecticut women’s basketball team is looking for answers. Changes are on the way, and they could be significant. According to team sources, head coach Geno Auriemma is considering modifying his training and practice regime, changes to the Huskies’ schedule, and even a staff shakeup.

But even as UConn began to consider how to reverse two years of disappointment, the NCAA and ESPN were acting to prevent a recurrence in the future.

“Today we are announcing a new format for next’s years Division I Women’s Basketball Championship tournament,” said Rhonda Bennett, the chair of the NCAA’s Division I Women’s Basketball Committee, at a press conference late Saturday night. “This new format, developed in cooperation with our great partners at ESPN, will help to sustain excitement as we work our way to the national championship.”

In the new format, 65 teams will be chosen for the tournament, 32 conference champions and 33 at large teams. The Women’s Basketball Committee will choose and seed the tournament as it does today, except that it will choose a national overall number one seed and four additional number one seeds – the teams ranked from second to fifth by the committee. All teams other than the overall number one seed will play a standard tournament, culminating in the Final Four, but instead of crowning a champion, the Final Four will select a team to challenge the overall number one seed in the national championship game.

“We were concerned last year when the team that obviously was best throughout the rest of the season did not end up playing in the national championship game,” Bennett said, “so we started to work with ESPN and develop a plan that could address that issue. After what happened Friday, we reconvened as a committee and voted to put it in effect for next year.”

Asked whether the committee had considered the impact of a weeks-long break between games on the overall number one seed, committee member Jeff Konya of Oakland University explained that the new format addresses that issue. “The overall number one seed will play a series of games during the tournament to keep sharp. We’ll draw the teams for those games from the pool of tournament losers, and we’ll play them at the top seed’s campus, or somewhere convenient like Bridgeport or Albany.” If the top seed loses any of those games, Konya said “it won’t affect the tournament – the team will still advance to the national championship game.”

Bennett noted that the committee will retain flexibility in determining the overall top seed. “Our real goal here is to make sure that the fans will get a matchup they want to see in the national final, one that reflects the best of women’s college basketball. So occasionally the top seed might not be the actual number one seed in the committee’s estimation, and instead could be a team that comes close but that will generate the most enthusiasm. We’re looking forward to working with our friends at ESPN to make sure we get that kind of matchup in the championship game.”

Norby Williams, ESPN Executive Vice President for Programming, explained ESPN’s interest in the new format. “First, and most important, it assures a great matchup in the national championship game, which is good for everyone. We can really build excitement as we come closer to finding out who will challenge UConn – I mean, the number one seed – for the championship.”

“Second, this is a great source of new programming for us. We’ll get to pick the matchups for the number one seed’s in-tournament games, which we hope will include some rivalries old and new. Imagine how great it would be to see Notre Dame play UConn in March as UConn tunes up for the national championship game. Uh, that’s, you know, just an example. Then we get one more tournament game for all the marbles on top of it. That extra game should be great for ratings.”

Bennett noted that some details still had to be worked out, notably the schedule for the Final Four weekend. “Our original thought was to start on Thursday, have the championship play-in game and the last number one seed exhibition on Friday, and the championship on Sunday, but that might not work for ESPN. We might end up having games on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday instead. I’m sure whoever wins the right to play in the national championship game will be so energized that playing three games in a row won’t be a problem at all.”

Meanwhile, the University of Connecticut continues to seek answers to its failures of the last two years. “Maybe we should do something simple, like changing the mascot outfit,” said a source close to the program. “I mean, Jonathan looks like some kind of cheap Halloween costume. Do you think anybody is intimidated by him?”


Queenie



Joined: 18 Nov 2004
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PostPosted: 04/01/18 7:11 am    ::: Reply Reply with quote

Goddamn it, bek, don't give them ideas.



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Carol Anne



Joined: 09 Apr 2005
Posts: 1539
Location: Seattle


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PostPosted: 04/01/18 7:47 am    ::: Reply Reply with quote

GENIUS!
May I add:
Doris Burke will do both play-by-play and color analysis, while sitting on the overall number one's bench.
"There's such a good view of Geno....Oops, the coach."


Phil



Joined: 22 Oct 2011
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PostPosted: 04/01/18 8:50 am    ::: Reply Reply with quote

Excellent!


GlennMacGrady



Joined: 03 Jan 2005
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Location: Heisenberg


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PostPosted: 04/01/18 9:02 am    ::: Reply Reply with quote

Is Norby Williams a man or woman -- I forget. Anyway, I believe what he or she is suggesting is that ESPN will only televise the national overall number one seed's games and not all the others.
FrozenLVFan



Joined: 08 Jul 2014
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PostPosted: 04/01/18 10:02 am    ::: Reply Reply with quote

I believe I also heard that the national championship game will be held annually in Boston, to guarantee that it will accommodate the fans of at least one team in the game.


Phil



Joined: 22 Oct 2011
Posts: 975



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PostPosted: 04/01/18 1:42 pm    ::: Reply Reply with quote

FrozenLVFan wrote:
I believe I also heard that the national championship game will be held annually in Boston, to guarantee that it will accommodate the fans of at least one team in the game.


Yes, specifically requested by BC fans. But the surprise will be on them, as Tufts is planning to switch to DI and take over as top dog.


beknighted



Joined: 11 Nov 2004
Posts: 11040
Location: Lost in D.C.


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PostPosted: 04/01/18 9:15 pm    ::: Reply Reply with quote

Queenie wrote:
Goddamn it, bek, don't give them ideas.


Was it five years ago that Val Ackerman proposed something that looked a lot like one of my April 1 posts?


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