Womhoops Guru

Mel Greenberg covered college and professional women’s basketball for the Philadelphia Inquirer, where he worked for 40 plus years. Greenberg pioneered national coverage of the game, including the original Top 25 women's college poll. His knowledge has earned him nicknames such as "The Guru" and "The Godfather," as well as induction into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame in 2007.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Playing the Bubble Game

Updated to reflect another 1-2-3 in poll item.

By Mel Greenberg

I'm not going to get into specifics at this hour because I haven't looked at the magnified view of all the teams trying to feel good about at-large bids to the NCAA tournament if they falter in their conference tournaments.

Well, a quick numbers count on what a conference should get in terms of representation makes it seem that the bubble may not be very big as of now.

Part of the reason is the vast numbers of one-and-done conferences I spoke of in an earlier post.

But a quick count of simply at-large slots without regard to the 31 conference winners projects about 35 or 36 teams with some claim who are fighting to squeeze into the 33 available slots.

If this is true, unless I missed a conference on the printout of standings, there is some hope for an Indiana State, Old Dominion, or Hartford if anyone of them fail to win what is projected as a one-team league.

On the other hand, a few things could factor against them such as Louisiana Tech not winning the WAC because that is a one-team league and the Techsters are going to get a bid no matter what.

Since I went the long list route to see how long, I allowed for six Big East at-larges and four more in play, although they can winnow themselves down in the next week or so. But if the bubble theory holds, most of the ones on my list would get in. There are some other places in which less teams than previous years might go such as in the Big Ten, Big 12, and Pac-10, which allows for the Big East glut.

But we'll be back unless someone wants to post here to verify if I counted right.

Dominating the Poll

A question came up earlier today when it was though that the ACC might have a 1-2-3 hit in the Associated Press poll if Maryland would move up.

And so it was asked, has that happened before.

Well, a glance at our fabulous poll history database that can produce many hidden facts, revealed that on January 9, 1989, the SEC trio of Auburn (1), Tennessee (2), and Mississippi (3) filled the top three slots.

The 1-2-3 trick was also achieved by the SEC on week 3 of last season on Nov. 22 with Tennessee, LSU, and Georgia ranked in that order.

The SEC crowd once had a better monoply earlier in the season when the powerful conference had four of the five top spots on Dec. 19, 1988. Tennessee was one, followed by Auburn at No. 3, Georgia at No. 4, and Mississippi at No. 5.

Chauffeur Service to the Famers

The news that Houston Comets coach Van Chancellor in the WNBA and Connecticut coach Geno Auriemma are nominees out of the women's sub-committee for consideration to the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass., brought to mind a moment involving yours truly with those two back in 1995 at Colorado Springs.

Auriemma, fresh off his first NCAA title, and Chancellor, already a legend at Mississippi, were floor coaches during the trials for the United States squad that was going to spend almost 12 months together preparing for the Atlanta Games.

After one particular session, the two heard me discussing Zebs, an outstanding place for ribs if the restaurant still exists.

One of them yelled over, "We're going with you. We want to ride in the back seat with you and feel important."

So there you have it and we'll be back later today.

-- Mel

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