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.

Friday, March 16, 2007

March Madness - The Road to The Road Not All Glamour

By Mel Greenberg

PHILADELPHIA _ Two years ago this weekend we began the Guru's blog offering a little of everything.

Welcome aboard to the trip to ---.

It seems only 24 hours ago that "Plan A" was in place for the front part of the tournament.

As locally obligated as we are every year at the outset, the fine folks designing the NCAA bracket awarded the Guru, courtesy of the Temple draw, another trip to the triangle, but this time away from Durham in Raleigh's domain with the Owls seeded eighth and set to play No. 9 Nebraska.

Oh yeah, Duke is the other name of note in this draw. We've already been down that way several times this year for the Blue Devils's matchup with Maryland in Durham, and the 1-2 showdown in Chapel Hill with North Carolina.

Each trip offered the fine dining of the Angus Barn steakhouse near the airport, so there was much to look forward to along with Temple coach Dawn Staley returning her haunts where she used to terrorize Atlantic Coast Conference opponents as the star of Virginia in the early 1990s.

But, as teams along the seaboard learned Friday, the movers and shakers may be right. Get the timing of this tournament moved back a week or so further into April and we might avoid the weather disaster that struck several of us.

We already heard from Rutgers being sent back to campus when flights out of Newark, N.J., were cancelled, thus delaying the Scarlet Knights' trip to East Lansing, Mich., by a day to open play against East Carolina at Michigan State.

Temple was set to fly on Southwest on an early afternoon flight from here. Your Guru had a 5:30 p.m. departure scheduled on the same airline.

We learned on the way to the office at mid-afternoon where we were going to make a quick stop that Temple's flight was cancelled and the Owls were planning to bus to Raleigh.

Soon thereafter, the Guru's flight was cancelled.

Not to worry.

Southwest re-booked us on an 8:50 p.m. flight.

Twenty minutes later as we attempted electronic check-in, we learned that flight was cancelled.

Having been caught in the office, a friendly editor asked if we could file a quick Rutgers story to fill a news hole in the Jersey section caused by high school cancellations.

That will show at philly.com as will two other stories -- a short on temple's travel troubles and our opening round philosophical piece.

We then returned to pursue a variety of options to get out of Dodge, aka Philly, until only one frightening alternative remained.

The Guru is about to do an all-night drive to Raleigh.

The press conferences most necessary to us are not until late Saturday afternoon.

As soon as we sign off here, we are heading for the company garage to program the GPS and pick a selection of music from our 59.8 gig-size collection on the Ipod.

If you want to stay in touch, you can email the Guru at mgreenberg@phillynews.com and leave either a message or a number for conversation and we'll report back. Whatever it takes to stay awake.

Feel free to guess the arrival time.

Through the wonderful laptop technology of aircards, hotspots, and wireless, we'll report our progress along the way.

We'll be back at some point tonight. The Guru has targeted 5 a.m. for arrival time.

-- Mel


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