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, October 16, 2012

Guru Special Report: NCAA Takes All Bets Off For Trenton Regional

By Mel Greenberg

PHILADELPHIA -- Trenton, the state capital of New Jersey, has always had a slogan that is also mounted along the US1 highway bridge that crosses the Delaware River from Pennsylvania: "Trenton Makes, The World Takes," boosting its ability to produce various amounts of goods and services.

As of Monday night, a new theme is possible: Trenton Makes. The NCAA Takes Away.

With the state goverment about to legalize sports betting, which the NCAA, NFL, and virtually all other sports entities strongly oppose, the NCAA announced it was pulling five championship events scheduled in 2012-13 in New Jersey.

One of the them is the Women's Basketball Tournament Regional, which Trenton hosted once before in 2009, along with some early round events in previous years.

"I didn't know that. It's really stunning," said Mika Ryan, who again is heading the local organizing committee for the regional.

Ryan, who is heavily involved in sports activities in Mercer County, is a sister-in-law of former Virginia coach Debbie Ryan, who is in the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame.

Just last week at the Jimmy V Dinner in New York, your Guru had talked about how things are going to the folks from Rider, who are co-hosting along with the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC).

They said planning was moving along for the event scheduled March 31 and April 1 leading to the Women's Final Four in New Orleans.

The action by the state government is being contested in Federal Court by the major sports organizations.

Licensing for sports betting is scheduled to begin Jan. 9, the state said.

Delaware allows sports betting on NFL games.

The University of Delaware, which features senior Elena Delle Donne, is hosting one of the 16 first and second round events of the women's tournament.

In a statement in the NCAA release announcing the withdrawal of the championships, Mark Lewis, executive vice president of championships and alliances, said, "Maintaining the integrity of sports and protecting student-athlete well-being are the bedrock of the NCAA's mission, and are reflected in our policies prohibiting the hosting of our championships in states that provide for single game sports wagering."

The NCAA said it would seek to find replacement host sites.

Temple athletic director Bill Bradshaw said Monday night, the school might consider hosting the regional, whch it has done twice previously in 2005 and 2010.

The Owls are also hosting a portion of the front end of the men's tournament several weeks earlier than the women's regional.

Atlantic City, which has hosted the Atlantic 10 men's basketball tournament, and Rutgers, one of the traditional powers in women's basketball, are obviously out of the picture because of their location in New Jersey.

An NCAA source told the Guru Monday that the organization would give Philadelphia consideration if interest is shown, given how well the past regionals were run at Temple.

Given less lead time, some of the standards required might be alleviated, the Guru believes.

If the season plays out at the top of the competition the way predictions are appearing in preseason magazines, Connecticut would likely return here where the Huskies advanced in 2010 to finish with a second straight unbeaten title.

If the standards and procedures for producing the 64-team bracket are unchanged, Connecticut would be slotted East, unless on the same line of No. 1 seeds, Maryland or Rutgers or Penn State or Delaware were ahead of the Huskies.

Then near-geography would come into play.

Maryland is expected to contend for a No. 1 seed and will play Connecticut early in the season in Hartford as part of the women's end of the Jimmy V games.

The others could land in Philadelphia as a lower seed advancing through the bracket.

Temple, under the rules if the Owls become a host, would not be allowed to be in the regional its hosting on campus, which occurred in 2010.

But if coach Tonya Cardoza's squad, which will be talented, but young, returns to the NCAA after a year's absence, there are places Temple could play that are not expensive for its fans to reach, such as Maryland's Comcast Center.

Defending champion Baylor as a top seed would likely land in the Oklahoma City Regional, given the Bears' proximity.

The other two regionals are Spokane, Wash.; and Norfolk, Va.

It is too soon to tell whether the new Barclays Center in Brooklyn would have interest.

The Atlantic 10 men's tournament is being played there but the conference's women's title game will be played at the facility the same night as the men's semifinals.

That's it for now. The Guru is camped out to post this along I-95 on the way to the Colonial Athletic Association's men's and women's media days, providing coverage for the paper as well as the blog, at the usual sports bar in Pentagon City across the Patomac River from Washington.

-- Mel

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


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