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.

Wednesday, March 09, 2016

Geno: Why Not Two Ivies in the NCAA Women's Field

By Mel Greenberg @womhoopsguru

PRINCETON, N.J. – Twenty-four hours earlier prior to Penn’s narrow 62-60 win here Tuesday night for the Ivy title over Princeton,, three-time defending NCAA champion Connecticut coach Geno Auriemma, after locking up another American Conference championship at Mohegan Arena, was asked about the potential of two Ivy League teams on the bracket when the 64-team draw is announced this Monday night on ESPN at 7 p.m.

Even though Auriemma, a Naismith Hall of Famer,  is locked into guiding his group to a historic finish in 2016 that would result from four straight NCAA women’s titles and 11 overall, he is familiar with the work of friends in the profession in Princeton’s Courtney Banghart and Penn’s Mike McLaughlin.

“Are they doing that again?” he smiled about a second winner-take-all showdown between Ivy teams tied for first about to occur at Princeton’s Jadwin Gym  for the second time in three seasons after the Quakers won the title in 2014. 

Penn narrowly upset the Tigers by two points in early January this time around and then stayed one game ahead until mid-February of a Princeton group, which a year ago made Ivy men’s and women’s history going unbeaten overall into the second round of the NCAA tourney before falling to top seeded Maryland.

The two programs of McLaughlin and Banghart have been elevated to the point that if the identity of their conference membership was kept a secret and then an observer was given an eye test to guess their affiliation, the Ancient Eight would not be named in the first several tries.

The Tigers are the only Ivy team to get ranked in the Associated Press women’s poll, which occurred in separate seasons. The Quakers, long a doormat nationally and locally in the Big Five women’s wars of Philadelphia, have won multiple games in the City Series in back-to-back seasons, including a first-ever 3-1 finish in 2015 that brought a piece of the Big Five title.

This season the program, with 20-plus victories three straight times, have set a win record with 24 to date., 

However, unless one was academically smart and athletically gifted at a place called Stanford, the notion that two Ivy teams of similar nature could be in the field is scoffed at by outsiders who are focused their own parochial interests far away from the Ivies.

Not so, Auriemma, however.

“I think that’s a problem that shouldn’t exist, if you play in certain conferences, you’re not worthy,” Auriemma said. “A team is a good team, regardless of what conference they play in.

“If you do what you’re supposed to do during the regular season, take care of what you should take care of, and you schedule accordingly, you should be rewarded for that. And it should have no bearing on where you’re from,” Auriemma explained.

He has had a similar experience of his own following the breakup of the old Big East and UConn’s three-year unbeaten domination of The American.

“It’s not like you have 30 at-large teams that are that good you can’t put them in there. So I always root for those guys, you know that, and I’m hoping they get in.”

Incredibly, both teams have RPIs in the 30s, which used to be a rating virtually  signifying automatic selection to teams not owning the instant NCAA bid that occurs from winning a conference championship.

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen that before in the Ivies,” said McLaughlin prior to his Quakers’ triumph, though much closer than the win here in 2014.

“It’s good that the Ivy has that digital package and every game is archived because I just went back to watching their January game  the other day,” said Chris Dawson, the chair of the NCAA committee, without commenting on the relevance of two Ivy schools.

“You just want to make sure everybody on the committee is doing their homework on all of this and other matters.”

Obviously, slots for two Ivies would be historic for the conference and would help foster growth for the game, a phrase used many times be people some of whom when given the opportunity then decide but maybe not now.

Way back in time when expansion of the tournament to the current field of 64 was being considered, there was a difference of opinion between the WBCA coaches from the premium schools arguing that the increased total should all be of the at-large variety instead of awarding automatic bids to the conferences that did not own them.

“Well, it’s true that it might be a stronger field going all at-large on the increase, but if you don’t give those other folks something to play for, to expand the game at the grass roots level, how are you ever going to make our sport more popular,” countered UCLA’s Judie Holland, then the chair of the committee.

Holland’s vision was certainly justified Tuesday night where a large energetic crowd was in Jadwin that might have otherwise not occurred if the NCAA perk was not attached to the championship showdown.

And don’t say, they were there because of the men’s game that followed, though nothing was at stake with Yale having already wrapped up the trophy that goes to the other Ivy gender.

Comments along a packed press row during the women’s game could be heard marveling how the emphasis on the night was on the opener.

Meanwhile, it would not be surprised for numbers crunching to be occurring in the athletic offices of both Penn and Princeton today to figure out how to fend off poaching of McLaughlin and Banghart from schools with openings, especially in the Power 5.

Both are considered hot targets because of what they have built, though with Banghart  being a former Ivy star at Dartmouth and McLaughlin, who grew up in Philadelphia, owning a pair of keys to the fabled Palestra on Penn’s campus, it would take something really sensational in terms of offers to pry either.

For that matter, another coach out there with Ivy DNA who might draw attention is Maine’s Richard Barron, whose Bears will play Albany Friday night for the America East title.

He built Princeton from a two-win program to the Tigers’ first title, though they lost the NCAA bid in a three-way tie. Barron set the table for Banghart to take the school to the next level when he moved on to Kim Mulkey’s staff at Baylor.

He later was an assistant at North Carolina State, helping the Wolfpack return to NCAA relevancy, and now has performed a similar revitalization with the Maine program.

Penn has proven to be McLaughlin’s destiny following a long career in Northeast Philadelphia coaching Holy Family into a Division II power.

“In a way, this might have worked out for the best,” he said earlier this season after winning his 500th game overall. “I don’t know if we’d be doing all this if it had gone the other direction.”

That would be at La Salle when the search to fill the vacancy left by the departed legend Johnny Miller was under way in the middle of the last decade.

Insiders had McLaughlin’s dream of coaching a Big 5 school being realized a few hours away before La Salle officials decided to go with Miller’s assistant, the popular Tom Lochner, who now is an assistant at Delaware and had the thrill of coaching Elena Delle Donne during the Blue Hen’s recent time in the national limelight.

McLaughlin went back to winning a few more titles at Holy Family, saying next time might be the charm.

As it turned out charm it has been for both him and the Penn faithful.

-- Mel
 

4 Comments:

Blogger FanMin Zheng said...

marc jacobs sale
los angeles lakers jerseys
vans shoes
colts jerseys
lacoste pas cher
philadelphia eagles jersey
converse shoes
jacksonville jaguars jerseys
redskins jerseys
steelers jerseys
detroit lions jerseys
lions jerseys
miami heat
cleveland cavaliers
nike outlet store
hollister
mac cosmetics
chicago bulls
kansas city chiefs jerseys
nike soccer shoes
eagles jerseys
philadelphia eagles jerseys
broncos jerseys
seahawks jersey
supra shoes
jets jersey
new balance shoes
nike trainers uk
nike trainers
new york giants jerseys
nike outlet store
celine outlet online
atlanta falcons jerseys
new orleans saints jersey
polo pas cher
fanfan20160623

12:30 AM  
Blogger Zheng junxai5 said...

zhengjx20160714
tory burch flats
louis vuitton outlet stores
true religion outlet
replica rolex watches
cheap rolex watches
tory burch outlet online
nike free uk
lebron 12
oakley sunglasses
nfl jerseys
tory burch boots
michael kors outlet
cheap ray ban sunglasses
true religion outlet
giuseppe zanotti outlet
replica rolex watches
adidas uk
hollister clothing
jordan retro 4
louis vuitton outlet
ed hardy outlet
gucci outlet
air jordan shoes
true religion sale
cheap jordans
fitflop shoes
michael kors outlet
coach outlet clearance
louis vuitton handbags
michael kors outlet clearance
christian louboutin wedges
cheap toms shoes
coach outlet
toms outlet
adidas nmd
gucci outlet online
ray ban sunglasses outlet
nike air max 90
coach outlet store online clearances
coach factory outlet

11:03 PM  
Blogger Zheng junxai5 said...

zhengjx20160816
true religion outlet
oakley sunglasses
montblanc pen
jordan retro 13
concords 11
chicago bulls jerseys
fitflop shoes
louboutin femme
gucci outlet online
celine bags
burberry handbags
ugg outlet
cheap ray ban sunglasses
ugg italia
cheap ray ban sunglasses
lebron 13
michael kors outlet online
louis vuitton canada
cartier watches outlet
boston celtics jerseys
ray ban sunglasses uk
louis vuitton purses
cheap rolex watches
michael kors outlet
canada goose jackets
ugg boots
cheap uggs
toms outlet
uggs outlet
michael kors handbags
rolex watches
celine handbags
ray ban outlet
cheap jordans
coach factory outlet
michael kors outlet
moncler jackets
louis vuitton outlet
christian louboutin outlet
adidas yeezy

9:51 PM  
Blogger dong dong23 said...

louis vuitton handbags
ugg australia
ugg boots outlet
canada goose outlet
louis vuitton outlet
ugg boots clearance
ugg boots
cheap ray ban sunglasses
cheap jordans
ugg boots
2016.12.23chenlixiang

1:14 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home