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, August 19, 2016

Guru Musings: Bridgeport Without UConn in an NCAA Regional?

By Mel Greenberg @womhoopsguru

At last week's NCAA women's basketball tournament mock bracket exercise at the organization's headquarters in Indianapolis the subject of team placement versus nearest geography was discussed but initially centering on teams in another part of the country.

Then some examples were given where much to Huskies fans' lament situations could arise where three-time defending NCAA champion Connecticut could land somewhere other than neaby Bridgeport where each time the city hosted, UConn was part of the four-team group in either opening rounds or regional play.

For the most part it happened because in all but one situation Hall of Fame coach Geno Auriemma's charges lived up to their nickname and were one of the top, if not very top, overall dogs in the seeding/placement process and got the dibbs for nearest site to campus.

But figuring who the traditional power programs have been, recent slumps not withstanding, since Connecticut won't be considered to be the might of the last four Breanna Stewart years, from the Guru's calculation, here is where problems could arise.

If by chance let's say the Huskies got a top seed but not the very top seed, then if somehow on the same line as UConn either Maryland, Penn State, or Rutgers were ahead of the Huskies, they would get Bridgeport and UConn would have to go elsewhere.

As of now UConn could be part of the Bridgeport regional because the Huskies likely would be better than most of the rest of the country and thus the better seed on most of the ensuing problems.

Even if they were not, there's a good chance the other teams' near geography could be at one of the other regionals, thus UConn could back into Bridgeport.

Depending how things play out, the Huskies could get a procedural bump up or down a line to land a slot leading to Webster Bank Arena as long as it is not such a bump to cause damage to the integrity of the bracket.

So, as long as teams fairing better than UConn among the top 16 do not conflct geographically, -- there could be a situation where Duke or UNC, if they did the unexpected for 2017, could also be a threat to Huskies fans' travel budgets.

Other than that, the only other very longshot problems would occur if certain teams out of the Big East (the seaboard ones), Temple in the AAC, or schools in the CAA, NEC, Ivy (think Penn or Princeton), America East or MAAC suddenly became contenders for high Top 16 slots.

But tuck all this away for a while, the WNBA is soon to resume play and the focus on the playoff hunt will take front and center.


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