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.

Monday, October 03, 2016

NCAA Hoops: Gateways to the 2016-17 Road(s) to Dallas (and Phoenix) Have Multiple Existences

By Mel Greenberg @womhoopsguru

Once upon a time October featured three specific event days: October 12 for Columbus, October 31 for Halloween, and per former NCAA legislation whatever date in the middle of the month on a Friday, at 12 a.m. at the end of that day allowed the first moments for preseason practice to get under way.

At a point in time, women's and men's teams began taking the floor the moment the clock struck 12 a.m. and in the immediate preceding hours fan events and other fun occurrences all fed to the development of Midnight Madness.

In fact, in the calendar of the two concurrent seasons Midnight Madness was the second highlighted event behind March Msdness, the period for conference playoffs feeing into the NCAA tournament itself.

Timeout: OK, in the interest of gender equity the men's dates were mentioned above but since this is a women's basketball blog, here is where we jettison references to the men's dates in the desert.

Time-in: But any more the start dates, instead of being that unified point to bring all the schools to a common point, like lining up horses behind the gate in harness racing, with recent change in NCAA procedures, some teams have already begun or are momentarily about to begin their prep and so many midnight dates are spread all over the early portion of the month.

It's an interesting time for those of us who spend summers on the WNBA beat because of the month suspension for the Olympics, the playoffs are finishing up while the first traces of the collegiate season is getting under way.

One other luxury we also have is in the road to Dallas and the Women's Final Four in the March-April crossover, a bunch of us have byes and wont have to worry about wins and losses to get us there -- just travel budgets of our own or organizations who still pay the freight for their reporters and electronic media talents.

But to tell the story at the finish, of course we have to be around at the start and stay with it along the way with words and pictures.

One thing pleasing to the Guru is unlike not too far in the distance past when minor panic would begin because teams hadn't gotten around yet to releasing schedules, his specific 10 local teams, along with national team dates affording potential appearances, are out there and so not only is his composite date grid on the spreadsheet done, he has even figured out how to create calendar synchronization with the one on his iPad.

Indeed, he needs only 33 tip times from the locals to have a finished 2.0 version -- means ready and the rest of the way are 2.1 2.2 reflecting adjustments until the Nov. 11 tip and ensuing changes primarily usually caused by weather-cancellation switch occurrences.

For those of you from the local schools who read the Guru, as of this past Friday, here are the number of tips sill needed and the Guru guess on the holdup:

1 Rutgers -- waiting on a road date so at the mercy of the host
1 Penn State -- that's a Big 10 wild card for later in the season so won't be ready until then.
1 Temple -- waiting on a road date
2 Penn -- waiting on two Ivy road dates probably held up because scrambling on the men's side adjusting their dates due to the new Ivy postseason four-team tourney at Penn's Palestra in March.
2 Princeton -- waiting on two Ivy home tips for problems likely similar to Penn
5 Drexel -- waiting on road games -- one nonconference and the others in the CAA along with an in-season trip to Florida International's (FIU) tourney.
2 Delaware -- waiting on two CAA road games
4 La Salle -- three home, one road all involved in Atlantic 10 dates
12 Saint Joseph's - five road, seven home all involved in Atlantic 10 dates
0 Villanova -- All in including a 7 p.m. Preseason tip on the road

3 George Washington -- three home dates plus one that's part of the St. Joe count