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, November 08, 2017

The Guru WBB Report: Your Guide to November Local and National Competition as the Season Begins

By Mel Greenberg @womhoopsguru

PHILADELPHIA — Friday night is coming up fast which means the 2017-18 NCAA women’s basketball season is about to get under way, though some of the Guru’s locals won’t be hitting the won-loss record books for a couple of days.

In the next day or so we’ll talk about local and national teams but to enable you to start marking your calendars immediately since the Guru’s operational grid is done and updated several nights ago, here is a look at what’s coming up in terms of home games, key road games and key national games.

If you can’t get to Columbus, Ohio, where the Women’s Final Four will be held in Nationwide Arena, some of the heavy hitters coming through this winter include Duke visiting Villanova; Notre Dame visiting Penn; South Carolina, South Florida, and Connecticut visiting Temple; among others.

Initially, we’ve mention all the local home games in the first two weeks and openings on the road, along with attractive national games. 

Some arena awareness alterations: Because of the Pavilion renovation, Villanova home games will throwback to olden days next door at Jake Nevin Fieldhouse. Having attended an exhibition game there last week, there is a certain charm to the facility and the atmosphere should be fun.

Two Temple home games, the South Carolina visit Dec. 21, and a game later in the year when Cincinnati visits for the annual matinee school day game, will be in the Liacouras Center while everyone else will be in McGonigle Hall. All others remain the same.

So here we go for an in-depth schedule for the rest of the month.

Friday, Nov. 10

Home: Delaware State at Temple, 7. — Owls start young and without Alliya Butts, who suffered a knee injury in the preseason.

      George Washington at Princeton, 6:30 p.m. Nice matchup between a visiting Atlantic 10 power against a traditional Ivy power.

     Bucknell at Rider, 5:30 p.m. The Broncs are younger with less depth following their historic season hosting a Patriot League heavyweight who will see other locals early.

Road: La Salle at Lafayette where the host Leopards are under new head coach Kia Damon; Delaware at Buffalo with the debut on the road of new Blue Hens head coach Natasha Adair previously in charge at Georgetown; Villanova at Hartford; Rutgers at James Madison; Siena at Penn State.

Nationally: Stanford at Ohio State — Two Top Ten powers clash from the jump on a big weekend in Columbus.

Saturday, Nov. 11

Road: Lehigh opens at Minnesota as the Bears visit Big 10 country with a roster experienced off last year’s youth movement.

Sunday, Nov. 12

Road: Saint Joseph’s at Niagara with the Hawks expected to pick up from their powerful run through the Atlantic 10 following a struggling non-conference start.; Drexel at Penn State as the visiting and youthful Dragons will struggle early in the season, though the Lady Lions are still trying to get back to better days; Rider at Navy as the Broncs visit another Patriot League power.

Nationally: DH: Connecticut vs. Stanford; Louisville at Ohio State with both games in Nationwide Arena to set the flavor of the Women’s Final Four in March.

Monday: Nov. 13

Home: Rutgers at Temple, 7 p.m. A key matchup as the visiting Knights phase in all those players on the bench due to transferring, including Kathleen Fitzpatrick, a former Saint Joseph’s player.

Road: Delaware at Hartford; La Salle at American U.

Nationally: South Carolina at Maryland. This is also the night the WNBA lottery order will be announced during the telecast as the defending NCAA champs, a bit younger under Dawn Staley, get a big test early, though the host Terrapins are also younger.

Wednesday, Nov. 15

Road: Penn at Binghamton as the two-time defending Ivy champs open at an America East squad that upset them last year early in the season; Saint Joseph’s at Bucknell as the Hawks go against a Patriot power; Penn State at Marshall.

Thursday, Nov. 16

Home: La Salle at Drexel, 7, features City Six game in Dragons home opener and Explorers’ first in the area after being on the road.

Wagner at Temple, 7, as the Owls getting the comforts of home early in the schedule.

American U. At Delaware, 7, as Natasha Adair makes her home debut coaching the Blue Hens.

Road: Princeton at Seton Hall is the first of the three round-robin in Jersey including Rutgers. Tigers and host Pirates trying to build off last year’s early struggles. Rutgers at Charlotte.

Friday, Nov. 17

Area Road: Villanova vs. Lehigh, 5, in doubleheader with men’s teams of both schools at the PPL Center in Allentown.

Nationally: California at Connecticut as the Pac-12 Bears play fodder for UConn’s home opener on campus which is televised on ESPN3.

Saturday, Nov. 18

Home: Bucknell at Drexel, 2, as the Patriot power visits the Dragons. The visitors have a familiar face on staff with longtime Delaware assistant Janine Radice.

Lafayette at Penn, 5 p.m., as the Quakers make their home opener a few blocks away. Another Delaware ex-staffer in the neighborhood is assistant Tom Lochner, also a former La Salle coach.

Holy Cross at Rider, 2, as another Patriot opponent visits the Broncs.

Nationally: Baylor at UCLA in a major Top 10 clash, whose tip time at this moment is waiting on football to declare theirs hosting cross-town rival Southern Cal — the only tip time missing in the Guru’s entire grid.

Sunday, Nov. 19

Home: Duke at Villanova, 1, The first of the super powers to visit town, the Blue Devils out of the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Boston U. at Delaware, 2, as an America East team visits the Blue Hens.

Wake Forest at Rutgers, 6:30, a cross between an ACC team and the Knights’ making their home opener.

Georgia Tech at Princeton, 1, as the Yellow Jackets offer another early non-conference test to the Tigers.

Road: Temple at Iona as the Owls visit a traditional MAAC power; Saint Joseph’s at James Madison as the Hawks visit the CAA power Dukes.

Nationally: Maryland at UConn with the young Terps visiting the even more powerful Huskies; Notre Dame at Oregon State with the Irish dealing with injuries visiting a newly established Pac-12 power.

Monday, Nov. 20

Home: Central Connecticut at Penn State, 6.

Road: Lehigh at Cornell.

Nationally: N.C. State at Old Dominion.

Tuesday, Nov. 21

Road: Rider at Lafayette, 7. Good test for both squads.

Nationally: Connecticut at UCLA in an early major national showdown. Chance for host Bruins to make a statement.

Wednesday, Nov. 22

Home: Temple at La Salle, 1 p.m. Your first Big 5 game of the year in a pre-Thanksgiving matinee special. It’s still the Tom Gola Arena but the entire complex now has a naming rights marquee attached.

Thursday, Nov. 23 (Thanksgiving)

Road: It’s Thanksgiving but Penn is off to the Bahamas playing Georgia Tech, then possibly Baylor Friday or it will be Missouri State. Drexel is also in the tropics in St. Thomas playing Virginia Tech as coach Denise Dillon plays against her old JMU/CAA rival Kenny Brooks.

Nationally: Vanderbilt at George Washington. The hurricane damage forced the Paradise Jam to move so it’s 1 p.m. if you want to see the Stephanie White-coached Commodores visit the Colonials, who on Friday will host Wisconsin bringing former Colonials coach Jonathan Tsipis back to the Smith Center, facing the squad headed by his successor Jen Rizzotti.

Friday, Nov. 24

Road: No one’s home but as mentioned Penn could be playing Baylor while Villanova opens in the Vermont tourney against James Madison while American meets the host Catamounts, coached by former Penn/Saint Joseph’s/La Salle assistant Chris Day; Drexel meets defending Big 12 champion West Virginia in St. Thomas; Rutgers meets South Carolina in the Gulf Showcase in Estero, Fla., which also had Notre Dame and USF in the eight-team field. Penn State meets Louisiana Tech in Las Vegas.

Saturday, Nov. 25

Home: Saint Joseph’s former Christmas tourney is now at Thanksgiving and the Hawks host Eastern Illinois at 2 p.m. before Saint Peter’s plays Delaware at 4, in openers. When this was put together it seemed nice because former Hawks star Debbie Black was still coaching EIU and Tina Martin was still at Delaware. Saint Peter’s, however, is still coached by Pat Coyle, a former Hawks assistant who also coached the WNBA New York Liberty, Loyola, Md., then with current Hawks coach and former star Cindy Griffin on staff. 

Mississippi at Temple, 2 p.m. The Owls host the Matt Insell-coached Rebels of the SEC.

Road: La Salle meets New Hampshire opening Lehigh’s tourney while the Bears host Fairfield; Drexel plays Butler of the Big East finishing up in St. Thomas; Villanova finishes up in Vermont; Rutgers will see either St. John’s or Western Michigan in Florida; Princeton travels to Davidson for a singleton; Rider is in Seton Hall’s tourney opening with the host Pirates at noon before East Carolina meets East Carolina meets Jacksonville State. Penn State meets Kansas State in Las Vegas.

Nationally: Syracuse is at George Washington; Oregon State is at Duke and Syracuse is at George Washington.

Sunday, Nov. 26

Home: Saint Joseph’s finishes its tourney meeting Delaware or Saint Peter’s.

Road: La Salle sees Fairfield or host Lehigh; Rutgers or South Carolina, depending who won their opening game, could possibly see Notre Dame in Florida; Rider will finish at Seton Hall.

Wednesday, Nov. 29

Home: Some day these conflicts won’t happen but take your Big 5 choice, Penn at La Salle, Saint Joseph’s at Temple, both games at 7.

Villanova at Princeton, 5:30. Good local match reuniting a Big East and Ivy power who met in the WNIT last season with the Wildcats winning at Jadwin.

Road: Delaware at St. Bonaventure.

Nationally: Middle Tennessee at Mississippi brining C-USA power and coach Ric Insell, a 2017 Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame inductee against his son Matt; Notre Dame at Michigan in a traditional non-conference rivalry between the Irish and Wolverines of the Big Ten.

Thursday, Nov. 30

Home: North Carolina State at Rutgers, 6, as part of the Big Ten/ACC challenge.

Wake Forest at Penn State, 7, same promotion as the Rutgers game.

Nationally: Kentucky at Baylor; Ohio State at Duke, a throwback with Louisiana Tech at Texas; and Kansas State at Missouri.

That’s it for November. We’ll talk about December in another week.