clearn.png
Friday March 5th, 2021 8:24PM

Lack of marquee games to make NCAA tourney selection harder

By The Associated Press

Geno Auriemma is used to having marquee nonconference matchups to test his UConn Huskies during the regular season.

That hasn't happened this season, as the Huskies haven't played a ranked team outside the Big East Conference because of the coronavirus pandemic. UConn had games scheduled early on against No. 2 Louisville and then-No. 6 Mississippi State, but those were wiped out when the Huskies were on pause because of COVID-19 issues.

A game against Baylor was called off earlier this month when Lady Bears coach Kim Mulkey tested positive for the coronavirus. UConn has two more chances to play nonconference ranked teams, with Tennessee and South Carolina on the schedule.

The Huskies aren't alone having games wiped out: 10 of the current members of the AP women's college basketball poll haven't played a nonconference ranked opponent yet this season, including the five Pac-12 teams in the Top 25.

Five more have played only one ranked opponent that isn't in their conference. The only nonconference matchup between top 10 teams this season was an early-season contest between then-No. 1 South Carolina and eight-ranked North Carolina State. The Wolfpack pulled off the upset. Conversely on the men's side, a majority of the current Top 25 have played at least one ranked nonconference opponent.

The lack of marquee nonconference matchups could cause the NCAA women’s basketball selection committee some agita when trying to figure out who deserves to be in the NCAA Tournament and where teams should be seeded.

“It’s not going to be apples to apples this year,” selection committee chairwoman Nina King said in a phone interview. “It’s certainly a challenge. ... The thing about selecting teams is it isn’t one piece of criteria we look at. It’s a lot of different things. One isn’t more weighed than another. We’ll have lively discussions.”

Longtime ESPN and CBS analyst Deb Antonelli was sad that so many women's basketball games have been canceled or postponed.

“It's disappointing we can't showcase the game at the highest level because our game has prospered and grown in so many ways,” she said. “The so-called eye test is really going to put additional pressure on the committee because whether you like the numbers or metrics, having the whole tournament in San Antonio removes geography, now they can't hide behind the geography.”

King acknowledged it may be harder to select 64 teams this year with less data from nonconference matchups, but she has faith the committee will get it done.

“We will have a true S-curve this year, but I really haven't thought that far ahead yet,” she said. "I'm focused as my committee colleagues are on watching teams and seeing how we will do selections this year.

Auriemma joked that with the cancellations of several marquee nonconference matchups nationwide, the committee might have to have to consider teams’ reputations even more than usual when making a bracket.

“You know the movie ‘Casablanca’ ... where they go, ‘Round up the usual suspects?’” Auriemma said. “I think that’s what’s gonna happen. When it all breaks down, just round up the usual suspects.”

Given all the games that have been postponed or canceled so far, there is some fear that teams may not reach the 13-game minimum. UConn has played only seven games and its next two were postponed.

Teams can't start submitting waivers until Feb. 26 to the NCAA petitioning to be allowed to play in the tournament if they don't meet the minimum standard. After the deadline, waivers would only be considered if a conference tournament was canceled and that would have been a team's 13th game. Teams also can only count one of their tournament games toward the 13.

“It's unprecedented and there's no handbook for this one either. We’ll work through,” King said. “COVID is COVID and we don’t want to penalize a team for the uncontrollable.”

___

More AP women’s basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/womens-college-basketball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Sports, AP Online Basketball, College Sports, AP Sports - Women's College Basketball
© Copyright 2021 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Brady vs. Brees: A matchup for the ages and aged
The NFL has never seen a playoff matchup quite like the upcoming one between Tom Brady’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Drew Brees’ New Orleans Saints
3:11AM ( 31 minutes ago )
Friends as playoff foes: Packers' LaFleur faces Rams' McVay
Green Bay Packers coach Matt LaFleur and Los Angeles Rams coach Sean McVay say their friendship and shared history shouldn’t have much of an impact on their teams’ upcoming NFC divisional playoff matchup
3:06AM ( 35 minutes ago )
Trump on verge of 2nd impeachment after Capitol siege
President Donald Trump is on the verge of being impeached for a second time
3:06AM ( 36 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Pacers stymie Curry, bounce back to beat Warriors 104-95
Myles Turner hit a go-ahead 3-pointer with 2:59 to play and scored 22 points, Aaron Holiday converted a layup on the next possession and the Indiana Pacers stymied Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors 104-95
1:54AM ( 1 hour ago )
Harden says 'crazy' Rockets situation can't be fixed
James Harden has publicly acknowledged his discord with the Houston Rockets for the first time following back-to-back blowout losses to the Los Angeles Lakers
12:08AM ( 3 hours ago )
Harden on Rockets: "It's something that can't be fixed."
James Harden has publicly acknowledged his discord with the Houston Rockets for the first time following back-to-back blowout losses to the Los Angeles Lakers
12:01AM ( 3 hours ago )
AP Sports
NBA, union stiffen virus protocols, another game postponed
With four games called off this week already and more teams dealing with virus-related issues, the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association have enacted additional Tuesday in the hope of keeping the season going safely
6:12PM ( 9 hours ago )
The Latest: Nebraska-Maryland basketball game postponed
The Nebraska men’s basketball game at Maryland scheduled for Saturday has been postponed because of a COVID-19 outbreak in the Cornhuskers’ program
4:04PM ( 11 hours ago )
The Latest: 2 UConn women's basketball games postponed
Hours after announcing the postponement of Saturday’s game against Villanova, No. 4 UConn says it also must reschedule Wednesday’s women’s basketball game against Seton Hall
3:53PM ( 11 hours ago )
AP Online Basketball
Perfect Alabama finishes No. 1 in AP Top 25 for 12th time
Alabama has finished No. 1 in the AP Top 25 for the 12th time after finishing with the program's first perfect season since 2009
12:38PM ( 15 hours ago )
Alabama's Nick Saban already working on chasing title No. 8
Nick Saban wasn’t ready to contemplate his legacy moments after his record seventh national champion “because you’re always looking forward.”
11:25AM ( 16 hours ago )
Thousands party in streets after Alabama win despite virus
Thousands of excited football fans ignored pandemic precautions and partied in streets around the University of Alabama after the Crimson Tide defeated Ohio State for the national championship
10:04AM ( 17 hours ago )
College Sports
The Latest: European club rugby competitions suspended
European rugby officials have suspended their club competitions the Champions Cup and Challenge Cup after French clubs were ordered by their government not to play
1:56PM ( 1 day ago )
The Latest: UAE-Ireland ODI on Tuesday postponed
The second one-day cricket international on Tuesday between the United Arab Emirates and Ireland has been postponed and the series is at risk of being canceled
1:42PM ( 1 day ago )
The Latest: Browns coach Kevin Stefanski expected back soon
Browns coach Kevin Stefanski expects to be back with his team this week after missing Sunday night’s playoff win over Pittsburgh with COVID-19
1:39PM ( 1 day ago )
AP Sports - Women's College Basketball
Brady vs. Brees: A matchup for the ages and aged
The NFL has never seen a playoff matchup quite like the upcoming one between Tom Brady’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Drew Brees’ New Orleans Saints
3:11AM ( 31 minutes ago )
Friends as playoff foes: Packers' LaFleur faces Rams' McVay
Green Bay Packers coach Matt LaFleur and Los Angeles Rams coach Sean McVay say their friendship and shared history shouldn’t have much of an impact on their teams’ upcoming NFC divisional playoff matchup
3:06AM ( 35 minutes ago )
Trump on verge of 2nd impeachment after Capitol siege
President Donald Trump is on the verge of being impeached for a second time
3:06AM ( 36 minutes ago )
Another tournament in Hawaii, a fresh start for most players
Collin Morikawa is among 31 players who are spending a second straight week in Hawaii
3:02AM ( 39 minutes ago )
The Latest: S. Korean sect leader acquitted over virus cases
A South Korean court has acquitted a religious sect leader of charges that he deliberately disrupted the government’s anti-virus response after thousands of his worshippers were infected with the coronavirus
2:57AM ( 45 minutes ago )