Lack of marquee video games to make NCAA tourney choice tougher

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Geno Auriemma is used to having marquee non-conference matchups to check his UConn Huskies throughout the common season.

That hasn’t occurred this 12 months because the Huskies haven’t performed a workforce exterior the Massive East who’s ranked due to the coronavirus pandemic. UConn had video games scheduled early on in opposition to No. 2 Louisville and then-No. 6 Mississippi State, however these have been worn out when the Huskies have been on pause due to the virus.

A sport in opposition to Baylor was canned earlier this month when Girl Bears coach Kim Mulkey examined optimistic for the coronavirus. UConn has two extra possibilities to play non-conference ranked groups with Tennessee and South Carolina on the schedule.

The Huskies aren’t alone with video games getting worn out as 10 of the present members of the AP girls’s basketball ballot haven’t performed a non-conference ranked opponent but this season, together with the 5 Pac-12 groups who’re within the Prime 25.

5 extra have solely performed one ranked opponent who isn’t of their convention. The one non-conference matchup between prime 10 groups this season was an early-season contest between then-No. 1 South Carolina and eight-ranked N.C. State. The Wolfpack pulled off the upset. Conversely on the lads’s aspect a majority of the present Prime 25 have performed not less than one ranked non-conference opponent.

The dearth of marquee non-conference matchups may trigger the NCAA girls’s basketball choice committee some agita when attempting to determine who deserves to be within the NCAA Match and the place groups must be seeded.

“It’s not going to be apples to apples this 12 months,” choice committee chairwoman Nina King stated in a cellphone interview with the AP. “It’s definitely a problem. … The factor about choosing groups is it isn’t one piece of standards we have a look at. It’s loads of various things. One isn’t extra weighed than one other. We’ll have vigorous discussions.”

Longtime ESPN and CBS analyst Deb Antonelli was unhappy for the game that so many nice video games have been canceled or postponed.

“It’s disappointing we will’t showcase the sport on the highest stage as a result of our sport has prospered and grown in so some ways,” she stated. “The so-called eye check is de facto going to place further strain on the committee as a result of whether or not you just like the numbers or metrics, having the entire match in San Antonio removes geography, now they will’t conceal behind the geography.”

King admitted it might be tougher to pick 64 groups this 12 months with much less information from non-conference matchups, however she has religion the committee will get it finished.

“We can have a real S-curve this 12 months, however I actually haven’t thought that far forward but” she stated. “I’m centered as my committee colleagues are on watching groups and seeing how we are going to do alternatives this 12 months.

Auriemma joked that with the cancellations of a number of marquee non-conference matchups nationwide the committee may need to have to contemplate groups’ reputations much more than normal when making a bracket.

“You understand the film ‘Casablanca’ … the place they go, ‘Spherical up the same old suspects?’” Auriemma stated. “I feel that’s what’s gonna occur. When all of it breaks down, simply spherical up the same old suspects.”

With all of the video games which were postponed or cancelled to date there may be some worry that groups might not even attain the 13-game minimal. UConn has performed solely seven video games and its subsequent two have been postponed.

Groups can’t begin submitting waivers till Feb. 26 to the NCAA petitioning to be allowed to play within the match in the event that they don’t meet the minimal commonplace. After the deadline, waivers would solely be thought of if a convention match was canceled and that might have been a workforce’s thirteenth sport. Groups can also solely depend one among their match video games in the direction of the 13.

“It’s unprecedented and there’s no handbook for this one both. We’ll work via,” King stated. “COVID is COVID and we don’t wish to penalize a workforce for the uncontrollable.”

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





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