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Thursday, March 25, 2004

NCAA Tournaments

Unfortunately, Phil Martelli and Billy Packer appear to have buried the hatchet, which makes tonight's St. Joe's-Wake Forest Sweet 16 matchup somewhat less exciting.

But I want to have this be a quick post on two of the other postseason NCAA tournaments going on right now: women's basketball and men's hockey. I have problems with the scheduling of both.

The women's hoops tournament makes a mockery of the principle of neutral site games, with lower-seeded teams frequently hosting games in early rounds. For example, BC's #3 seeded women had to defeat a #6 Ohio State team in Columbus just to reach the Sweet 16. The men's tournament has its own troubles in this regard--notably Pitt having to beat Wisconsin in Milwaukee on Sunday--but the women's tournament is much worse. They probably do this on the women's side because they have trouble getting venues lined up and they want to assure a reasonable crowd, but if they really want the tourney taken seriously, they need neutral site games.

The men's hockey tournament has its own idiotic quirk: the teams enter the national semifinals without having played a game in nearly two weeks. The opening two rounds are being held this weekend, but then the teams that emerge from each region won't be participating in the Frozen Four until April 8. Again, there is reasoning here--they don't want to play on the same weekend as the Final Four in men's basketball--but hockey teams need to be playing with at most a week-long layoff in order to be fresh for the championship. Just schedule the games around the basketball, already, or put something on a weeknight (the women's basketball tourney can actually serve as a model in this regard).