Sunday, December 21, 2014

NCAA WBB Tnmt: Interior Conference Upsets Ruffle The Outlook

By Mel Greenberg

NCAA WBB Tnmt: Interior Conference Upsets Ruffle The Outlook

By Mel Greenberg

Well it looks like tradition has been upheld as the conference tournaments winnow down to the final 48-24 hours.

Upsets in a few places knocked out some more No. 1 seeds, especially in Hartford in the America East title game.

But a closer look makes it seem that maybe not much really altered the big picture.

First, time out.

Nebraska went down in the Big 12. But will that cause the Cornhuskers to lose a No. 1 overall seed?

Maybe, maybe not considering how the glut of teams all in the same neighborhood are going to have to be kept apart so they don't meet until regional finals. And that will have to be factored with the Atlantic Coast, Big East, and Southeastern mobs along with a few more less multiple situations elsewhere.

Seeding talk will come after Sunday's games end, which, will be later since we have to wait on the PAC-10.

But back to the selecting process and the bubble.

Other than Delaware is no long a factor off yet another tough loss, refer back to the previous post.

Nothing happened to change the first seven teams on our bubble list in trying to fill 10 spots. Some other places forecasters like Michigan over Boston College -- whatever.

So now let us update that discussion about the last teams.

Hartford got upset by Vermont and the question is how will Erica Beverly's season-ending injury be perceived. Body of work says first teams off the list of six for three spots. But the injury may revert the Hawks to the WNIT.

But we have them in with an asterisk.

James Madison's move to title game of the Colonial Athletic Association final on the Dukes' home court against top-seeded Old Dominion makes coach Kenny Brooks' group a strong at-large pick if they don't win the title.

But ODU doesn't go if JMU wins and a spot opens up.

Fresno State suffered a tough loss but nice work by Teresa Weatherspoon in guiding her alma mater Louisiana Tech squad to the Western Athletic Conference title. She already had the rookie coach of the year award wrapped up in that only one other rookie made it to .500. But Weatherspoon, who will be inducted into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame in June, did enough to merit awards going through the front door.

Illinois State, another No. 1 seed, went down in the Missouri Valley to Northern Iowa in a semifinal.

TCU led the victims list a day ago.

And Arkansas-Little Rock is still on the Guru's table BUT will be a victim because of wrong winners and just not quite enough to jump over the other contenders.

So hear's the deal.

The Guru picks TCU. If the committee decides to bypass Hartford, that opens the door for Fresno. If JMU wins, no other team may come out of the CAA. But suddenly it appears the committee can then reverse itself and have mercy and give Hartford the spot that JMU would have needed.

But now we're at a dangerous place. We might need one more pick in terms of our group. And guess what?

The bubble bursts and an avalanche of contenders suddenly pour onto the table.

Meanwhile, over in the WNIT, we tried to look at the prospective field in the expanded number to 64.

And also, remember there's the new WBI out of Milwaukee. The advisory committee on that selection panel for 16 teams includes former Illinois coach Theresa Grentz, who is now a vice president at Immaculata -- her alma mater, former Auburn coach Joe Ciamp, former Cal coach Caren Horstmeyer, former Illinois State coach Jill Hutchison, and former Hawaii coach Mary Hile-Nepfel.

But back to the WNIT. While not having all the requirements at hand, the Guru slotted the automatic bids consisting of NCAA also-rans out of conferences, such as No. 1 seeds who didn't make it, and that got to 31.

When it came to the next 33, the guru put a lot of teams on the list and after the count was still somewhat short. That's good news for St. Joseph's here out of the Atlantic 10 and Drexel and Delaware in the CAA.

Looks like your seasons definitely still have life to be somewhere. In the case of Delaware's Delle Donne the scoring title race with Ms. Clark of Middle Tennessee is still alive.

Back Sunday night with more.

  -- Mel 

 

Mel Greenberg Inquirer Sports Columnist
About this blog
Mel Greenberg covers college and pro women’s basketball for the Philadelphia Inquirer, where he has worked for 38 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. He was inducted into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame in 2007.



Click here for Mel's list of All-Decade players from Philadelphia-area schools.

Other contributors

Jonathan Tannenwald is a producer with Philly.com. In addition to covering the local college scene, he spent two years as the Washington Mystics beat writer for Women's Hoops Guru. He also writes his own blog, Soft Pretzel Logic, which covers men's college basketball, football, and other sports.

Kathleen Radebaugh is a recent graduate of St. Joseph's University in Philadelphia. She covered women's basketball for the school's newspaper, The Hawk, and served as sports editor her sophomore year. She was also a four-year member of the varsity crew team.

Erin Semagin Damio covers the University of Connecticut and the WNBA's Connecticut Sun for the blog, and contributes other features. The Storrs, Conn., native also attends Northeastern University, where she is a coxswain on the varsity crew team.

Acacia O'Connor is based in Washington, D.C., where she reports on the Mystics and the college basketball scene in the nation's capital. A graduate of Vassar college, she played on the varsity women's basketball team and was editor of the student newspaper.

Click on any of the contributors' names above to e-mail them.

Reach Mel at poll416@gmail.com.

Mel Greenberg Inquirer Sports Columnist
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