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but first, the WNIT kicks us off with a fun story: Double Duty In Des Moines: Kansas Band Gets The Assist For Drake Women’s Basketball

A college basketball game without a band present … it’s just not the same, is it? Drake’s women’s team was facing that, though, for its WNIT opener Thursday night in Des Moines, Iowa. The school is on spring break, and the Drake band members aren’t on campus.

However, Drake got a capable substitute: The Kansas band was in Des Moines for the Jayhawks’ NCAA men’s tournament game Thursday afternoon.

As for the games:

The band helped! Drake (MVC) over Sacred Heart (NEC), 95-59.

Road-weary UT Rio Grande (WAC) got swept away by TCU (Big12), 97-73.

Arkansas State (Sun Belt) chomped on Southern (SWAC), 68-45.

It was a tight one, as short-handed Nebraska (Big10) fell to Northern Iowa (MVC), 64-62.

Ball State (MAC) went on the road and topped Iowa (Big Ten), 77-72.

Arkansas Little-Rock (Sun Belt) and St. Louis (A-10) went down to the wire, but… Billikens win! 70-69.

And I swoop! Tennessee-Martin (Ohio Valley) came back to defeat Memphis (American), 79-73. It’s the programs first post-season win since 1999.

Dayton (A-10) fell to Western Kentucky (C-USA), 89-72.

San Diego (WCC) escapes Northwestern (Big 10), 69-65. The Wildcats scored 8 in the first and 35 in the fourth. Coach must be banging his head against the wall.

No, really, remember when they stunk? IUPUI (Summit) over Central Michigan (MAC), a tough program, 63-55.

Bucknell (Patriot) over Akron (MAC), 74-70. The Bison are the first team from the Patriot League to ever win a game in the WNIT, while also posting the program’s first victory in a national postseason tournament.

“We have had a lot of great things happen this year, but to get a postseason win is pretty sweet,” said Bucknell head coach Aaron Roussell. “It’s a great accomplishment for our program and our league, and a huge feather in the cap for this gritty team. I am incredibly proud of them.”

Gonzaga (WCC) chewed up undermanned UC Riverside (Big West), 88-54.

Oregon (Pac12) over Long Beach State (Big West) by 8.

After all the waiting and working and wondering, Oregon coach Kelly Graves finally got the glimpse of his team’s future that he’d been looking for the past two weeks.

And he liked it so much that Graves told his rejuvenated Ducks to go play couch potatoes for a day like the rest of America as their reward.

 Welcome to March Madness, ladies. WNIT style.

Nice showing against a program that in no joke: Marshall (C-USA) falls to Ohio (MAC), 76-68.

Eastern Michigan (MAC) led wire to wire, and eked out an away win over Saint Mary’s (WCC), by one, 74-73.

Graduate transfer Chanise Baldwin’s ffensive rebound and put back with 1.8 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter lifted the Eastern Michigan University women’s basketball team to a 74-73 victory over Saint Mary’s College in the opening round of the WNIT Thursday, March 17. The Eagles led by as many as nine, but needed Baldwin’s late game heroics to propel the Green and White into the second round of the tournament. 

In a back-and-forth battle, it was Abilene Christian (Southland) who blinked first. UTEP (C-USA) won, 66-62.

Virginia Tech (ACC) over Elon (CAA), 68-59.

Villanova (Big East) ousted Liberty (Big South), 67-51.

Hofstra (CAA) over Harvard (Ivy), 76-50.

Even with the loss of top-scorer Mikayla Venson, Virginia (ACC) managed a two-point win over VCU (A10).

Georgia Tech (ACC) stung Mercer (Southern), 73-56.

Rutgers (Big East Big 10) last-second-shot-ed a win over Georgetown (Old Big East), 57-55.

An improving Wake Forest (ACC) held off Charlotte (C-USA), 72-69.

First round NCAA games I’m keeping my eye on:

Albany/Florida
JMU/DePaul
Chattanooga/Mississippi State
Green Bay/Tennessee
St. Bonaventure/Oklahoma State

Michelle Smith: Tara VanDerveer vs. Jennifer Azzi

Asked to remember the last time they talked on the phone before they found out they would be matched up in the NCAA tournament, both Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer and University of San Francisco coach Jennifer Azzi came up with the same answer.

“Probably just a few weeks ago,” Azzi said.

“Not that long ago,” VanDerveer confirmed. “We talked about some things she was dealing with.”

There will be no talking this week.

Katie Barnes: UConn freshman Samuelson finds her footing

Bonnie and Karlie Samuelson, both of whom played at Stanford, are as responsible as anyone for making Lou the player she is.

“When I was younger, I wanted to be just like them, so that’s where it all started,” Samuelson said. “But once I got older, all I wanted to do was to be better than them.”

When will DePaul Women get their due as NCAA contenders?

Every year, I hear the same thing. “There are no Illinois teams in the NCAA tournament.”

And for the past 14 years, all those who have said that have been wrong.

Why, oh, why, do Illinois residents overlook the DePaul Blue Demons (25-8), who’ve achieved a berth in the NCAA Women’s Tournament for 14 CONSECUTIVE YEARS… also, their 21st overall appearance since 1990?

Jonathan Lintner: Cards’ Hines-Allen hitting high gear in March

Recently named the ACC Player of the Year, Hines-Allen registered a pair of double-doubles to open the postseason and hit 19 of her 33 shots.

“I want to prove to people it’s not a fluke and just give my all every single day,” the sophomore forward said. “That’s how I got the award.”

BTW: Division II has reached the Elite Eight.

4 Florida Southern v. 1 Lubbock Christian (March 22, 1pm)
2 Anchorage-Alaska v. 7 Francis Marion (March 22, 7pm)
1 Virginia Union v. 1 Bentley (March 22, 3:3o)
2 Grand Valley State v. 7 Pittsburgh State (9:30)

The big shockers were seeing #1 Union, #1 Azusa Pacific and #1 Limestone go down in the first round. #1 Ashland feel in the second round. #1 Emporia State lost in the 3rd round.

Division III’s Final Four is scheduled for March 19th, Capitol University, Columbus Ohio.

Tufts (27-3) v. Wartburg (23-7), 5pm.
Wartburg’s Final Four run stranger than fiction

 Amsberry’s Nine will do for a working title. Wartburg College’s surprise run into the NCAA Division III women’s basketball Final Four has the makings of a green-lit sports movie.

The plot is a season salvaged off life support by a group of athletes that had moved on before reuniting to accomplish an ambitious goal.

The script has more than final credits left to be written.

Jumbos book trip to NCAA tournament semifinals for third year in a row

For the past two years, Tufts had gotten it done at home in the postseason. The Jumbos had qualified for the NCAA tournament by winning the NESCAC championship, earned home court advantage and fought their way through dominant first-round wins and overtime thrillers alike to reach the NCAA Div. III championship semifinals, the Final Four.

This year was different. Tufts fell by one point in a heartbreaking loss to Amherst in the NESCAC championship but still earned an at-large bid. 

Amherst (30-1) v. Thomas More (31-0), 7:30PM

Saints on a different kind of mission

You already know what’s the same about the defending champs, so let’s look at what’s different about Thomas More this season.

It all starts with a change in hashtag philosophy.

Sister act adds to Amherst’s legacy

If Amherst head women’s basketball coach G.P. Gromacki hadn’t been persistent when reaching out to junior twins Ali and Meredith Doswell during the recruiting process, no telling what he would be doing this weekend.

 

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women’s basketball is trying this year with Division II and III basketball.

The finals will be part of a larger 35th anniversary NCAA women’s basketball championship celebration taking place at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis the first week in April. Championship week will culminate with five championship basketball games and three national titles decided within a 48-hour period at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. It will be the first time in the history of NCAA women’s basketball that all three divisional championships will be decided in the same city and venue. The Division I national semifinals will be played Sunday, April 3 at 6 and 8:30 p.m. EST. The Division II and III national championship games will be played on Monday, April 4 at 3 p.m. and 6 p.m., respectively, while the Division I national championship game will be played on Tuesday, April 5 at 8:30 p.m.

“OMG!” you must be thinking… “I haven’t filled out my DII/III brackets yet!” I know, I know, it sneaks up on ya. There’s still time, though.

The DIII brackets are out/up here. Rankings here. Your go-to source of information and predictions is, of course, D3hoops.com. For example

Castleton Edged by Husson for NAC Title

Never a Doubt: No. 3 Lady Royals Shoot Past Catholic, 78-57, to Capture Landmark Conference Crown

Beavers take down RHIT for first-ever HCAC title

Lynchburg Women Capture ODAC Title 62-55; Caroline Naumann Named MOP

WPI Wins NEWMAC Championship; Headed to NCAA Tournament

Lynchburg Tops Guilford For ODAC Women’s Basketball Title

Amherst Captures Sixth NESCAC Women’s Basketball Title with 50-49 Win at Tufts

CHAMPIONS! Panthers win first SAA title

Bluffton to face Whitewater in first-ever trip to NCAA Tournament

There is no longer an independent site for DII coverage. You’re going to have to wait for the brackets to be released, but in the meantime, drop by NCAA.com for the latest school news.

As you wonder who to cheer for, I might remind you of this bit of December news: Religious colleges get exemptions to anti-bias law; critics denounce ‘hidden discrimination’ against LGBT students

Dozens of religious colleges have sought exemptions in recent years from federal prohibitions against discrimination on the basis of gender identity and sexual orientation, saying the waivers are needed to protect school policies consistent with their faith, according to a new report.

The government has granted more than 30 of these requests since 2013, the Human Rights Campaign said in a report released Friday. The schools that obtained religious waivers from the anti-discrimination law known as Title IX ranged from Baptist-affiliated Anderson University in South Carolina to Quaker-affiliated George Fox University in Oregon

The following schools received sexual orientation enforcement exemptions, according to the report:

  • Anderson University of South Carolina
  • Baptist College of Florida
  • Bethel College of Indiana
  • Blue Mountain College of Mississippi
  • Charleston Southern University of South Carolina
  • Covenant College of Georgia
  • East Texas Baptist University of Texas
  • Hannibal-LaGrange University of Missouri
  • Howard Payne University of Texas
  • Judson College of Alabama
  • Louisiana College
  • Mississippi College
  • North Greenville University of South Carolina
  • Oklahoma Baptist University
  • Oklahoma Christian University
  • Southwest Baptist University of Missouri
  • Spring Arbor University of Michigan
  • Toccoa Falls College of Georgia
  • Union University of Tennessee
  • University of Mary Hardin-Baylor of Texas
  • University of Mobile in Alabama
  • University of the Cumberlands in Kentucky
  • Williams Baptist College in Arkansas

The gender identity enforcement exemptions, according to the report, were granted to the 23 schools listed above and to:

    • Belmont Abbey College of North Carolina
    • Franciscan University of Steubenville in Ohio
    • Fresno Pacific University of California
    • George Fox University of Oregon
    • Northwest Nazarene University of Idaho
    • Oklahoma Wesleyan University
    • Simpson University of California
    • Southern Wesleyan University of South Carolina
    • St. Gregory University of Oklahoma
    • Tabor College of Kansas

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Pretty good, if you’re a SUNY-New Palz fan

The crowd’s chant began with a minute to play and reached a crescendo at 5:43 p.m. Saturday in the Hawk Center when the SUNY New Paltz women’s basketball team started celebrating.

The chant was “SUNYAC champions.”

New Paltz won its first-ever State University of New York Athletic Conference championship, defeating Geneseo 64-53.

With the title comes an automatic berth in the NCAA Division III tournament. The brackets will be announced 2:30 p.m. Monday on NCAA.com.

Ditto if you’re a fan of Hope: Women’s basketball loses to Hope in final seconds of MIAA tourney finals

Hope women’s basketball team came out on top of a closely fought game Saturday afternoon, winning the MIAA tournament championship game 62-59, and gaining an automatic bid to the NCAA D-III tournament.

Super ditto if you’re a Red Hawks fan: At 25-0, Montclair State women’s basketball a surprise juggernaut

For a few rare and ultimately fleeting seconds, the Montclair State University women’s basketball team is actually losing, but the school’s most famous hoops alumna is anything but worried.

“The game is young,” Carol Blazejowski says from her movie theater-style box seat, situated in the top row of the modest bleachers at MSU’s Panzer Athletic Center. It’s a sentence said casually, confidently, the way you might describe the arrival of a train running a minute or two behind schedule.

Pretty good if you are a Tigers fan: Princeton University women’s basketball conquers 33rd straight Ivy League foe, a Buffs fan: Arielle Roberson leads CU Buffs to victory – Colorado struggles on offense, but wins sixth in row, or a fan of Marist, FGCU, Charlotte (Hey, Graham! Hint! Hint!, Green Bay, Albany, Dayton, Toledo, Gonzaga, BU, Texas Southern (First SWAC title in school history. Hey, Graham! Hint! Hint!), Chattanooga, Pacific (Program record for wins), San Diego State, Baylor, UConn, Notre Dame (Triple Double Diggins) and Stanford (CO sets school rebounding record: 24).

Duke fans know their chances for a Final Four were dealt a significant blow when Gray went down. The Blue Devils didn’t miss a beat, though, taking down Florida State and Maryland in comfortable fashion.

St. John’s still on a roll.

Staying in New York: Fordham got a great win over St. Joe’s. Had to take the Hawks to OT to earn their 10th A-10 win and their first 20-win season in 19 years.

A little agita on the sidelines for Tennessee coaches (win), Kentucky coaches (loss), Quinnipiac (win – NEC Champeens), Syracuse (loss – to that feisty USF team), Cal (win) and Southern (loss- giving Alcorn State their 2nd SWAC win), Delaware (win, by the hair on their chinny-chin-chin) and TAMU (lossVandy’s Clark for 30.).

More Bracketology means a road game for Notre Dame?

Let’s get right to addressing the glaring issue in this week’s projected bracket: Notre Dame, a No. 1 seed, potentially would have to play LSU in the second round in Baton Rouge, La.

The pairing obviously is not an ideal situation. However, it’s also not unprecedented. And while the committee (and I) will try to avoid such a scenario, sometimes it just can’t be helped.

The problem started with the addition of St. John’s to the field. That brought the total number of host schools in the tournament to 15. In other words, all but one sub-regional (Columbus, Ohio) will include a host school. That’s great for potential tournament attendance. It’s also a bracketing nightmare.

Nice find from FOB Sue: Miss Basketball’s son carves out his own stellar career

For a while, the chants rang out from the home student section earlier this winter at Concord’s McCuen Gym every time Memorial’s Markese McGuire touched the basketball.

“Your mom’s better! … Your mom’s better!”

There’s any number of ways the chants could’ve been taken.

If the history-appreciating fans meant that McGuire’s mom is better than their own moms — actually an about-face on what all loyal sons once claimed on the playground — well, yeah, that’s a fairly safe bet.

After all, Kim (Barrier) McGuire is still the only Indiana Mr. or Miss Basketball that Elkhart County has ever produced.

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and picks the Maroons’ Aaron Roussell as their next coach.

Chicago’s been making a lot of noise in the DIII/UAA ranks.

In less happy DIII news: Kean’s punishment handed down

Kean University lacked institutional control and failed to monitor its women’s basketball program, leading to impermissible financial aid and extra benefits for its student-athletes, according to findings by the NCAA Division III Committee on Infractions.

The former women’s head basketball coach, Michele Sharp, failed to establish an atmosphere of rules compliance, according to the committee, and Kean also was cited for providing financial aid packages in violation of NCAA legislation, which impacted student-athletes across four sports.

Penalties in this case, many of which were instituted by the university, include four years of probation, a four-year show-cause order for the former coach and postseason bans for four teams.

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To Illinois Wesleyan, who one their first Division III women’s basketball championship, by rallying to defeat George Fox, 57-48.

“We’re a different team than we were last year,” Smith said of her Titans (28-5). “Last year’s team I thought had more finesse and was longer. This year’s team bites harder, they fight. And that’s what I have seen all year long in practice.”

They fought when they fell down 9-0 five and a half minutes into the game. They fought when George Fox (33-1) cut a six-point halftime deficit to one. And they fought one last time when George Fox went on a 13-0 run to take a six-point lead with five minutes left.

It was the last time the Titans would need to fight in a season that came on the heels of a fourth-place finish in 2011, the graduation of three starters and the news that Smith was being treated for breast cancer. The fight ended in Illinois Wesleyan’s first national championship in women’s basketball.

Wrote David Haugh of the Chicago Tribune on the eve of the Titan’s championship game: Illinois Wesleyan men, women restore pride to state hoops scene – Both teams in Division III Final Four after none of state’s 13 Division I men’s teams made NCAA tournament

On the days chemotherapy sapped Illinois Wesleyan women’s basketball coach Mia Smith enough to consider lying in bed all day, strength to rise came from thoughts of her players diving on the gym floor.

Infectious enthusiasm has a way of spreading too.

“People have thanked me for being a good role model for these young ladies as I endured hardship, but I’m telling you, it’s the other way around,” said Smith, 47, diagnosed last summer with breast cancer. “All I had to do was think of how hard those girls work at practice, and that was all the inspiration I needed to get up.”

One of the most inspiring basketball seasons anybody can remember on the quaint Bloomington, Ill., campus of 2,090 students peaks Friday in two cities.

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’cause I totally missed this mess: NCAA allegations against Kean seem to clear former AD Glenn Hedden of wrongdoing

Kean University has provided a full list of the violations that the NCAA infractions committee has uncovered about its athletic programs, and while the school redacted all the names and teams involved, the 12-page document supports virtually every charge made by its whistle-blowing former athletic director.

Glenn Hedden, who sued the university for wrongful termination in July, had already spelled out the major transgressions in a 19-page lawsuit, the most egregious being grade-fixing and the creation of a bogus course to benefit the women’s basketball program.

You’ve seen Kean’s name in the DIII polls for a while now:

The Kean University women’s basketball team posted its fifth straight 20-win season and advanced to the NCAA Division III women’s basketball tournament for the fifth straight season under 13th year head coach Michele Sharp, as the Cougars finished 24-5 overall and captured the New Jersey Athletic Conference South Division title.

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WNBA’s Silver Spurs To Honor HPU Women’s Hoops

“This is a tremendous opportunity for our program, said HPU head women’s coach Joshua Prock, “To be recognized by an outstanding organization like the San Antonio Silver Stars is a huge honor. We greatly appreciate all their efforts in helping make this happen for those involved in our program.”

The Howard Payne women’s basketball program has been one of the most successful women’s collegiate programs in Texas over the last decade. So in conjunction with the San Antonio Silver Stars Inspiring Women’s night, the HPU women’s team will be honored for their accomplishments in the 2010-2011 season during the Silver Star’s game with the LA Sparks on Friday, June 24, 2011.

Some may recall the HPU story:

Brownwood, TX, home of Howard Payne University, is a town of about 25,000. “When I first got here the program was in terrible shape. They hadn’t had a winning season in four years,” recalled Chris Kielsmeier, who became head coach in 2000. “Quite honestly, nobody cared about women’s basketball. The stands were almost an embarrassment.”

These days, Howard Payne is the top-drawing Division III team in the country. Averaging 1,494 a game, including over 15,000 fans for the last four game of the season, they enjoy the enthusiastic support of the local newspaper and some of the most influential people in town.

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(Which is both a basketball and musical reference, thankyouverymuch!)

Amherst’s Lord Jeffs finally broke through to capture their first Division III title. What a joy for their seniors (great photo AP!), who finished up a 4-year run of 120-9 and three trips to the Final Four. I’m sure it’s especially satisfying because they earned it against THE program in D-3: Nancy Fahey’s Washington U Bears. From the fun Amherst blog:

By the time Amherst got to the national championship game, it was obvious that there was no point in wondering how the Lord Jeffs were going to win. Whatever obstacle stood in their way, they were going to knock it down. The Jeffs had lost to Wash-U in back-to-back Final Fours and had yet to prove they could win on the big stage. Wash-U had won more NCAA Tournament games and national titles than any other Division III school. Wash-U brought cheerleaders, a rowdy and confident crowd, and an army of assistant coaches (eight, someone said). Amherst, meanwhile, had but a small group of passionate fans and two coaches. No band, no painted faces. Maybe it wasn’t a case of David versus Goliath (I don’t think David was 31-1 when he went up against Goliath), but there were a lot of reasons to put your money on Wash-U.

The Bears can look to their free throws (15-26) a key stat in the 64-55 loss. But ‘ware the Bears, ’cause they are young. In fact, after the gradation exodus of last year, many thought they had no chance to reach the 4 – much less the Finals.

“I think we really had a great season. We seemed to kind of surprise everyone, including ourselves,” Washington University senior point guard Alex Hoover said. “Throughout this tournament I think we really gained confidence in ourselves and it was a great run.”

In the Consolation game, it was Christopher Newport over Illinois Wesleyan, 64-58. The game was the last for 5’7″ senior Chelsie Schweers, but she snagged two more honors on her way out: the first Captain to be named to the all-tournament team and earned D3hoops Player of the Year. Shes been one of the best in DIII history.

Schweers is the No. 2 all-time scorer in Division III women’s basketball with 2,827 points and is the national record holder with 411 career 3-pointers.

“I knew she was an exciting player and I knew she could help us,” Hunter said of watching Schweers in high school. “When I had the opportunity to recruit her and woo her to CNU, we knew it would be something special if we got her.”

Schweers has been every bit of special in a Captains’ uniform. She averaged 22.4 points as a freshman, 21.9 as a sophomore and 24.5 as a junior. In her final season, Schweers is shooting a career-high 50.8 percent (129 of 254) from 3-point range and 52.1 percent overall.

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in the DIII Finals. (That would be Washington U v Amherst.)

Check out D3Hoops.com for some great coverage and then go back this evening to hear some great play-by-play of the games. (D-III still plays a consolation game, which I kinda like.)

Oh, and see what you think about this article: What Division I Could Learn From Division III

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Lordy, this tourney seems early!

Washington U only had to beat four top 10 teams to reach the Finals. (Honestly, how good is coach Fahey!)

Illinois Wesleyan only had to come back from 23 down to reach the Finals.

Christopher Newport needed all 27 points from Chelsie Schweers (the only player in women’s NCAA history to hit 400 3-pointers) to earn their first trip to the Finals.

Amherst only had to take down Babson, the lone undefeated DIII team, to return for a third straight year to the Finals.

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Division III style: Lewis & Clark women’s basketball earns first trip to NCAA because of being ‘stubborn in a good way’

In just six seasons, Fulks has taken a team that was 1-15 in conference her first year — 5-20 overall — and turned them into a Northwest Conference title contender: After finishing the regular season with a share of the conference title, the Pioneers (21-6) received an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament, their first since the NWC moved from NAIA to Division-III in 1999.

“I thought we were in because of the numbers but when we found out, oh, it was so cool,” Fulks said. “This is what we’ve been working for all year.”

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NAIA Division II

Davenport (MI) finished the regular season at 33-0, and kept themselves in the #1 slot. 1-loss Northwestern (IA) (That loss against guess who) sits in second followed by Morningside (IA).

The NAIA Division I final poll doesn’t come out until the 9th.

NCAA Division III

Not to be outdone in the undefeated race, Thomas More boast a gaudy 28-0 record, and sits atop the polls. Lurking are Amherst (26-1), Wisconsin-Stevens Point (2502) Babson College (also undefeated at 27-0) and University of Chicago. Hope College, a perennial top 5 team, dropped to the sixth slot, but I’m thinking that that’s just going to make’em cranky when they start tournament play.

Check out D3Hoops.com for a preview of the tourney. (And their picks)

This is where we pick a Cinderella team, a surprise team that ideally can win two games on someone else’s floor to advance to the Sweet 16. We’ll also pick a disappointment and a champion. We’ll pose a big question in each bracket that goes beyond which team will win a particular game. We’ll offer a first round toss up that could go either way. And we’ll toss out a marquee matchup that would provide fun story lines in later rounds.

As an added bonus, I’ll be at the Final Four in Bloomington while Pat’s in Salem. So when your team advances through the bracket and proves me wrong, you can tell me how wrong I was in person. That’s one more reason for you to look forward to the Final Four.

NCAA Division II

Gotta wonder what’s going on in women’s basketball ’cause, well, LOOK at who’s got the #1 slot: ANOTHER undefeated team: Clayton State University (GA) with a record of 28-0. They’re followed by Arkansas Tech and (quiet historian cheer) Delta State.

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The NJCAA’s Top 26 (I like that!) sees 27-0 Pensacola State College at the top. Vincennes is #2, and the ever present Trinity Valley sits in third.

NAIA Division II: Davenport (MI), Northwestern (IA) and Morningside (IA).

NAIA Division I: (Drum roll please!) Union (TN) *gasp*, Oklahoma City and college name of the day Azusa Pacific (CA)

NCAA Division III: (Deja vu all over again?) Thomas More (KY), Hope College (MI), Amherst (MA).

NCAA Division II: Clayton State (GA) earns the top spot with their 26-0 record, followed by Lander (NC) and Fort Lewis (CO).

NCAA Division I: Yadda, yadda and yadda… Oh, LOOK! It’s HOUSTON coming in at the 25th spot!

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that other team in D.C.

From ABC News: Gallaudet University Making Noise in Women’s Basketball

“It’s an amazing feeling compared to my freshman year … like night and day,” center Nukeitra Hayes says of the team’s transformation.

“It’s like, jeez, now we are showing the world where Gallaudet University is,” she added, speaking with the aid of a sign-language interpreter.

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NAIA Division I:

Let’s see… Union? Check. Oklahoma City? Check. Whoa! What happened? Seventeen teams shifted rank, while two others fell out of the top 25 poll.

NAIA Division II:

Sorta the same ole same ole: Davenport as the unanimous #1, followd by Northwestern, Morningside, Saint Francis and Black Hills State.

NJCC Division I:

A mix of familiar and newbies: Pensacola State College, Trinity Valley CC, Vincennes University, Central Arizona and State Fair. Both Pensacola and Trinity are 22-0.

NCAA Division III:

Yup, we recognize these people: Thomas More, Kean, Hope, Amherst and Babson. Gaullaudet, at 18-0, sits tied for the 20th spot.

NCAA Division II:

The D-II peeps held serve: Lander (S.C.), Clayton State (Ga.), Delta State (Miss.), Fort Lewis (Colo.), and Arkansas Tech.

College Insider’s Mid-Major:

An interesting group of programs: Green Bay, Princeton, Gonzaga, Florida Gulf, Marist

Lady Swish’s Silent Majority Poll

They have Xavier, Marist, Green Bay, Duquesne and Princeton

NCAA Division I:

No surprise, there are changes: Baylor and UConn hold the top two spots, followed by Stanford, Tennessee and Duke.

Ohio State, Georgia and Texas Tech dropped out of the poll.

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catches on to the Gallaudet story.

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reads the blog?

His article: Gallaudet makes noise with 14-0 mark, top 25 spot

The head coach is battling Parkinson’s disease, daily mourns the loss of his sister and isn’t fully fluent in the language used by his players.

One senior co-captain nearly quit school after her brother died. The other is a junior college transfer who was picked on as a kid.

Those would be compelling stories for any basketball squad, but this is Gallaudet, the university for the deaf whose women’s team is making noise with a 14-0 start and a No. 24 ranking in Division III, its first appearance in the top 25 since 1999.

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but Gallaudet’s team is undefeated.

Faafiti and Hayes have become a dynamic duo for Gallaudet (14-0), propelling the Bison to their best season in more than a decade and their best start in school history. They are ranked No. 24 in Division III, their first appearance in the rankings since 1999. Their 14 consecutive wins are one shy of the school record.

You may previously have followed them through the book, Winning Sounds Like This, or through the stories tracking coach Cook’s challenges.

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Hope denied at Calvin

Break out the clichés about rankings not mattering when two big rivals play each other. Unranked Calvin knocked off No. 1 Hope at VanNoord Arena 56-55 to take over first place in the MIAA and hand the Flying Dutch their first loss of the season.

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Polls

NAIA Division I: Union Continues to Reign Supreme

The first poll of 2011 has Union (Tenn.) continuing its hold at No. 1 in the NAIA Women’s Division I Basketball Coaches’ Top 25 Poll, the NAIA announced Monday. The Lady Bulldogs were awarded all 12 possible first-place votes in the third edition of the poll. Oklahoma City and Campbellsville (Ky.) hold as the second and third-ranked teams, respectively. Lewis-Clark State (Idaho) checks in at fourth and No. 5 Freed-Hardeman (Tenn.) cracks into the top-five for the first time this season.

NAIA Division II: Davenport Slides into No. 1 Spot

Following a win over top-ranked Northwestern (Iowa) on Dec. 29, Davenport (Mich.) takes over as the No. 1 team on the NAIA Division II Women’s Basketball Coaches’ Top 25 Poll, the NAIA announced Monday. The Panthers were a unanimous selection, collecting 15 first-place votes and tallying 405 points. The Red Raiders, who held the top spot for four-straight weeks, fall to No. 2 with 392 points. For the fourth week in-a-row, Morningside (Iowa) holds steady at No. 3, earning 375 points. Sioux Falls (S.D.) comes in at No. 4 for the second-consecutive week and continuing to climb the rankings is No. 5 Kansas Wesleyan with 355 points.

NCAA Division III – The top 5 were undefeated until the Lord Jeffs stomped Williams: Amherst, Hope, Thomas More, Babson, Williams

NCAA Division II – The history buff loves the fact that Delta State is #1 and undefeated. Luksing behind: Lander University (S.C.), Fort Lewis (Colo.), Arkansas Tech and Clayton State (Ga.).

NJCAA Division I: Two undefeateds at the top: Pensacola State College and ye olde familiar Trinity Valley CC.

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From Inside Higher Ed, a little recruiting news: Verbal Commitments Challenged

A proposal to prohibit early verbal scholarship offers — a controversial practice that permeates football and men’s basketball — is among the major pieces of legislation on the docket for next week’s National Collegiate Athletic Association convention in San Antonio.

The NCAA convention takes place annually and gathers officials from institutions and conferences in all three of the association’s divisions. It is the culmination of the association’s yearly legislative cycle, and it is where some — though not all — of its rules for players and institutions are decided by its membership.

No surprise, Report shows DII athletics in line with institutional spending

In the first Division II revenues and expenses report compiled since 2004, athletics expenses at schools with football programs represented less than 6 percent of the institutional budget and 5 percent for schools without football.

The data also show that it costs less than half as much to operate a football program at the Division II level as it would in the Division I Football Championship Subdivision. The median expense for Division II schools with football is a little less than $4 million, while that figure is about $8.6 million for FCS programs. The operating cost is about $10.1 million for programs in the Division I Football Bowl Subdivision.

And more “no surprise,” DIII report shows alignment between athletics and institutional spending

Data from the most recent Division III revenues and expenses report show that the division is doing a good job of funding athletics participation opportunities without overly taxing institutional budgets.

The first report on athletics spending in Division III since 2002 shows that for schools offering football, athletics spending as a proportion of total institutional spending has moved only slightly – from 3.5 percent in 2005 to just over 4 percent in 2009. And for the non-football schools, athletics spending stayed fairly flat, between 2 and 2.5 percent of total spending.

Those percentages are significant, given that student-athletes compose roughly 30 percent of total enrollment in most Division III schools.

I wonder if the Sports Economists will weigh in.

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From the Register-Guard’s Curtis Anderson: Oregon State women’s basketball: Smiling time again – Oregon State’s road back to respectability starts with a Newberg connection

In college basketball, the leap from Division III to Division I is seldom made, so when Rueck threw his hat into the ring when the OSU women’s basketball head coaching job became available last summer, he kept his expectations low.

“I never truly believed they would hire me,” he said. “I was just hoping to get an interview, to learn more about the process, and maybe that would make me a better coach at George Fox.”

But the 41-year-old Rueck, who was born and raised in Hillsboro, underestimated his talents as a coach, and how much weight would be given to his being a 1991 OSU alum, graduating with a degree in education.

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With a h/t to FOB Julia, and as a nice companion piece to news that Debbie Yow was moving over to NC State (as one of only  28 female athletic directors at the Division I level) , from the Orlando Sentinel: Women see slow progress for athletic director jobs

There are only eight more Division I female athletic directors today than there were in 1996. Only five are on the FBS level. Only three head BCS programs — that is an all-time high.

Compare that to minority men. In 2009, there were 22 more minority men serving as Division I athletic directors compared to 1996. Today, there are 11 minority men who serve as FBS athletic directors. Five are at BCS schools.

FYI, check out this article from 2006 for more background info: Challenges confronting female intercollegiate athletic directors of NCAA member institutions by division and this one from 2004: 27 Year Study Shows Progression of Women in College Athletics

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They may not have many players, but Oregon State has found a new coach who will try to lead the program out of their current mess. Scott Rueck is leaving DIII George Fox to be the new head coach at his Alma Mater.

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