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From Jeff Jacobs at CT Now/Hartford Courant: Quinnipiac: Becoming A Giant: AD Jack McDonald’s Vision Is Turning Into Reality

“I’m the luckiest AD on the planet. Our programs, the medical school, the law school, Now, people use the words ‘up and coming.’ It is one of the hottest schools, athletically, academically, career-wise in the region. And today, today is a great step.”

St. Patrick’s Day would be a great Sunday for McDonald. After the “Irish Eyes are Miling” run in Cheshire, he would watch the fans storm Lender Court in celebration. Three hours later, the fans went crazy as the Bobcats pulled the goalie in the closing moments, tied the final game of ECAC quarterfinal series against Cornell at 2 and won it 3-2 with 5:52 left in double overtime on a goal by Kevin Bui.

Also out of Connecticut: Carl Adamec says, “Planting NCAA seeds takes some guesswork

You don’t need a degree from ESPNU to be a bracketologist.

Some knowledge is required, yes, but it’s the love of the game that qualifies you. So please join us. It’s time to stand up and be counted. Your guess is as good as anyone’s, including ESPN’s.

The 64 women’s basketball teams that will take part in the NCAA tournament will be announced Monday at 7 p.m. There are a lot of things we know and a lot of things we don’t. But trying to figure it out is where all the fun comes in.

Charlie discusses Things to look for Monday night – ESPN’s NCAA Selection Special is at 7 ET; coverage continues on ESPNU at 8 ET

Even as the final bracket projection was put together this weekend, some of the questions that popped up throughout the season still lingered. How the selection committee answers them will go a long way toward determining what the NCAA tournament bracket looks like when it’s unveiled on Selection Monday (ESPN, 7 p.m. ET, with continued coverage on ESPNU at 8 p.m. ET).

Here are the questions I’m most anxious to see answered Monday night.

The Rebkellian beknighted takes a shot at the Dancers using RPI

Full Court has a question (that might upset Bridgeport, CT folks): Will principles or profit guide NCAA bracketing?

it would be a surprise to nearly everyone involved in women’s basketball if the top four seeds are not Baylor, Notre Dame, Connecticut and Stanford in pretty much that order, as they have been the consensus top four for most, if not all, of the season.

That doesn’t mean, however, that there won’t be a very big question mark surrounding the bracketing of the four heavyweights. Because while most assume that UConn will be holding court in the Bridgeport, Conn., Regional, just as they have played at or near their home floor in the early and regional rounds for the past several years, it will take a major piece of legerdemain for the Selection Committee to get them there this year.

Also at Full Court, Paul White: Mid-Majors hold to script, for the most part

Players on NCAA Tournament bubble teams can breathe a bit easier after this week’s conclusion of the mid-major postseason tournaments.

Losses by St. Joseph’s (Atlantic 10), Green Bay (Horizon) and Delaware (Colonial Athletic) – as well as perhaps even Quinnipiac (Northeast) – in conference tournament finals would have provided NCAA Tournament bids to teams that would not have gotten in otherwise. All favorites prevailed, though, so bubble team supporters don’t have to chew on those fingernails quite so viciously in advance of Monday’s Selection Show.

Speaking of Mid-Majors, Lady Swish gives Hampton their due: Four–ward progress – Hampton does it again

David Six keeps insisting that when the 2012-13 Hampton Lady Pirates first assembled last fall, they weren’t very good.

Sure didn’t take ’em long to catch on. Or catch fire. Or leave the rest of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference in their wake once again.

In a never-in-doubt MEAC title game, the Lady Pirates smoked Howard 59-38 Saturday at the Norfolk Scope to complete a perfect conference schedule – 16-0 regular season; 3-0 tournament – claim their fourth straight conference crown and book yet another ticket to the NCAA Tournament. 

“I’m not going to say where we should be seeded, but I don’t think we’re a 15 or 16 seed,” said Six, who along with many others felt Hampton was underseeded at 16 last season. “I haven’t seen all the other teams play, but we’ve got some quality wins. I certainly don’t think we’re a 15, 16. I think 13 is fair.

Matt Sussman at Hustle Belt says,“Watch out for Central Michigan”:

CMU always had potential. They had a litany of good nonconference wins, perhaps the best collection in all of the MAC. They just had one too many conference losses which forced them into the quarterfinals instead of the semis. Then they got to work; a 33-point victory over Bowling Green, a second win against Toledo and now this masterpiece over the Zips.

Richard Kent at Swish Appeal has Five teams to watch in the 2013 NCAA Tournament

As we ponder and wonder what’s going to happen tonight and consider the future of the tournament, a little flashback:

2007: The NCAA Selection Committee: Opening the Vault and Looking Inside

Every year the (now) “Tuesday Night Quarterbacking” that follows Division I’s “Selection Monday” becomes a passionate exercise in “what ifs” and “how comes.” Depending on a coach’s relationship to those fortunate 64 teams, discussions can be fraught with emotion or wrapped in an almost scientific detachment. Most years one can guarantee the focus of people’s dissatisfaction will either be on the teams selected or on the make up of the brackets.

But last year, in a sort of basketball “perfect storm,” the ire was aimed at both. What followed was a firestorm (and some mocking) in the press and barbed comments from coaches about who got in, who got left out, why so many tops seeds were put in one region, why a top seed should play on a lower seed’s de facto home court, and on and on.

“It got a lot of attention,” reflected Kansas coach Bonnie Henrickson, in perhaps the understatement of the season.

2009: NCAA TOURNAMENT HOSTING: Hidden Hurdles and Helpful Hints

As college basketball moves into its season of review and reflection, doubtless there will be many discussions about the 2009  Division Itournament and the logistics of seeding, the needs of hosting, the restrictions of television and the current economic reality.

But as the women’s game seeks to strike the balance between a competitively balanced tournament and a well-attended one, we would be remiss to not examine the successes and challenges faced by the host institutions themselves. What lessons were learned and how might they be applied to games and tournaments across the Divisions?

Full Court’s John McGraw and Trevor Goodson are in Frankfort, Kentucky where Defense gets it done in NAIA Elite 8

Most of the time when teams fail to put points on the board in basketball, the outcome is considered ugly.  This was not the case as the top eight teams in the NAIA squared off for a chance to go the prestigious “Fab Four”, the NAIA version of the Final Four.  No team managed more than 63 points which happened when Cumberland (TN) barely edged Lubbock Christian (TX) 63-61.   Earlier in the day Westminster (UT) and Westmont (CA) combined for 75 (39-36) points in what was the lowest scoring game in NAIA tournament history.  These were great games though, games that any basketball junkie would have enjoyed because the defense on display was a close to perfect as possible. 

In other W news, Jayda talk with Sue Bird about her knee surgery

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except when they remind you that a D-I before your name doesn’t mean much. For instance:

Pepperdine played its lone exhibition contest of the 2012-13 season and dropped a 67-60 decision to 2012 NAIA National Quarterfinalist Westmont. (Westmont was actually the #1 seed, and got upset by some Chaps who were Ladies)

Kent State lost to Gannon University — ranked 15th in the DII preseason polls.

Having fun yet, new head coach Misti Cussen? Not so much, as Oral Roberts got hammered by DII Harding University. In their first exhibition game, the Lady Bisons got “shocked” by Wichita State.

Maggie Lucas from Penn State is blogging at ESPNw. So does Nerd City kid Chiney.

Candice Wiggins is writing at SlamOnline: Nike: The Goddess of Victory (It’s more than just a costume)

Mel has some Guru College Musings: Delaware and Delle Donne Still Making Their Own Histories

Delle Donne, however, is the first from a non-BCS conference to make the AP team since Amanda Wilson did likewise in 1998-99.

The AP preseason squad began in 1995-96, which is why you won’t see Nancy Lieberman, Lisa Leslie, Cheryl Miller, Ann Meyers-Drysdale, Lynette Woodard or Carol Blazejowski’s names on historical lists.

Technically, one could say Delle Donne is the first from a Mid-Major per se because back in 1998-99 no one was using BCS terminology, which is derived from the Bowl Championship Series in football.

The six power conferences usually monopolizing the BCS are Pac-12, Big East, Big 12, Big Ten, Atlantic Coast and Southeastern Conferences.

No one was using Mid-Major terminology, either.

From ESPN the Magazine: ‘Same heart, same pride, same fight’ – New Lady Vols head coach Holly Warlick leads pivotal transition

HOLLY WARLICK stands behind a large mahogany desk, her gray-blue eyes scanning the office in front of her. Autographed photos and lifetime achievement awards dot the walls around her; every imaginable kind of orange Tennessee memorabilia, from Lady Vols Russian nesting dolls to a Pat Summitt bobblehead, fill the massive bookcase at her back. “What am I supposed to do with all this?” Warlick asks to no one in particular. “It’s too big; it’s too empty. It’s just — it’s Pat’s.”

After 27 years as an assistant coach for the Lady Vols, Warlick always envisioned herself as the heir apparent to the legendary Summitt. Only it wasn’t supposed to happen this way. “I’d often joke I would be pushing her out of here to games in her wheelchair,” recalls the 54-year-old, her voice perma-hoarse from years of coaching. “Pat and I discussed it in this very room, and I was really, genuinely happy with that.” Instead, Summitt’s diagnosis of early-onset dementia in 2011 and subsequent retirement at the end of last season destroyed any dreams of a celebratory passing of the torch. Now, premature or not, the future of Tennessee women’s basketball rests squarely on Warlick’s shoulders.

Something to keep you focused during the NCAA season: From Nate: 2013 WNBA Draft: How do we identify prospects with the best chances for success in a ‘deep’ draft?

With James Bowman continuing his look at the top women’s college basketball programs this week, I’m going to start officially looking ahead to the 2013 WNBA Draft for the remainder of the week. We’ll begin today with a look at what NCAA Division I statistics suggest a player has the talent to make it as a pro, as we began to discuss previously.

Oh, and the NCAA approves tougher sanctions. Please excuse the side comments….

The NCAA is demanding everyone in *men’s high visibility* college sports play by the same book.

Those who deviate from it *if you can catch’em* and flout the rules *so that they can get the recruits that will keep their job and make the alumni happy* will soon be paying a steeper price. *of course, depending on how steep, the risk might still be worth it*

On Tuesday, the NCAA’s board of directors passed a package of sweeping changes that will hold coaches more accountable for rule-breaking offenses and threaten rogue programs *huh? Rogue suggests there are programs that currently flout the rules! I’m shocked? Are they scared?* with longer postseason bans and fines that could cost millions of dollars. *So, who hasn’t learned their lesson recently?*

Coaches *who are pissed off that they’ve seen “illegal” behavior but haven’t had the guts to actually make an official complaint* say it’s about time.

*I hear folks singing “Catch me if you can.”*

But critics worry this may be just another round of tough talk and little action.

“It sounds nice in theory but until I see a big-time coach like (John) Calipari or somebody get suspended for a year, I will not believe this will do anything,” said David Ridpath, an Ohio University professor and past president of the NCAA watchdog The Drake Group. “I think there a lot of loopholes in there when you start reading it.”

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but emails are even better.

Two arrived in my mail box yesterday, and I’m pleased to share them.

First, a combo WATN? Angela Gorsica, documentary alert and fundraising alert:

I enjoy reading the Women’s Hoops blog.  I was a player myself at Vanderbilt University from 1994-1997 – probably best remembered for being a 6’6″ shot blocker.  Go ‘Dores!  

These days I’m a documentary filmmaker and I’ve been working on a project for the last year and a half that you and your readers may really enjoy.  “Granny’s Got Game” is a documentary film about a senior women’s basketball team in North Carolina. These seven fiercely competitive women in their seventies battle physical limitations and social stigma to keep doing what they love. After two decades together, these women are more than a team…they are a family.

I hope that the film will not only honor these pioneers of our sport, but inspire people of all ages to stay active. You can watch a trailer for the film and find out more here:

http://www.indiegogo.com/GrannysGotGame

Please consider contributing and sharing this with your readers, friends, and contacts in the women’s basketball world. The fundraising campaign runs until April 29th, so if you are swamped with March Madness stories, please consider writing about this after the Final Four.  I’ll be glad to answer any questions or provide more details about the film and its backstory.

Thank you very much!
Angela Gorsica Alford

Second, more thoughts on “D1 ADs Thinking Outside of the Box” when they’re looking for new head coaches.” from reader and head coach at Martin Methodist College (TN), Jamy Bechler.

Best Basketball Coaches Not on TV

A recent blog posting by Helen Wheelock got me thinking about coaching job searches and who administrators hire.  Seems like most of the talk always centers around the DI coaches, especially the “up-and-comers”.  I do not profess to know exactly what makes a good coach in all situations.  Good coaches in a bad situation can lead to struggles and failures, whereas unproven coaches (i.e. assistants) in good situations can lead to success and excitement.  I decided to put together a list of some of the best coaches I know.  These coaches are not necessarily up-and-comers.  They are just individuals that know what they are doing and have proven they can get the job done.  Isn’t that what is important for an A.D. anyway?  Coaching X’s and O’s are pretty much a common language across the divisions.  In fact, often at the lower levels, a coach needs to be even more diverse and versatile in their coaching strategies because they are not always able to hand pick the exact team that they’d like to have each year like their Division I counterparts. 

In terms of recruiting, it all is a game of salesmanship.  What is the product that you are selling, how much do you believe in the product and how will you best sell it.  For a small college coach, there are numerous obstacles (cost, lack of name recognition and branding, less gear, less television exposure, etc…).  Small college coaches are like the paper salespeople in the hit TV show “The Office” when going up against Office Depot and Staples…they have to be creative, persistent, and truly believe in what they are doing.  I would suggest that small college coaches can coach at the DI level successfully.  A lack of DI experience by the head coach can be made up by a competent staff that does have some DI experience. 

So, without further a due, here are some of the best coaches that I know (I’ve been around a lot of places over the years and have met some great coaches that aren’t on this list…that doesn’t mean they can’t coach or that I think less of them, I’ve just limited it to those that come to mind right away).

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NJCAA DI has some familiar names in the Top 5:

Scovel’s Gulf Coast State College sits in the ninth spot.

NAIA DII  – Oh, yah, we recognize #1. And the other four.

NAIA DI  – More familiar names…..

As D3hoops.com gears up for the Tourney, here’s how the teams stand in the latest NCAA DIII poll:

FWIW: University of Mary Washington is 25-0 and sits in the 7th spot. Interim coach Karima McKenzie has Kean still winning – they’re in the #23 spot.

NCAA Division II – cool! I’m seeing new names!

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Sweet pick up by Jayda

Did you see? Edmonds hooper cracks SportsCenter Top-10

On an in-bounds play with seven-tenths of a second on the clock, Clauson bounced the ball off an opponent, caught the ball and sank a 10-foot game-winner. Fans stormed Clauson in celebration of the smart play and 63-61 win against The College of Idaho.

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Fans of this blog will recall my infatuation with the Oglethorpe Stormy Petrels.

SO, how could I resist this headline?!? Ihnen Reaches 1,000-Point Milestone as Lady Hardrocker

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The upcoming Terp season opener seems to have restored the DC BasketCases normal joie de vivre. They’ve got some great links:

Great interview with Coach B courtesy of Columnist Peter Schmuck of the Baltimore Sun (link here).

And another interesting article from Gene Wang of the Washington Post (link here).

Check out the Maryland preview that’s part of the “12 Days of ACC Basketball” series on ACC.com (link here).

And you can listen to Coach B’s interview with David Siegel on WSTR internet radio (link here).
On the West Coast, Sue checked out the USC exhibition game v. Biola University of La Mirada (NAIA).
Virginia area’s Lady Swish is in countdown mode: Gimme five! – Part III
Can’t wait for Friday’s season openers? Then check out our week-long preview – five thoughts on five topics each day for five days.

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