--By Mike Gilpatrick
--Photo by Jared Anderson
It’s the most wonderful time of the year. March Madness. Louisville is a one-seed in the NCAA Tournament, and already, there are surprises.
We found out a few hours early that Jeff Walz and company will take on 16-seed Robert Morris on Friday at noon; to begin their quest for Tampa, and a national championship. They’re a one-seed for the second consecutive season.
Here’s a few reactions to the selection show blunder, and Louisville’s path to the promise land…
Officiating the Selection Show?
The selection was originally scheduled to release at 7pm on ESPN. ESPN shot themselves in the foot, and released it a few hours early, accidentally. The four-letter network decided to move the announcement show up to 5pm, on one of their other networks.
The error, which was on-par with a typical women’s basketball officiating crew, made the release awkward for the entire field. ESPN hosted a selection show on the original network at the original time; and gave teams a chance to appear on national TV, but the damage was done.
ESPN moved the original selection show at 5 to ESPN2, which while great; is not their flagship network. Around the Horn, one of the many talk shows that ESPN has, remained on the flagship station. While women’s basketball coverage may not get as many ratings as men’s, surely it would get more than a derivative talk show with almost-identical takes as nearly every other sports show.
Louisville’s path to the promise land
Louisville’s path, if higher seeds win; includes: Michigan, Oregon State, and… CONNECTICUT.
Asia Durr and Dana Evans blasted the Huskies with 24 and 20 points, respectively. They led the Cardinals to a 78-69 win on January 31st.
Since then, Connecticut has looked like their old selves, and won 13-consecutive games, including the American Athletic Tournament championship. Storrs, Connecticut is just over 2 hours away from Albany, where the regional final will take place. Louisville, on the other hand, is over a 12-hour drive, or over a four-hour flight.
The Elite Eight game may look like a Connecticut home game. If so, Jeff Walz and company will need to be ready for a loud, hostile environment.
If they get past UConn, Louisville may have another chance to beat Notre Dame, on the largest stage in women’s college basketball: the Final Four. Notre Dame is the top seed in Chicago.
Time and dates of the first and second
Louisville plays the first and second rounds on Friday and Sunday. Game one, against Robert Morris, is at 12 noon. The second game has not had an announced start-time.
If the NCAA wanted to capitalize on generating revenue, they should have put the start-time back a few hours, and allowed Louisvillians to have a chance to leave work and come to the game, or tune into ESPN for the game. Louisville is the third-highest grossing market for women’s basketball. They averaged close to ten-thousand fans this season.
Maybe it’s fairness. 12 noon is a time that many fans can’t leave work for. This, in addition to Jeff Walz’s first-round tournament ban, may give Robert Morris a *slightly* better chance at victory.
Regardless, this is the most wonderful time of the year for many college basketball fans. March Madness is here! There’s bound to be plenty of madness to go around.