Monday, March 23, 2009

NIT Inequality

Leading Off (The Cuff):
Auburn's path to the women's NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 goes through Piscataway, N.J. today, where the Tigers play a road game against Rutgers. Here's the problem with the setup: Auburn is the better seed.
Don't think this is only directed at Auburn, though. Arizona State, a 6-seed, played what was essentially a first-round road game against Georgia, an 11-seed, in Duluth, Ga. Duke, a top-seed, plays tomorrow at 9-seed Michigan State. DePaul, a 7-seed, lost its first-round game to 10-seed San Diego State in, you guessed it, San Diego. Three-seed Louisville plays at six-seed LSU tomorrow. Eighth-seeded Georgia Tech overcame the home-court advantage held by 9-seed Iowa in a first-round game in Iowa City, Iowa.
Is it fair? No. It is, however, the way the tournament is currently structured. This isn't the men's tournament -- fans wouldn't support a neutral-city approach on the women's side. The other option is giving the better seed the home-court advantage and, really, when a committee comes up with the seeds I'm not sure that's any more fair.
Truth is, unless there are neutral sites, I'm not sure this is a fairness issue. The neutral site-theory hasn't even worked in the men's tournament, where Villanova, a 3-seed, played its first two games in Philadelphia.
Auburn didn't submit a bid to host the first two rounds years back when bids were due. Coach Nell Fortner said she hopes Auburn will try to host opening rounds in the future, but that obviously won't help this year. For now, the Tigers will now have to beat a Rutgers team that isn't as good as Auburn but has the home-court advantage.
A championship team would win this game. We'll find out tonight if Auburn is a championship team.

Today's Starting Lineup:
The women play their second game of the NCAA Tournament tonight when they face Rutgers in Piscataway. A trip to the Sweet 16 is on the line.
No. 15 Arkansas completed the sweep of Auburn in baseball this week.
Football is now just two days away.
Men's basketball is preparing for its Tuesday date with Baylor in the NIT quarterfinals.

Double Down on National Sports:
ESPN's Pat Forde opines the 2009 men's NCAA Tournament is not one for the underdogs.

Pitcher Curt Schilling is calling it a career. If I had a Hall vote, he would make the Hall of Very Good, but not the Hall of Fame. Being that he had a magical postseason moment in Boston's first world championship since 1919, though, my guess is he eventually makes the Hall.

Lance Armstrong's comeback hit a snag when he broke his collarbone in a crash. Let's just say he's overcome more than this in the past.

Japan topped the United States in the World Baseball Classic semifinals. Japan will face Korea in the finals tonight.

We'll be back with Around the League tomorrow.

Today's News
The Good:
This is more awesome than good: North Dakota is looking at Batmobile-type police cars. CNN

The Bad:
Every day it seems like there's more bad news for newspapers. CNN

The Absurd:
This couple took its sex life to an apparently unsafe level. Seriously? A saber saw blade? MSNBC

Ending on a High Note:
The housing market might be on the rebound quicker than expected. MSNBC

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