Every year towards the end of March, we come to a time period where sports news is crazy. MLB opening day starts in around a week, NFL offseason is in full swing, NBA and NHL seasons still have 3 weeks of regular season play left, and the March Madness tournament is starting this week. We always talk about March Madness and how it is an exciting tournament with unpredictable upsets each year, but the women’s March Madness is never talked about nor is it in the media. Now before I begin talking about it, I must give out the official warning: this is not an article about gender rights, but rather another side of basketball.
PHOTO ILLUSTRATION BY EMILY SCHERER / GETTY IMAGES / REUTERS (via FiveThirtyEight)
According to Google Dictionary, the term madness has multiple definitions. The definition we will focus on according to Google is this: “a state of frenzied or chaotic activity”. Now yes, the men’s side does get more chaotic and there is more drama, and that’s what everyone wants, but I am here to tell you that the women’s side also has a lot of drama also. This year, ESPN had made a technical error and already announced the women’s brackets before it was scheduled to do so and it caused a lot of drama, but not many people really bothered or quite frankly really talked about it. This will probably be the only thing I really hear about women’s March Madness, but we can change that. If we want to change that, it has to be this year and we shall dive into the details as to why.
Unlike previous years in the women’s March Madness, where UConn was dominating all the time, this year, they don’t even have the #1 seed in the Albany bracket, as that is taken by Louisville, who finished 29-3 overall and have steam-rolled through conference play, finishing 14-2 and beating teams like UConn and Syracuse to earn the seed by the selection committee. A team like UConn, who was second overall seed in the rankings, only got the #2 seed this tournament by the selection, and seeing a hungry and motivated UConn will make all opponents terrified as they finished with a 31-2 record and dominating conference play like usual and going undefeated (16-0). Their only losses this season were to Baylor, who is the #1 overall seed by 11 and to Louisville by 9, but they can once again show their dominance and steam-roll the entire tournament. Overall, there are 7 really good teams this year in the women’s side and there may be not that much drama early on as there is not as much “madness” with the teams but later on, there will definitely be an interesting elite 8 to watch.
Before the tournament became wide open in the last few years, we were seeing an unprecedented dominance in college basketball regardless of any gender. UConn women’s basketball went on a 111 game winning streak, not losing from the fall of 2014 all the way until March Madness 2 years ago, where they lost on a buzzer beater to Mississippi State in the Final Four. After that buzzer beater, UConn hasn’t been as dominant, and for those who like the drama and chaos, now is the time to watch women’s March Madness.
I say this is the year because in the men’s bracket, Duke is the overwhelming favorite to win it all as they have 3 of the top players in the NBA draft class in Zion Williamson, RJ Barrett, Cam Reddish, and they are all one and done college basketball players. If those 3 players are calm, composed, and control the tempo of the game, they will be able to run over everyone in their path. This could cause fans to not watch and instead take a chance and watch the women’s bracket. Overall, womens basketball needs more attention as this year could be the year that women’s March Madness will be more competitive than the men’s March Madness. There will be more drama in the later rounds unlike the men’s bracket and there is no clear winner this year in the women’s bracket.