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Sports News:
Lack of marquee games to make NCAA tourney selection harder

Geno Auriemma is used to having marquee non-conference matchups to check his UConn Huskies throughout the common season.

That hasn’t occurred this yr because the Huskies haven’t performed a group outdoors the Big East who’s ranked as a result of of the coronavirus pandemic. UConn had games scheduled early on towards No. 2 Louisville and then-No. 6 Mississippi State, however these have been worn out when the Huskies have been on pause as a result of of the virus.

A recreation towards Baylor was canned earlier this month when Lady Bears coach Kim Mulkey examined optimistic for the coronavirus. UConn has two extra possibilities to play non-conference ranked groups with Tennessee and South Carolina on the schedule.

The Huskies aren’t alone with games getting worn out as 10 of the present members of the AP girls’s basketball ballot haven’t performed a non-conference ranked opponent but this season, together with the 5 Pac-12 groups who’re within the Top 25.

Five extra have solely performed one ranked opponent who isn’t of their convention. The solely non-conference matchup between high 10 groups this season was an early-season contest between then-No. 1 South Carolina and eight-ranked N.C. State. The Wolfpack pulled off the upset. Conversely on the boys’s aspect a majority of the present Top 25 have performed a minimum of one ranked non-conference opponent.

The lack of marquee non-conference matchups might trigger the NCAA girls’s basketball selection committee some agita when making an attempt to determine who deserves to be within the NCAA Tournament and the place groups must be seeded.

“It’s not going to be apples to apples this year,” selection committee chairwoman Nina King stated in a cellphone interview with the AP. “It’s certainly a challenge. … The thing about selecting teams is it isn’t one piece of criteria we look at. It’s a lot of different things. One isn’t more weighed than another. We’ll have lively discussions.”

Longtime ESPN and CBS analyst Deb Antonelli was unhappy for the game that so many nice games have been canceled or postponed.

“It’s disappointing we can’t showcase the game at the highest level because our game has prospered and grown in so many ways,” she stated. “The so-called eye test is really going to put additional pressure on the committee because whether you like the numbers or metrics, having the whole tournament in San Antonio removes geography, now they can’t hide behind the geography.”

King admitted it could be harder to choose 64 groups this yr with much less information from non-conference matchups, however she has religion the committee will get it performed.

“We will have a true S-curve this year, but I really haven’t thought that far ahead yet” she stated. “I’m centered as my committee colleagues are on watching groups and seeing how we are going to do alternatives this yr.

Auriemma joked that with the cancellations of a number of marquee non-conference matchups nationwide the committee might need to have to think about groups’ reputations much more than regular when making a bracket.

“You know the movie ‘Casablanca’ … where they go, ‘Round up the usual suspects?’” Auriemma stated. “I think that’s what’s gonna happen. When it all breaks down, just round up the usual suspects.”

With all of the games which were postponed or cancelled up to now there’s some worry that groups could not even attain the 13-game minimal. UConn has performed solely seven games and its subsequent two have been postponed.

Teams can’t begin submitting waivers till Feb. 26 to the NCAA petitioning to be allowed to play within the match in the event that they don’t meet the minimal commonplace. After the deadline, waivers would solely be thought of if a convention match was canceled and that may have been a group’s thirteenth recreation. Teams can also solely rely one of their match games in the direction of the 13.

“It’s unprecedented and there’s no handbook for this one either. We’ll work through,” King stated. “COVID is COVID and we don’t want to penalize a team for the uncontrollable.”

___

More AP girls’s basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/womens-college-basketball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25

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