So I was predicting this little conference of ours could have 2 or 3 or even 4, maybe even 5 bids to the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament. Well, they ended with two. Central Michigan and Buffalo each made the Sweet 16 last season, had solid seasons, and were invited back. Good news, 2 bid league two years in a row and all. Ohio, which made the MAC Championship game in a very tough league, was told they are not one of the 64 best teams in the country and they don’t deserve a shot at the national title. Upon learning the news, I may have wanted to break some furniture or kick a puppy, but I decided to take a more Zen approach and wait a bit before posting. I am glad I did, because no puppy ever deserves to be kicked and I like my couch. I also realized that I am ecstatic Ohio got snubbed. Let’s see why!
First, let’s look at the two teams that got in from our beloved conference. Both teams are fantastic. Both could make a similar, or even better, runs in this NCAA tournament. I don’t see either team winning it all, however. First round win, sure. Sweet 16 appearance is a good possibility. Elite 8 or final 4 even, maybe! Win it all? I just don’t see it. At the highest level, the competition in the women’s games goes to a significantly higher level. Our MAC representatives are very good teams. Maybe even better than the teams that made the sweet 16 last season. Ohio beat both of them this season. Sure they lost to them, too, but isn’t that what a 64 team tournament is all about? Who COULD win? Anyway,
Second, let’s look at why Ohio maybe should be in. Other than beating a couple teams that made the tournament, and the sweet 16 last season, they finished with a 27-5 record. In any league, anywhere, that is phenomenal. Throw in a non-conference win against Purdue and a three game series against arch-rival Miami (another team that probably should have been in the tournament) and, yes, Virginia there is a Santa Clause that would have put Ohio in the NCAA tournament.
Three, why would I be glad they got snubbed? There is a lot going on here. Why would I say three instead of third? Who cares? Why I am glad is because I believe in this Ohio team. Bob Boldon is a heck of a coach. I am a huge fan of Alexander Dumas and his tales of adventure. In one of his books, I remember him quoting a prince of the blood, “Tell him I am still a man of action!” Boldon, as successful as he has been, still has the fire. I went to the Ohio loss against Central Michigan, and I was impressed by his fire.
His team is young, so of course they have fire. The vast majority of this great, but snubbed team, is back next season. And that is why I am happy they got the shaft.
Bottom line, this Ohio team is weak in the middle. Their best player is great, but struggles to shoot from outside in a shooters league. Are they a great team? Yes. Would they have won the NCAA tournament this year? Probably not. Could this particular batch of kids and coach win it next year, with the proper motivation, like a snub?