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SBD/September 24, 2013/Colleges
Major Changes Recommended For NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament
Published September 24, 2013
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TIMES THEY ARE A-CHANGIN: The AP's Doug Feinberg noted moving the first two rounds of the tournament to the top seeds' home court "could help attendance." The NCAA last season "averaged 5,466 for all tournament rounds, which was 17th since the tournament began" in '82. However, making that change "would most likely lose a school like Gonzaga, which has been one of the most successful sites over the past few seasons." Gonzaga coach Kelly Graves: "I'm a little disappointed in it if they go that way. The NCAA has to decide what are we doing? What's important? Is it the atmosphere, the show on TV? If they do go that way it will probably take some drama out of the dramaless rounds" (AP, 9/23). Ackerman following the meeting said, "I'm still trying to digest it. We had a great group -- this was a significant part of the women's basketball brain trust all in one place." ESPN.com's Mechelle Voepel noted Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw and Tennessee coach Holly Warlick both "spoke in favor" of moving the Final Four to the weekend after the Men's Final Four. It would mean the Women's Final Four is "held the same weekend as the Masters," but that is a "daytime event, whereas the basketball is in the evening." Warlick said, "I think being the same weekend of the guys' Final Four, we get kind of lost." However, others at the summit "expressed concern that viewers will have essentially 'checked out' of watching collegiate basketball a week after the men's Final Four." Meanwhile, returning to a Friday-Sunday format "seemed a popular idea" (ESPN.com, 9/23).