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Courtside Conversations with Paul Johnson
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 06/22/2004
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March 11, 2004

Postseason NCAA women's basketball is a mess. There are selection committee members that have no idea what is going on, "neutral sites" that are really home arenas, and a seeding process that borders on the ridiculous. And again this season, the Wildcats may be caught in the middle.

All Arizona accomplished this season was to win 24 games, capture a share of the Pac-10 regular season title, and make a run to finals of the conference tournament before losing a nail-biter to Stanford. Even after all of this, the Cats are unranked, and at least according to two major forecasts, are about to be sent a slaughterhouse known as the University of Texas. Why? Because postseason NCAA women's basketball is a mess.

According to ESPN.com's Charlie Creme, Arizona will end up as a No. 9 seed and play No. 8 Miami (Fla.). The winner will get the thrill of taking on 2nd-ranked Texas (a sure No. 1 tournament seed) on its home floor. Whoopee! Meanwhile, other Pac-10 teams could have a much easier road to the Sweet Sixteen. Stanford, who shared the conference championship with Arizona, is a projected No. 4 seed and would play at Missoula, Mont. -- home of the 13th-seeded Grizzlies. The best team in that bracket, aside from Stanford, would be No. 5 seed Baylor.

Now, I understand that Stanford beat Arizona in the conference finals, but a No. 4 seed versus Arizona's No. 9 seed? You have got to be kidding! Aren't you? Meanwhile, UCLA, which finished three games behind the Wildcats in the conference standings, would get a No. 12 seed and play closer to home at New Mexico. They would have to go through 4th-seeded Oklahoma to reach the third round. So, do you see the ridiculousness of all of this? A ninth seed has to play at the home site of a number one, and an 11th seed has the pleasure of playing a No. 4 seed on the home court of a 13th seed. Huh?

I know, it makes no sense, just like it didn't make any sense when Arizona won 24 games in 2000 before being sent to Knoxville to eventually play Tennessee on its home court. Remember that ASU will not play in this year's tournament, and Tempe is a hosting site. Are you telling me that the Pac-10 regular season champions don't have the right to play on that floor? It comes down to a single point. No one involved with the selection process seems to understand the Pac-10 or Arizona. Maybe someone should be doing their homework and learn that Arizona is pretty darn good. They won six of their last seven games. The players and coaches deserve better than to be "homered" in Austin.

If Mr. Creme is correct, and he may very well be, this will be the biggest hose job since people were counting votes through magnifying glasses in Palm Beach, Florida. Well, please excuse me if I don't take anyone seriously, ever again, if this scenario comes into play. I guess I'll just have to accept the fact that postseason NCAA women's basketball is a mess.

See you on the radio!
Paul Johnson

*All Arizona women's basketball games are broadcast live on KJLL 1330 AM!

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