I know we'll get a backlash from this, but I don't care too much at this point...I've been biting my tongue for a bit, and I've bitten it clean off.
I'm not a fan of women's basketball. I don't like watching it, don't find it interesting...and you know what- I don't really care if you disagree with me. I don't mean that in a mean way, but I'm probably not going to sell not liking women's basketball to you, if you're a fan. And I'm positive you're not going to be able to convince me to become a fan of the game...so let's get that out of the way.
As long as Purdue's athletic department has a women's team, I'll root for them to do well as I want to see Purdue succeed in whatever endeavor it enters. But, just like I don't follow men's cross country (for instance) and wish them well...same goes for the Lady Boilers on the hardwood.
I think a lot of people think like I do about the women's game. Attendance and financial woes in the WNBA and across the nation in women's college basketball reaffirms my belief. Talking to people I know does the same...but EsPN continues to try to force the women's game upon the average fan...and I don't think it's working. More and more, they have women's highlights along side men's during college basketball highlight shows- and that's their right. And as a consumer, I in turn have the right to turn the channel or turn it off all-together.
The network's coverage of UConn's historic winning streak has been persistant and pervasive. In the defense of the producers, it's a pretty big deal to win that many games in a row in a division 1 sport. But, the cross-gender comparisons are silly and a line needs to be drawn.
The Lady Huskies seem to beat an opponent EACH SEASON by 70 points or so. Wooden's dominant teams also beat a few teams badly each year...but the average margin of these shellackings was around 50...and that type of win was not a regular occurrence. During the NCAA tourney, UCLA's teams when they won by a high margin would win by 15-20 points. The Lady Huskies, conversely, in the 2010 tourney won by 56, 54, 48 and 40...in consecutive tournament games.
I think the women's basketball fan might say that these numbers show just how dominant Ariemma's team is. I'd counter by saying these beatings do nothing but tear down the legitimacy of their game and show how little parity there is in their sport. And at the same time, UCLA's margins show how difficult their competition was and how similarly-talented their opponents were.
You simply don't see men's basketball teams win in the NCAA tournament (after the first round) by more than 30 points. But, in the women's game, 50 and 60 point margins are the norm for the upper echelon in that sport.
Another problem I have comparing women's and men's basketball is the details of the game
simply aren't the same...and those details matter. The women's ball is smaller and lighter and their three point line is closer.
Why does this matter? Because I've had multiple women's fans tell me that some of these girls could play the men's game. Sure, there are many that are great athletes and great shooters. BUT, shooting a smaller, lighter ball through the same size hoop from a closer distance is simply easier. If we want equitable talk- take away the 28.5 right away and move the three point line back to the men's line. Let's see what happens to the women's game.
Next, and most-obvious, the speed, and strength of the game isn't comprable.
It's a big story (according to EsPN) when a woman is able to dunk the basketball in college and in the WNBA. We see it each year when a female player does it in a game. But think about this- Lewis Jackson is far and away Purdue's shortest player on scholarship. He's listed at 5'9". He's probably closer to 5'7". No matter- he can not only dunk, but double pump on the way up or two hand reverse dunk...and I've never seen Sports Center anchors salivate with anticipation that LewJack might dunk sometime in the coming season. BUT, they did just that for multiple female players- specifically 6'4" Candace Parker (most recently).
The point is, the two games are very, very different. And for that reason the comparisons from the Men's to Women's games are like comparing a hockey team's feat to a basketball team's. It's asinine. Granted that doesn't stop EsPN from doing that either...so at least they're consistently moronic.
Let me close with one more point of comparison. And at this point, I don't think it needs to be made, but it shows how truly different the men's and women's games really are.
UConn is unquestionably the most-dominant women's team ever. As I talked about earlier, they're dominant because they're coached well, have some of the most-talented players and are a good-sized team.
Let's compare and contrast them with (arguably) the worst Division I men's team- Alcorn State, who our Boilers beat 103-48 earlier this season, is considered by some to be the worst in America. They have no wins on the season. They've been beaten by 30 and 40 points multiple times this season...So let's see how they'd match up v. the starting 5 of the Lady Huskies:
ACSU Men v. UConn Women
F Francis 6'8" 195 v. F Moore 6'0" 170
F Starks 6'8" 211 v. C Dolson 6'5" ???
G McDonald 5'10" 165 v. G Hartley 5'10 145
G Walker 6'2" 195 v. G Hayes 5'10 ???
G Ingram 6'3" 180 v. G Faris 5'11 155
-Alcorn St. brings a few guys off the bench (goes about 9 deep), who are 6'4"+ 200+
-UConn (who goes about 10 deep) brings players between 5'4" and 6'5" who weigh from 145 to around 180 (???)
It's crystal clear how silly that comparison really is. If they were to play, it'd be even clearer how it makes no sense to compare them. For this reason I can't wait for this UConn story to end and the cross-gender comparisons to stop.
Just like Pat Summitt shouldn't be compared to Bobby Knight, the 2010 Lady Huskies shouldn't be compared to the 1974 UCLA Men's Bruins.
But I'll make a promise- if the Lady Boilers can win the national title and get this crap off of my television, I'll do a first and post a story about the Lady Boilers basketball squad as a thank you.