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It is time for the UConn women to play against the guys?

January 22, 2010 – 5:43 AM

By Laura Pappano

Obviously, the UConn Women’s Basketball team under coach Geno Auriemma isn’t merely good. They are dominant. Of 20 games played so far, they have won 14 of by more than 30 points (including four by more than 50 points). The closest game was a 12-point win over Stanford.

So what does this mean?

For one thing, grouchy (but observant) Connecticut message-boarders are saying that the games aren’t interesting.

“The first words that come out of people’s mouths are why watch a blowout or why watch when you already know the outcome,” writes one poster, worried about UConn attendance dropping because they’re too good. People are “still UConn fans, but they want to watch a good game, not just a game with a good team anymore.”

Such whiners, however, have a point. And it’s a legitimate point that gets lost when people vehemently argue that people prefer to see guys play (pick the sport) because they may jump higher or run faster that the females who may play that same sport. Not true. People come to see competition. That is why college football has a TV following (as long as the game is tight) when the skill level in the NFL is dramatically higher.

Competition drives the thrill of sport.

A decade (or two) ago, we might have looked at UConn’s dominance as a sign that women’s basketball simply wasn’t there yet. (The old when-will-we-have-parity? prayer). But we have had some years of “parity” (remember Maryland’s 2006 win? A 3-pointer at the buzzer by Kristi Toliver to send the game against Duke into OT?) Baylor took it the year before.

This time is different. There is parity outside of UConn and plenty of fast-paced, exciting play. (Heck, there’s even dunking). But maybe Auriemma’s team could use some different competition. Maybe it’s time to play men. Which division TBD, but in a comparison that (take a breath, guys) I know is not fair, consider how the Huskies — men and women — stack up against one another in stats so far this season:

—      Total points scored: Advantage women (1516 vs. 1247)
—      Field goal percentage: Advantage women (.526 vs. .472)
—     3-point field goals made per game: Advantage women (6.1 vs. 3.9)
—     Free throws made per game: Advantage men (16.5 vs. 12.6)
—      Turnovers per game: Slight advantage men (13.6 vs. 14.9)
—     Steals per game (think drama): Advantage women (11.6 vs. 6.5)
—      Rebounds per game: Small advantage women (42.6 vs. 39.8)

Interested yet? I am (and I bet those message board posters and a whole lot of other folks would tune in, too).

  1. 3 Responses to “It is time for the UConn women to play against the guys?”

  2. Interesting idea. I wouldn’t mind seeing a UConn men’s vs women’s game. Sometimes these lady’s don’t get enough credit. For the most part, men think they could beat any women just because they are men. But playing in college and playing versus many guys in the past, I know for a fact that is not necessarily the case. My friend, who is male and has season tickets to the Liberty, says the women’s college games are getting boring due to lack of competition- and he is not being sexist. He’s just stating the truth.

    By Zalika Green on Jan 22, 2010

  3. It is a little ho-hum to watch UConn women’s basketball these days but on the flip side, they’re actually getting some attention from ESPN and you bet there are other coaches out there figuring out how they can get better and beat the Huskies. Instead of looking to men to offer the team a better game, let’s look at the Huskies as the team that will set the standard that other women’s college teams will strive for. Don’t give up on the other women’s teams. Someone will make another run — if not this year, then next. And then we will get the parity — and competition — that we are looking for.

    By Sarah Feyerherm on Jan 25, 2010

  4. Styles of play between mens and womens NCAA basketball is drastically different. Comparing stats seems to be a non-point especially since the 3 point line is different. I do, however, think that several womens teams could issue a beating to mens teams. They are great athletes and by discounting the validity of comparative statistics I do not mean to downplay them AT ALL, I just don’t think it provides a strong case for co-ed NCAA santioned or even exhibition matches. Not to mention the women would have everything to gain and the men would have everything to lose. Not happening anytime soon. Wish it would though.

    By alli_son on Feb 5, 2010

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