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Covering the Women's Dance

By Gail Burton - AP

I've covered the NCAA men's tournament three or four times in my years as a pseudo-sportswriter. I've never covered the NCAA women's tournament. But it's in College Park today, and I couldn't stand another day by myself in front of a television watching my men's brackets implode, so here I am at a mostly full Comcast Center. And thus, here are a few observations on the similarities and differences between the two events. Feel free to point out that the sample size here is kind of limited.

As for the top-seeded Terps, they've dominated Dartmouth throughout a drab first half and will win by about 30 points when it's all said and done.


All beverages must be decanted into those purple and white Vitamin Water cups that have gotten more air time this month than Jim Calhoun's medical records. Even other Glaceau product bottles. For the record, mine was a Dunkin Donuts coffee cup that was cruelly denied its moment in the sun by this rule.


No Rock 'N Roll Part II chant from the Maryland students. For that matter, no Maryland students. (UPDATE: You know, I just wandered around and there are actually a decent number of Terps students, they just seem to be seated all over the joint and not together.)


You can find Maryland boosters at the women's tournament talking about the Maryland men's basketball team. "We ran into a buzzsaw," one prominent longtime Terps booster said to a friend a few minutes before tip-off of Villanova-Utah, this afternoon's opening game.


The score after 3 minutes and 50 seconds of the opening game was 10-0 for ninth-seeded Utah over eighth-seeded Villanova. There were two ridiculous airballs before the second media timeout. It was 26-16 at haltime, which struck me as low-scoring, until 'Nova went for 14 in the second half to lose 60-30. You just don't see many higher seeds get doubled up in the men's event. (As for blowouts, it took 16th-seeded Dartmouth 4 minutes and 31 seconds to score a point against Maryland.)


The Villanova pep band members have little nicknames on the back of their t-shirts, just as they do at men's games. The band leader is called "Turbo." Someone else is named Pistachio. A third is Stu the Bus Driver. But 'Nova has two rotating sets of cheerleaders, so the ones who came to D.C. aren't the same who cheered in Philly against American.


The halftime entertainment for Game 1 consisted of three local middle school (?) cheerleading outfits. For Game 2, it was elementary school girls playing full-court no-travel rules; they earned multiple ovations. Also, Maryland star Kristi Toliver was standing in the tunnel by herself watching the Utah-Villanova game. Also, the head coach of the home team is being friendly. Also, there's a home team. Also, the head coach of visiting Dartmouth has already wandered into the stands during pre-game warm-ups to kiss babies. Also, the players on the Maryland bench are leading the "De-Fense" cheers.


Maryland fan in Sean Taylor jersey. Always a classic look. Also, the Maryland pep band is playing the "Tetris" music, just like at men's games. Can never get enough of that.


This is more Maryland men's vs. Maryland women's, but you can drive up to the closest parking lot to the Comcast Center, without possessing either a real parking pass or your actual newspaper ID, fumble through your bag, come up with a Wizards credential, and still park steps away from the entrance.


"Big Dance" terminology. The Dartmouth fan contingent is mostly wearing "Let's Dance" shirts. I wish they would.


Men's NCAA sites have entire sections devoted for the fans of each teams, where the team colors go from floor to top row. Here, it's just all red with small pockets of Dartmouth green. Though the Big Green fans are loud. Their noisy "De-Fense" chants prompted some Maryland fans to try chanting "Of-Fense" in retaliation.


Media popcorn. The NCAA must buy that stuff by the kilo.


No one is gathered around monitors in the concourse to check out the scores of other games. No one is talking about their brackets. No one is screaming at themselves in agony over undervaluing the Big East. And no one would have been burned by trusting Utah to win.

By Dan Steinberg  |  March 22, 2009; 3:06 PM ET
Categories:  College Basketball , Terps  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Simon Says: AU's Season Ends in Philly
Next: Maryland Women's Team Eats Kids


The Post should take a look at the Virginia Tech women's basketball program. Beth Dunkeberger needs to go or at the very least needs to get rid of a few of her assistants. Kristi Toliver fell into Maryland's lap after changes at VT. She was a Hokie.

Posted by: sitruc | March 22, 2009 7:41 PM | Report abuse

Same: both men's and women's games attract celebrity fans.

Different: the men get Ravens brass; the women get Gheorge Muresan.

Posted by: info_stuporhighway | March 22, 2009 8:13 PM | Report abuse

Oh and my post was only about 83.33% serious.

Posted by: sitruc | March 23, 2009 12:15 AM | Report abuse

No post investigation is necessary, Dunkenberger just needs to be fired. Tech used to have a great coach, and they let her walk. End of story.

Posted by: VTDuffman | March 23, 2009 8:41 AM | Report abuse

Tony K does not fill out a women's bracket and Feinstein doesn't do preview analysis on each region. This despite that they're links to both of these from below the women's bracket on the Post web site! Except they are for the men's tourney!!

Posted by: Dougmacintyre | March 23, 2009 9:20 AM | Report abuse

Womens brackets raise many questions: Duke is a number one seed. Their second round game is at Michigan State against Michigan State. If they get to the regional finals they play Stanford on Stanford's home court. What good is it to be a number one seed? The men do a much better job of setting up pairings.

Posted by: sportsfan2 | March 23, 2009 10:52 AM | Report abuse

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