Parity between Men’s and Women’s Tournaments
Undoubtedly, women have proven themselves to be on par with their collegiate male counterparts and they deliver a brand of basketball and other sports that draw huge followings. In fact, women’s sports equal or exceed the male equivalent in popularity and revenue generation in many schools around the country. So much so that ESPN and the NCAA extended an existing agreement in 2011 for the exclusive broadcast of women’s NCAA postseason basketball and other championships through 2024.
Reality Check: Sadly, gender gaps on a number of socioeconomic levels remain a reality that we all wish would disappear. As an example, the disparity in primetime or national coverage as well as the financial contract terms tied to men’s and women’s basketball is quite significant (millions vs. billions). Hopefully, a collective societal thrust fueled by education and awareness will continue narrowing these historical inequalities quickly and permanently.
“Cinderella” Crowned a Champion
Despite the absence of a formal definition for Cinderella, most would agree it’s probably a team from a mid-major or smaller conference that is relatively unknown and is generally ranked a 10-seed or lower. In recent years, these teams have won the hearts of fans around the nation writing their David against Goliath-like scripts that have seen them advance as far as the Final Four. Just in 2011, VCU, an 11-seed with point guard Joey Rodriguez at the controls, silenced the critics who questioned their selection with an improbable run to the Final Four before losing valiantly to 8-seed Butler in a close semifinals.
Reality check: Since 1985, only three teams seeded 10 or lower have made the Final Four but fell short of playing in the national championship game. These teams include LSU (1986), George Mason (2006) and the aforementioned VCU (2011). So no team in the championship based on the Cinderella description? It won’t take much to figure out the probability on this one.