Oh, I guess it’s the parity

I ran a search engine for parity in women’s college basketball, to see if anyone had any theories about what had happened this past week. I found one story from the Oct. 6, 2008 edition of USA Today which doubted parity existed. Stories from 2005 and 2006 were more pro-parity, ironically. In one piece, Stanford Coach Tara VanDerveer attributed the trend to more AAU teams, more clinics and more specialized attention for young people. You can’t argue with that.

A generation ago basketball was a one-season sport; now it’s year-round. And if your kid isn’t dribbling with both hands before she’s got Elmo’s name out of her mouth, she’s way behind.

So it’s interesting that although it’s the flooding of young girls into the sport, and intense development of them for play that has laid the groundwork for parity – that parity would first be seen at the professional level.

The first six years of the WNBA, the league had only two champions. In the six years since that time, there have been four more. Most all the teams that once lived in the basement of the league are near the top now (and one went back to the bottom after that). This past year we saw every single playoff series go to the maximum three games for the first time. Fresh faces were everywhere, and there were games when it seemed like any team could beat any other team at will.

So now it looks like it’s trickling down to the college level. Unranked teams are beating ranked teams; highy-ranked teams are tumbling down like cards. (And it’s funny that myself, who was raised by a father who always went for the underdog but grew up to love Tennessee is enjoying all of this immensely).

High school has to be next. Hell, old standby Christ the King of New York isn’t even in the top 25 this year. It’s schools like Woodson High of Washington D.C. and St. Michael’s Academy of New York who are there instead.

This is an exciting time in women’s basketball.

So unsurprisingly, today’s top 25 is much different than last week’s:

AP TOP 25 – Women’s College Basketball

1. Connecticut 3-0
2. North Carolina 5-0
3. California 3-0
4. Oklahoma 3-1
5. Stanford 3-1
6. Baylor 4-0
7. Louisville 3-0
8. Texas A&M 3-0
9. Tennessee 3-1
10. Maryland 3-1
11. Texas 5-0
12. Duke 3-1
13. Rutgers 2-2
14. Notre Dame 3-0
15. Auburn 4-0
16. Virginia 2-1
17. Vanderbilt 4-1
18. Oklahoma State 2-1
19. Purdue 3-0
20. Ohio State 3-1
21. Arizona State 2-1
22. TCU 4-0
23. Old Dominion 3-1
24. Michigan State 5-0
25. (tie) Iowa State 3-0
25. Xavier 2-2

And if you look real quick on the SEC page today, you’ll see some standings you might never have seen before, nor might ever see again:

School SEC PCT. H A ALL PCT. H A N Last 5 Streak

Arkansas 0-0 .000 0-0 0-0 4-0 1.000 4-0 0-0 0-0 4-0 W4
Auburn 0-0 .000 0-0 0-0 4-0 1.000 2-0 2-0 0-0 4-0 W4
Ole Miss 0-0 .000 0-0 0-0 4-0 1.000 1-0 1-0 2-0 4-0 W4
Miss. State 0-0 .000 0-0 0-0 2-0 1.000 2-0 0-0 0-0 2-0 W2
Vanderbilt 0-0 .000 0-0 0-0 4-1 .800 2-0 2-1 0-0 4-1 L1
Florida 0-0 .000 0-0 0-0 3-1 .750 2-0 1-1 0-0 3-1 W3
Tennessee 0-0 .000 0-0 0-0 3-1 .750 2-1 1-0 0-0 3-1 W2
Alabama 0-0 .000 0-0 0-0 2-1 .667 1-1 1-0 0-0 2-1 W1
Georgia 0-0 .000 0-0 0-0 2-1 .667 1-0 1-1 0-0 2-1 L1
Kentucky 0-0 .000 0-0 0-0 2-1 .667 2-1 0-0 0-0 2-1 W2
LSU 0-0 .000 0-0 0-0 0-1 .000 0-1 0-0 0-0 0-1 L1
S. Carolina 0-0 .000 0-0 0-0 0-2 .000 0-1 0-1 0-0 0-2 L2

Crazy, huh?

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I attended my first high school basketball game this afternoon. Just checking things out. It was literally the first high school game in LA today. More will begin tomorrow and Wednesday.

Tomorrow I’m going to check out my girls as they and their JC team have another in-town game, at a college across the city. Wednesday I’m going to another high school game.

It’s the holiday season.

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