Friday, March 30, 2007

We Got Next: NIT Edition

Just in case you couldn't get enough of ESPN force feeding you Women's NCAA Tournament action, (I particularly enjoy their promo commercial featuring that very scary women screaming a lot at the end) there is something out there to wet the appetites of you Women's basketball fans. The tournament that features the best of the rest, the Women's NIT.

When I first heard that there was a Women's NIT, I thought it was an elaborate hoax. But upon further investigation I learned that it indeed was real, and apparently all inclusive. As evidenced by the 48 teams that it features each season. 48 teams? Does every collegiate women's program get to take part in some sort of post-season tournament? Do they invite a few high school teams to participate?

After perusing the Women's NIT website for about 10 minutes (it was all I could bring myself to look at it for) I learned that the final will take place this Saturday, on the national stage, in Wyoming. As the Wisconsin Badgers will take on the Wyoming Cow....girls? It should be a heated match up followed closely around the country. In fact, 11 regional networks have signed up to broadcast it, including 3 more on tape delay. Such nationally recognized syndicates such as WKYU Bowling Green, KY and Wisconsin Public TV (on tape delay).

The other interesting thing about this tournament is the fact that the selection process involves 31 automatic berths, with no explanation from the website as to what qualifies as an automatic berth. Is it the best team not to make the NCAA tournament? The team with the prettiest uniforms? Or the team that has nothing better to do?

As I'm sure the selection committee faces every year, this year brought with it much criticism of the selection process. How do you not include Texas? I mean seriously? We have pedigree, a legendary coach, and are better than probably half the teams in the field. I'm just hoping that we were invited and our coach said, "No, I'm better than that." But still, it would've been great to see our ladies go out on top in Wyoming, because they would've gotten there, oh yes, they would've gotten there.

But this obviously was not our year, so we'll have to sit back and watch the Cowgirls and Badgers battle it out, for the chance to etch their names in history, as the 2007 NIT Champions. Be sure to tune in on Saturday to Fox Sports Net Arizona (on tape delay) to see who will be taking home the hardware. And don't you worry, next year, Drinking the Forty will be ready, brackets in hand, for the 2008 Women's NIT Pick'em Pool.

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