Wasn't Last Night Great?
Two tightly contested National Semifinal games. One with an absolutely AMAZING final 9 seconds!!! The other with two AMAZING players on opposite teams doing everything humanly possible to will their teams to victory.
Wonderful seasons for the Huskies and the Cardinal . . . they should be proud. But in the end, what made last night so unbelievable was that not just one, but two -- both -- of the supposed underdogs won! Congratulations to Coach Gary Blair and his fiesty Aggies! And Congratulations to Coach Muffet McGraw and her tough-it-out Fighting Irish players. A maroon team and a green team will slug it out tomorrow (Tuesday) for the Natty! Who woulda thunk it? We bet there's not a bracket out there that hasn't been busted!
Both the the Aggies and the Irish had to play -- and had to beat -- teams from their own conferences in order to advance in this year's tourney. Prior to the Big Dance, A&M had played -- and lost -- three times to their Big 12 rival, and the #1 seed in their NCAA Tourney region, Baylor, before surprising the world (but not themselves) in their 4th meeting this year, when they knocked off the Golden Bears for the Regional Title. And then last night, Notre Dame had to face their Big East nemesis, the indomitable UConn Huskies. As had the Aggies to Baylor, the Irish had lost three times in conference play to Geno's team this season. But the luck (and particularly the skill) of the Irish prevailed.
What strikes us about the two #2 seeds advancing to the Championship game is a certain similarity to our favorite Natty year, 2006. Maryland was in the unenviable position of having not just the #1 ranked team in the country in its own conference . . . but yet another team that was close behind. In the Final Four, both of those ACC teams stood between the Terps (a #2 seed) and The Banner. But like last night, the tough and talented #2 prevailed. So -- nothing against the Cardinal or the Huskies -- but we felt a special affinity for last night's #2s.
One more thing: there was talk in the media that everyone wanted to see a Tennessee/UConn semifinal. What great television! What great drama! Well, count the BCs out. We won't miss a Scowling Pat facing a Smirking Geno for one micro-second. As far as we're concerned, there is far too much emphasis put on that old rivalry and far too much media attention focused on those two teams.
What last night's exciting performances illustrate so well is this: the women's game is not just about the Lady Vols or the Huskies. There are many good teams; great coaches; great players; and they don't all wear orange or navy blue. A maroon v. green final . . . we couldn't be happier (unless, of course, one of the teams was wearing Terrapin red).
Go Underdogs . . . Win a Natty! >