Thursday brought the news that Indiana and Kentucky couldn't agree to terms on continuing their nonconference series, and a nation of basketball fans will be denied a probable matchup of top-five teams next season. It doesn't really matter who's to blame -- Should Kentucky have backed down on an insistence on neutral sites? Should Indiana not have pulled the plug on discussions so abruptly? -- because, in a vacuum, each program should operate in what it believes to be its own best interests. At some point, though, people are going to have to start taking a hard and collective look at the good of the game at large, and petty me-first schedule conflicts like this are a big part of the problem.
DENVER -- Don't ask her to smile. At least not this weekend. That was the message Baylor coach Kim Mulkey told the media on Saturday when asked about her health. Mulkey's left eye looked as if she had gone 10 rounds with Manny Pacquiao and one of her ears, in her own words, felt like it had been blown out. She dabbed her eyes repeatedly during an afternoon press conference at the Pepsi Center, and shaded her face as the camera lights shone on her.
FRESNO, Calif. -- In the square dance that is elite women's basketball, two partners have never do-si-doed. But that missing pairing will be rectified next Sunday in Denver when Stanford will finally face Brittney Griner's Baylor team in the NCAA semifinal.
A look at the biggest college basketball stories of a year that, depending on your preference, belonged to Kemba, Jimmer, Coach K, or mid-major magic. (And we can only hope that, after a scandalous November and December, the sport can produce as much positive drama in 2012's NCAA tournament as it did in 2011's.)
Family, friends, faculty and students packed Oklahoma State University's gym on Monday, remembering women's basketball coach Kurt Budke and assistant coach Miranda Serna in the place they toiled for years before dying in a plane crash last week.
Oklahoma State University women's basketball coach Kurt Budke and assistant coach Miranda Serna were killed when their plane crashed on the way to a recruiting trip in Arkansas, university officials said Friday.
INDIANAPOLIS -- The defending champion is Texas A&M, and Maya Moore is soon to be a member of the WNBA's Minnesota Lynx. Indeed, we're entering a new era in women's college basketball. While we reserve the right to change these picks come next November, here's SI.com's way-too-early preseason Top 10 for 2011-12 ...
Avert your eyes, Charles Barkley. The Big East has produced five of the Sweet Sixteen teams in the women's tournament, including top overall seed Connecticut, which stormed through its first two games as expected. (The Big 12 is next with three teams, including Baylor and Texas A&M.) Among the Sweet Sixteen games of note: Feisty Wisconsin-Green Bay (32-1), which has won a nation's-best 25 straight, meets Baylor and Brittney Griner in Dallas. Top-seeded Tennessee has a tricky game against a sizzling Ohio State in Dayton, and the winner of Gonzaga-Louisville in Spokane will be stunningly one game away from the Final Four. Here's a quick reset of the tournament:
This year was packed with intriguing storylines, but 2011 is shaping up to be just as interesting. Here are 10 predictions (in quasi-chronological order) for big stories coming in college basketball next year:
NEW YORK -- There is no great lineage of Canadian point guards. There was nothing, there was Steve Nash and then there was a drought. You're forgiven if you can't name the Canadian senior national team's current No. 1 point guard. It's Jermaine Anderson, a former combo guard from Fordham who's grown into a solid point in Germany and Croatia. Or the last Canadian point guard to go deep in an NCAA tournament: That was Collin Charles, with St. John's in 1999. "You'd think that with having Steve from here, we'd have a ton of great point guards," national team coach Leo Rautins said. "But we don't."
SAN ANTONIO -- When she was packing for the trip to her final Final Four, Stanford senior center Jayne Appel grabbed an old scouting report and stuck it in the bottom of her suitcase. She thought it might come in handy.
SAN ANTONIO -- You won't find the names of Kevin DeMille or Marc Gauthier on any page in the NCAA record book. Nor will you see highlights of DeMille's mid-range jumper or Gauthier's interior defense on any sports network. But DeMille and Gauthier are part of a group that has done something no other team can claim in two years:
SAN ANTONIO -- Bodacious. Resplendent. Jordanesque. Pick any adjective you want for Maya Moore, then try to top it because UConn would not be playing Tuesday night for its second consecutive national championship without her. She scored 34 points and pulled down 12 rebounds, but her true value was of a psychological nature. Anytime UConn needed a basket to be reminded that it was, well, UConn, Moore was there. Brittney Griner might one day lead Baylor to a national championship, but one thing still remains clear at the women's Final Four: Goliath is alive and well and wearing No. 23 for Connecticut. In the NCAA tourney, Moore is shooting an absurd 60.7 percent (17 of 28) from three-point range and 60.2 from the field (44 of 73). "She's the national player of the year, isn't she?" said Baylor coach Kim Mulkey. "That's what they do. National players of the year don't get rattled."
You can see size on film but you can't feel it, and as much as Georgetown coach Terri Williams-Flournoy watched tape on Baylor's Brittney Griner prior to their NCAA tournament game on March 22, it was only when Griner lined up to take the opening tip that Williams-Flournoy realized what she was facing. "I looked at her next to my center," said Williams-Flournoy, "and thought to myself, 'Wow, she's really, really big'."
You just can't help but appreciate Connecticut's record-setting season. The Huskies have continued their historical run toward perfection the same way they went through the regular season and Big East Tournament. They've dominated. Connecticut, which holds the longest winning streak in Division I women's basketball at 74, won each of its first two NCAA tournament games by more than 50 points.