BY NATASHA GEIGER
It’s all about those buzzer-beater-three-pointers and the thrill of filling out brackets for March Madness. It’s those superstars that everyone wants to be like – Frank Kaminksy, Justise Winslow and Jahlil Okafor – that bring the fans young and old to the games and in front of the televisions. It’s about the leap from your chair when your team wins or the chills you get when the streamers fall from the sky. I bet most of you have had those moments during March Madness watching your favorite men’s basketball team, but how about women’s basketball? No? There’s a certain hype that comes with men’s basketball that doesn’t often come with women’s basketball. But even with that hype, one college coach spoke out about the difference between men’s and women’s teams.
In the midst of March Madness, Geno Auriemma, head coach of the UCONN women’s basketball team, spoke about men’s basketball and its immense popularity. And by speaking about it, I mean he called it “a joke.” He pointed out that nobody can score at a decent rate in men’s basketball. The men spend precious time dribbling on top of the key or running around the paint not even looking at the basket.
For example, this past March Madness, the Duke Blue Devils versus the Wisconsin Badgers game showed some extreme hype, but also the uneven tempo that bred some annoyance among fans. How many times during the game did either team set up a solid offensive play and run it or look for and make good passes? Between the inaccurate passes, taking a spur of the moment shot with five seconds left on the shot clock or trying to dunk over the big seven foot player, I have never been more annoyed with a game in my life. Most fans don’t feel the same way. In fact, men’s basketball fans will ignore the comments by Auriemma because they are blinded by the hype and by the fanfare and buzzer beaters.
Women’s basketball may not be perfect and not as explosive or high-flying as men’s, but they show initiative in setting up an offense, proficient passing, and an awareness of the action around them while looking for the best shot, all while watching the shot clock.
Do you know what was more satisfying than watching the men’s championship game? Watching the women’s championship game between the UCONN Huskies and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. These women executed their offense every time, and while it may not have been perfect every time, they set their offense and looked for good passes and good shots. These women may not have the athleticism to fly around the court like the men do but that gives them a chance to play some solid basketball. They may not have the buzzer beaters every game, the fan traffic or the mad rush to fill out brackets from other basketball fans, but they are able to form their own hype that draws in fans like me.
As a fan, the hype for men’s basketball and the celebrity aspect that the men receive is overrated and slightly annoying. Basketball skill should not be based on how fast you can run up and down the court, muscle mass or dunking ability. It should be based on how well the player shoots, runs the offense and plays their position. What I see is that women athletes and coaches understand what the game of basketball really is. But I’m just one fan out of millions, so you can judge for yourself.