The other tournament

March 26, 2009

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Unbeknownst to many people, there are two NCAA basketball tournaments underway. Everyone knows about the men’s tournament, of course. There is also a women’s NCAA tournament underway.

The women’s tourney has had some interesting games already. #2 seed Baylor had to go to overtime in the first round again #15 seed Texas San Antonio and escaped with a two point win against #9 seed South Dakota State in the second round. #1 seed Duke was beaten by #9 seed Michigan State in the second round. Texas A&M had 20, yes 20, steals in a win against Minnesota. #7 seed Rutgers clobbered #2 seed Auburn in the second round, although it’s difficult to list a C. Vivian Stringer win as an upset, ever.

Perhaps the biggest shock of the tournament was the early exit of two time defending champion Tennessee. Tennessee was a very young team, with a “low” #5 seed as a result. However, Tennessee had never lost a first or second round NCAA game, so their opening round loss to #12 Tennessee was a stunner.

My alma mater, Iowa State, is in the Sweet 16. The #4 seed Cyclones won handily in the first round, tying a tournament record with 16 three pointers in a rout against East Tennessee State. Oddly, South Dakota State also tied the tournament record in their win against TCU. The Cyclones road in the tournament has been smoothed a bit by upsets. In round two, they faced #12 seed Ball State (instead of #5 seed Tennessee). Ball State hung around for quite a while, but Iowa State pulled away in the end. In the next round, the Cyclones will face #9 seed Michigan State instead of #1 seed Duke. Can this be a Final Four run for Iowa State? I sure hope so.

I have been to at least four NCAA women’s tournaments (my memory is getting hazy with age – was there a fifth tournament?) – three times to first/second round game and once to third/fourth round games. The tickets are much cheaper than men’s tickets and much easier to get. Some of the cities that get the women’s games would never have a chance at men’s tournament games.

I really enjoy the atmosphere of the tournament. The game on the floor is good, too. The women’s game is a lot more true to the fundamentals instead of the highlight show that the men’s games can turn into.

My best moment from an NCAA tourney was when I had to sell some unused tickets (I bought extras anticipating that some friends would be able to join me). I sold for below face value and was honest about the fact that the seats were not very close to midcourt. The couple that bought the tickets was actually happy with the location. Their son was a band director (or something similar) and the seats gave them a great view of him.

Sneak peak ahead
Details will soon be unveiled about a contest that will feature some popular personal finance bloggers as contestants.

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