The past two nights of NCAA championship basketball could not have contrasted more starkly. A conservative estimate would put the women's game at 150 times better than the men's game; a more generous comparison, perhaps 200 times better. The men's game between Butler and UConn (UConn won) was sloppy, choppy and dull. The women's game between Texas A&M and Notre Dame (Texas won) was graceful, soulful and exciting. The women ran plays and cooperated. The men showboated and couldn't convert. The women boxed out, communicated, made their layups and their free throws. In short, they played solid, fundamentally sound basketball and it was breathtaking to watch.
I wonder if the different styles of play can be traced to the fact that men have a lot more to prove because of the high economic stakes of professional male athletics. Female basketball players have the WNBA to look forward to, but the money is nowhere near the same. As a woman, there's less incentive to prove that you're a one-person franchise.
Without further ado -- a huge salute to the women of both teams for giving the NCAA championship a good name again after Butler and UConn did their best to smear it. It was a spectacular game, played with so much heart and soul. Bravo.