Over the last decade the Women’s NCAA March Madness tournament has been a talk of great controversy, specifically with regards to the tournament’s ranking system. The tournament favors teams that compete in one of the “power five” conferences. The teams in the Big 10, the Big 12, SEC, ACC, and PAC 12 conferences have very difficult national schedules, meaning they play more ranked (top 25) teams throughout the season. These schedules allow for these to maintain a high rank, even if they accumulate a lot of losses. A higher rank makes for an easier read to the final game as they face weaker teams throughout the opening rounds. The favoring of power five conferences has made it very difficult for high caliber teams in small conferences to earn a high rank in the tournament. Teams in smaller conferences must essentially maintain a perfect in conference record, while also keeping a winning record ranked teams in order to receive a high seed in the tournament. The flawed system has specifically effected the Drake Women’s Basketball team over the last two seasons.
During the 2016-2017 season the Drake Women’s Basketball team dominated the Missouri Valley Conference going undefeated against MVC opponents, as well as winning the conference tournament. Their play earned them a spot in the 2017 March Madness Tournament where they were eliminated in the first round by Kansas State University.
We caught up with head coach Jennie Baranczyk and asked her what she thinks about the ranking system and how she prepares the team to achieve the highest possible seed.
The NCAA March Madness tournament starts March 23rd. Follow Drake’s road to the final four at GoDrakeBulldogs.com