The last two weeks have been sort of vacation time for me, hence not a daily blog activity. However, there are a whole bunch of subjects I will endeavor to get to this week and next, including a long-promised look at Baylor and Texas (I really didn’t forget), a chat with former K-State favorite Megan Mahoney (who is still a pro player, just not in the WNBA), some interesting thoughts of a WNBA fan without a team (still missing the Comets) and a few other things that have piled up in my brain or on my desk.
It’s that time of year when the WNBA is in full swing, but students are soon to be heading back to college campuses and so we’re all thinking a bit about that game, too. I found myself doing some refreshing on the Big 12 this past weekend, as I met with Big12Sports.com correspondent Wendell Barnhouse in downtown Kansas City on Saturday.
Wendell is making the rounds of Big 12 schools, doing football previews, and wanted to take the chance to also chat about women’s hoops for the upcoming season. We met at the fountains outside Municipal Auditorium, which again next March will be the site of the Big 12 women’s tournament.
The league’s coaches, players and even a lot of fans are not very thrilled about old Municipal, a storied building in basketball history but pretty much like a Model T next to the almost-new Sprint Center where the men will be playing. The women’s coaches have been pressing to get at least the womens’ final on Sunday moved over to the Sprint Center, although they would also prefer to have the semifinals there, too.
It remains to be seen if the league will try to make at least one of those things happen for 2010, provided television and other logistics could accommodate it. Kansas City also will host the men’s and women’s Big 12 tournaments in 2011, and the push from the women’s coaches to have at least part of their event in the Sprint Center will be even stronger for that year .
The perception from the women’s coaches is that Municipal is too much of an inferior facility, even if its seating capacity is more in line with the size of crowds that the tournament has drawn in previous years. In their view, Cox Convention Center in Oklahoma City, site of the women’s tournament last season, compares more favorably to the Ford Center for the men there.
I love having the tournaments in Kansas City for obvious reasons … the most obvious being the lack of travel expenses for me. But I also think KC does have to affirm to the women’s coaches and players that their experience can be just as good here as it is in Oklahoma City. Because I definitely understand the lure of Oklahoma City, which is even more centrally located than KC for almost all the Big 12 schools (sorry, Colorado, nothing is easy for you guys).
It never felt like either the men’s or women’s tournaments “mattered” in Dallas the way they obviously do in Oklahoma City and Kansas City. That’s not to take any swipe at the Lone Star State, especially considering how large the fan base is in the state for women’s basketball in particular.
I’m not advocating leaving Dallas out completely in the future. It’s just that Dallas doesn’t have as much appeal to me as the other two cities have in terms of hosting the tournaments. But I’m sure there will be some disagreement about that from fans in Texas, which I understand.
At any rate, Wendell and I discussed some general parameters of what the 2009-2010 season may look like for Big 12 women’s hoops. I think the footage will run on Big12sports.com closer to the start of hoops practice, but I’ll try to keep an eye out for it. Then I can see if everything I said was mostly drowned out by the fountains anyway.