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March Madness Mess-Up

Written by Tim Hoffstaetter

These past few weeks have been filled with amazing basketball on both the women’s and men’s side however there has been a lot of on and off-court messiness, especially on the women’s side, no fault of the players. Starting off with one of the worst mistakes in basketball history, at the Moda Center in Portland where four games were played there were two different length three-point lines. On one side of the court, there was a three-point line that was about 6 inches closer to the basket than the other side, the NCAA never reported if there was a correct three-point line but many are speculating the line was painted farther back than what it should be. This is a ridiculous oversight on the part of the NCAA because there were four games played there that were affected by this. For example, the Gonzaga women’s team shot 18.4% while playing with a messed up three-point line. This is not a great percentage and perhaps this was a night when shots weren’t falling but this becomes harder to believe when the rest of the season their team shot 39.6%. This discrepancy in shooting percentage may have cost Gonzaga a chance at the Elite 8 which is a prestigious honor during March Madness. Even the last game that was played there was Texas vs. NC State where both teams opted to play with a messed up three-point line to avoid a delay, this was after the NCAA knew of the discrepancy. 

Another discrepancy from the NCAA came from the officiating during the Sweet 16 when Notre Dame was playing Oregon State. Notre Dame freshman star Hannah Hidalgo has a nose ring and has played with this piercing all season and the two games prior without having it covered or removed suddenly was told by officials to remove the piercing. She was not told to remove the piercing at the beginning of the game either, she was told after playing the entire first quarter to remove the piercing. This resulted in the training staff taking over half of the second quarter to remove the piercing with pliers. Notre Dame lost this game by 5 points where Hanna only scored 10 points as compared to her regular 22, I am unsure if in those 5 minutes she lost she would have scored 12 points to get to her season average but I do know she is scoring and keeping the game closer than 5 points and perhaps giving Notre Dame the lead. 

The outstanding play this year has been overshadowed by the NCAA’s oversight and poor officiating in the Women’s game. These are just two examples from this year where instead of being able to focus on the game we have had to talk about things outside of basketball. This is sadly not the first time the NCAA has shown its reluctance to give the women’s side its due respect despite growing more, showing a 65% increase in viewership for the championship game while the men’s championship game had a 15% dropoff in viewership as compared to the year before for both.