Saturday in Memphis, the UConn women’s game will be the second of a double-header that begins with the Memphis men vs. Cincinnati at the FedEx Forum, an NBA/NHL arena.
That can mean one of two things: The women will play before a massive and interested crowd or they will be embarrassed again when the arena basically clears out before they even start warm-ups.
I am not expecting the first scenario. I have seen this picture before. The last time the women’s played St. John’s at Madison Square Garden, Jan. 12, 2011, there was a massive snow storm and the game was preceded by St. John-Syracuse men.
By the time the UConn women game started, there were maybe 2,000 people left in MSG – not counting sportswriters.
:The whole doubleheader thing it is flip a coin, roll the dice whatever you want to say,” Geno Auriemma said Sunday. “Baylor played Kentucky four overtimes and the men’s game was held up an hour [earlier this season].
“I don’t know what is going to happen, doubleheaders are tricky. You don’t know how it is going to go, the Memphis men’s game might go four overtimes and then you are sitting around waiting. That is why you don’t get caught up in that stuff. You have to bring a certain energy to the building, you as a player, you as a team. If you spend time on what is happening in the stands you are going to be disappointed. We had the biggest (home) attendance of the year so far against Cincinnati and I thought we were sluggish. You have to bring it. Whoever wants to stay and watch the game, they stay. Whoever wants to leave, they leave. Hopefully since they haven’t seen us in their building, those people don’t know who we are they will stay around because they want to see what all the fuss is about.”
You can forget about something like this every happening at UConn. The economics are vastly different. The women stand their own ground financially and have their own fan base. They do not need to ride the coat tails of the men for exposure.
“I am sure there is some aspect to it that is appealing on some level I just don’t see it happening and I don’t think there is a need for it, ” Auriemma said. “There is a men’s crowd, there is a women’s crowd and then there is a middle group that goes to both games. By playing a doubleheader, a lot of people that would be at a game would be shut out and in today’s day and age with what you are trying to do financially, I can’t ever see it happening.”