New York in Vegas

By Jeff Lippman - May 16, 2007


For anyone living on the west coast with easy access to Las Vegas who would like to visit New York City but can't find the time or money to make the cross country trip, the simple alternative would be to stay at Vegas' New York New York hotel and casino. A walk through the lobby and you are magically transported to Times Square, Central Park and the Empire State Building, with all replicas being exactly one-third the size of their originals.

Oddly enough, all the hotel guests and workers seemed much more agitated and in a hurry than at the other hotels and they all walked like maniacs.

Having just returned from a long weekend trip to fabulous Vegas, there are a few things that I missed these past few days--other than sleep and sobriety--around the sport of women's college basketball.

Illinois Hires Jolette Law As New Coach

Law, the former associate head coach at Rutgers, said at her press conference that not only will Illinois be the best conditioned team in the Big Ten, they will also win conference titles. And I believe with a soft Big Ten that Law might be able to get that job done.

But then Law went too far.

Champaign must have gone to her head, but the new coach promised the Illini faithful a national championship, saying, "We will - we will - win a national championship at the University of Illinois."

First things first, coach. We'll see how your team does against N.C. State next year in the new Big Ten/ACC Women's Basketball Challenge first.

And that transitions beautifully into my next topic of discussion...

The Big Ten/ACC Women's Basketball Challenge

If you ask me, this is a great idea. For the Big Ten.

If you think the ACC owns the Big Ten in men's basketball--and they do, defeating the Big Ten in every challenge played since the men started eight years ago--the women will dominate as well.

The ACC certainly does not need to prove its superiority. With Duke meeting Penn State, Maryland taking on Ohio State and North Carolina hosting Purdue, I don't think it takes Nostradamus to predict that the ACC's elite should have no problem disposing of their opponents.

The best chance at wins for the Big Ten is Michigan State in their matchup with Clemson in the opener and Michigan over Miami.

For the Big Ten, however, this is a great opportunity to play tougher competition before the NCAA tournament rolls around and will surely help to improve the level of play for all teams involved. Just being able to match up against the speed and defense of the ACC will give the Big Ten teams a much better idea of what they'll get when they meet in the postseason.

List of 45 Athletes Selected to Try Out for the U-21 USA Basketball Team

When the 45 players selected to earn a spot on the U21 USA women's basketball team meet in Colorado Springs, Colo., there will be eight members returning from the 2006 U20 gold medal team.

The returning members are: Jolene Anderson of Wisconsin; DeWanna Bonner of Auburn; Essence Carson and Kia Vaughn of Rutgers; Erlana Larkins of UNC; Marscilla Packer of Ohio State; Courtney Paris of Oklahoma; and Lindsay Wisdom-Hylton of Purdue.

Looking at that list of names, including some of the players on the tryout list--Duke's Abby Waner, Rutgers' Matee Ajavon, Maryland's Laura Harper, Crystal Langhorne and Marissa Coleman, Stanford's Candice Wiggins and Georgia's Tasha Humphrey among many others--it is not so difficult to assume gold again in this year's world championships and Pan American Games.

Not so difficult? I'd say it is a sure thing that these young women will strike gold in Moscow and Rio de Janeiro.

Posted by Jeff Lippman at 10:10 AM on May 16, 2007
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