LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Nevada won the Mountain West regular season championship in men’s basketball this season. San Diego State won the league’s men’s conference tournament.

In the women’s game, Boise State won the regular season and conference tournament championships

Nevada is a seven seed in the NCAA Tournament. San Diego State is seeded 11th in its regional.

But in the women’s game, Boise State, which outperformed Nevada and SDSU, is a 16 seed.

I’m not here to criticize the women’s selection committee or women’s college basketball. I am here to advise University of Louisville women’s coach Jeff Walz that if he needs motivational mojo to have his team eager and engaged to play Boise in Cardinals’ opening game Friday at noon in the KFC Yum! Center, there it is.

Because I don’t believe that a $15,000-an-hour attorney can make a winning argument that a one seed can beat a 16 seed in the women’s tournament.

Women’s college basketball is the sport that parity forgot – at least in first-round games matching the four best teams in the country against the four worst. At 32-2 with the No. 3 ranking in the Associated Press Top 25 poll, Louisville absolutely starts this tournament as one of the four best teams in the nation.

Could the Cards struggle Sunday against either Dayton or Marquette? Certainly. But in a game against a 16 seed on their home court? I wish you the best of luck making that case.

The average margin of victory in 16 vs. 1 games last season was 55.3 points.

“We’re not getting caught up in the 1 and 16 seeds,” Louisville forward Myisha Hines-Allen said. “We’re just focusing on mainly playing our game, and that will take care of itself if we play our game.”

The average margin of victory in 16 vs. 1 games over the last two seasons has been 46.7 points.

“We can’t think about the pressure of what everybody thinks outside,” Louisville guard Arica Carter said. “We can only focus on our people, our circle inside and come out and play as hard as we can every game.”

Of the last 76 women’s games matching 1 and 16 seeds, five have been decided by less than 20 points. Meanwhile, 31 have been won by 40 or more.

The last 16 seed to defeat a one seed was Harvard, which toppled Stanford, 71-67 in 1998. Here is the asterisk: Stanford lost one starter to a knee injury in the team’s final regular-season game and then another during a practice leading into the tournament.

“You know what?” Walz said. “Being a one seed is an honor. There’s no question about it.

“It’s what you’ve done the entire year. It’s your body of work. These young women have done a fantastic job, day in and day out.

“But now we just throw all that out … we know we have a four-team tournament. You’ve got to win the first to get to the second. And nobody cares what seed you are.”

Walz will earn his salary on the motivational end of this game. Louisville will play in front of its engaged fan base. Boise traveled nearly 1,900 miles, likely bringing a modest friends and family support group.  

Louisville will enjoy the comforts of the KFC Yum! Center for the 18th time this season. Boise is a Mountain West team that will be playing at 10 a.m. Mountain Daylight Savings Time. Ask coaches in the men’s game or the NFL about the tricks the time change can play on athletes.

Louisville has defeated seven of the nine Top-25 opponents the Cardinals have played this season. Louisville is the first Top-25 opponent to make its way on to Boise’s schedule.

If you’re asking me for several reasons why this could be a close game, the best answers I can give you are A) Boise has won 10 straight games; B) Boise averages better than seven three-point field goals per game and C) Boise played Tennessee to an 11-point game as a 15-seed in Knoxville three seasons ago.

“Nobody cares what seed a team is,” Carter said. “We’ve got to give it our all and just go out there and play our game. I mean, there’s nothing more I can say about that.”

No, there isn’t. On Friday afternoon, the scoreboard should say it all.

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