Black Teams In The Men’s Tourney May Not Have As Much Success As Their Female Counterparts

By Gregory Moore
Updated: March 17, 2005
Why are schools like Delaware State falsely led to think that they can make it to the Final Four every year in the men’s basketball tournament?

SAN ANTONIO — Delaware State and Alabama A&M are the two Black colleges that are in the men’s Division I basketball tournament while on other women’s side, Coppin State and Alcorn State are in their tournament. Black colleges that are in the Division I class make up a small contingent of the overall populous for these tournaments but because of their small enrollments and budgetary constraints, neither have any true success in these post season activities. However it can probably be said with absolute certainty that the women will faire better than their male counterparts and that could be because for the women, they are as about as equal as they will get talent wise.

The men’s tournament is a big deal and it definitely shows the disparaging skills between a small school like Delaware State and Duke, the ACC powerhouse that they will be playing. Delaware State doesn’t have NBA players coming back and helping them during the off-season. Or look at Alabama A&M. They had to play Oakland University just to even get into the tournament. Will these two schools fair as well as Hampton University or Coppin State has done in years past? The undeniable question for this year is no they will not.

But let’s look at what Alcorn State and Coppin State have to deal with on the women’s side of the bracket. Alcorn State will take on Michigan State. Record wise the teams are dramatically different. The talent level may be marginally better for the Spartans. However I can make the argument that the Lady Braves could knock off the Lady Spartans just as easily as I could say that the ladies of Coppin State could knock off their opponent, North Carolina. What’s the reason for such an assumption? How about the very thing that many women rail support for; Title IX.

Why does Title IX even up the playing field on the ladies side of the tournament but yet leave the men of Delaware State and/or Alabama A&M exposed as naked as a chicken on a farm in Nebraska where the weather is ten below zero. Let me put the analogy a different way: because the women have an ‘equal’ playing field because of talent, anybody in their tournament could win. There is not equal abundance of talent in the men’s tournament. If Delaware State is fortunate to defeat Duke in a tight game, everyone in the Black community will stand up and cheer them for their success. But is anyone, except the Delaware State faithful, thinking of an upset? Of course not. Is there a better chance for Coppin State and/or Alcorn State to win their first round games on the women’s side? Yes there’s a distinct possibility that is more realistic.

Many are going to say that I am making excuses for the women or that they have a crutch. Anyone who knows the ins and outs of the college game knows that at this level and at this time of the year, only the best teams are going to survive. I’m not saying that Alabama A&M couldn’t defeat North Carolina if they win the play-in game. History shows that a #16 seed has never defeated a #1 seed in the tournament. That bodes well for Delaware State and for the women teams I mentioned as well. However let’s let logic dictate a few physiological components for a moment.

Let’s keep in mind that on the men’s side of the equation, you have teams where size does matter. The ‘mid majors’ are categorized that because they are not recruiting the top-notch kids or the really athletic kids for the most part. Also there is the schedule of the schools and it affects the men a little more harshly than it does for the women.

Also you have to look athletic ability, which coincides with recruitment and school size. The top players on both sides of the sex cavern will go to the top schools while lesser skilled athletes will go where they can get playing time. That does not say that some of the stellar blue chip players don’t go to smaller schools. Ever so often that does happen but it’s a rarity and not a normal trend.

Realistically the women of a Black institution may have a better chance at a national title than the men if you look at everything mentioned here. While we know that men are better athletes, in the realm of basketball, the women are just on a better playing field of fairness right now.

It’s ironic that Title IX could actually help a school like Coppin State get a national title some day if the current athletic trends between men and women continue.