Women's Hoops Blog

Inane commentary on a game that deserves far better

Monday, February 02, 2004

We've talked some about the large number of upsets, and what seems to be a new level of parity in the women's game.

Of course, parity is sort of a nebulous concept, and it's hard to measure.

One rough way to measure is to just look at how much the top teams lose. As of yesterday, the top 10 in the women's AP poll had a total of 23 losses, and the top 25 had a total of 75.

In the abstract, this doesn't mean much. But it does suggest -- contrary to a usual criticism -- that there is relatively more parity in the women's game right now than in the men's. The top 10 men's teams have 14 total losses, and the top 25 have 59.

Based on that measure, however, it's less clear that there's more parity this year than in the recent past. Last year at this time, the top 10 had 18 losses, and the top 25 had 85. Two years ago, the top 10 had 25 losses, and the top 25 had 105.

The difference is at the very top. Over the past few years, it's sometimes seemed as if there's one or two or three dominant teams at the top that no one else can touch. This year, it has seemed more wide open, in the sense that the number of teams that have a legitimate shot at the Final Four and the championship seems greater.

But that said, the top four teams right now are last year's Final Four teams, and it wouldn't be at all surprising if all four ended up in New Orleans. So, the parity story remains mixed.