Hansen’s Sunday Diary: Loss shows Wildcats need to get older and tougher | Subscriber

Arizona Wildcats head coach Adia Barnes speaks during a press conference as Arizona prepares for the second round of the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament held at McKale Center , 1721 E. Enke Dr., in Tucson, Ariz., on March 20, 2022.

Rebecca Sasnett, Arizona Daily Star

Adia Barnes vs. Neutral Site NCAAs

Arizona drew 17,906 fans for last week’s NCAA Tournament games against UNLV and North Carolina, the second-highest total of the 16 first-round host schools.

At the same time, the NCAA announced that 216,890 people attended the first games of the weekend, a record for the women’s tournament. This led some, including the Oregon coach Kelly Graveswhose team was bypassed as the host school, to make the case for an all-neutral venue tournament.

Arizona Coach Adia Barnes reaction: “Absolutely not.”

“I think it’s a terrible idea for our game. I totally disagree with that,” she said after Monday’s loss to the Tar Heels. “I think on the list of 100 things to change, for me it’s 100. I think there’s so much to change before that with fairness and stuff that it’s not even consideration for me or not even on the list.”

Imagine if the Arizona-UNLV and Arizona-North Carolina games had been played, say, at a neutral site in California or Georgia, or anywhere. Total attendance would have been lucky to reach 4,000.

“I think (the hosts on the pitch) have more value in our game because it’s different,” Barnes said. “I think it’s more useful to play at McKale with 10,000 people than to go to San Antonio at a neutral site with 1,500 people. I think that doesn’t make any sense. I don’t think it generates revenue, and I don’t’ I don’t think it’s good for our game where we are right now.”