Jason Whitlock on why women’s college basketball is ‘trending’ better than men’s college hoops

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In his reaction to Notre Dame defeating UCONN with a buzzer-beater to garner the 2018 Women's NCAA Tournament title, Jason Whitlock reveals to Colin Cowherd, Dahntay Jones and Jason McIntyre why he believes the state of women's basketball is 'trending up' while men's college basketball is not.

- Whitlock, is the women's tourney in a better place than the men's?

- No. I think their final four is in a better place, because the four best teams-- or four of the six best teams make it to the final four, because there's very few upsets early in the tournament. So they're going to produce a better final four. The teams are evenly matched. UConn got beat in dramatic fashion, and now Notre Dame wins in dramatic fashion when the referee swallowed their whistle and screwed Mississippi State. But anyway.

Seriously, I think their final four is better. The teams are evenly matched. They're great teams. But the rest of their tournament, you know, it's pretty easy to ignore.

- Yeah, let's not go crazy and be PC and talk about two buzzer beaters. Did you fill out your women's bracket?


- Nor did virtually most of America, because we bet men's college basketball. It'll get seven times the rating tonight. That's without Kentucky, that's without Duke, that's without Kansas.

We have a football school and a small Northeast university, and it's going to get a huge rating. I think the women's final was great. I don't watch a ton if women's basketball, so I never criticize it.

But you got to remember, the men's bracket, it is a betting institution in America. That's why the NFL surpassed baseball. We don't bet baseball, we bet football. And I just don't think women's basketball is part of our betting tapestry in America.

- Structurally, the game is in a better place. It's easier--

- The women's game.

- The women's games structurally, from watching a basketball game, the four quarters, the advancement of the ball, and at the last minute of the game, like, to watch the game is easier than watching a college basketball-- a men's game. They should catch up to that part of the game.

But the product, as far as the men's game right now, they can't compete with that one. But the structure of the game, I think the men should adopt that structure and it could make it a better product than it already is right now.

- Generally in America, there's a pattern. We watch the best blank, the best restaurants, the best athlete. We watch NHL over college hockey. The only one that we think is close, when it's really not, is college football, NFL. But the ratings aren't close.

I mean, generally speaking, if you go in sports in America, men's basketball is more vertical, women's game is more linear. And so I just think there's a dynamic component to men's basketball. It's more popular and always will be.

- So UConn beats teams by 30, 40 all season, and now because of two buzzer beaters in the final four, they're structurally, Dante-- that the game is better. Come on, don't give me this--

- I think watching it in a four quarter capacity is different than watching it in two halves, because it breaks the games and it makes a better product for the-- visually.

- I mean, again, I didn't watch any of the final.

- But they can't compete with the men's talent on the court, and that's what we're talking about. That's why it's a better product.

But watching the game-- to be able to watch a women's game in that capacity with the start and stops and in the fourth quarter, I just think it just-- it's better.

- All season, didn't they have it structurally all season? I mean--

- And I thought it was better to watch women's games now.

- So you watched a lot of women's this season.

- I watched some women's game, because I'm a fan of basketball.

- If you went to a restaurant, and you liked that the architecture and the structure, but the other place just had better food-- I mean, again--

- I may still go the--

- See I would go to the food.

- No, no I want to go back to the question, better place. And so I don't want to contradict myself, but I will say this, women's basketball is trending up. Men's college basketball is not trending up, in my view.

- It's in a flat trajectory.

- It's flat or descending. And so I could make an argument that we might, 20 years from now, be talking about, remember when that woman hit back to back buzzer beaters to beat UConn and then Mississippi State? That may have been the moment that women's college basketball started gaining real traction.

And because again, I do think we're going to-- I do think they captured our attention with this final four. I have been arguing for 20 years, the biggest mistake women's college basketball makes is playing this tournament at the same time as the men. If they played this thing in April, I think people would watch, particularly now that it's gotten a little bit interesting, and it's not just UConn every year.

And so if the women's game would move out from underneath the shadow of the men's tournament, and somehow move their tournament to April, I do think we would start seeing some traction, brackets, gambling--

- But then you're going up against the NBA. Well, NBA-- let me ask you this--

- A one and done tournament in April against the NBA--

- If you think this was a seminal moment for women's basketball and maybe it's a jump off, why couldn't I say the same for you UMBC beating Virginia in the first round, and that, all of a sudden, you've got massive parity now with the 16 and the 15s having a great chance--

- Loyola.

- --every year. You love parity in the NFL. Why wouldn't you love it in college basketball, when the 16 seed, who's a 20 point dog, has a shot?

- That's a different argument, because one, I do think we're going to start seeing more and more upsets in men's college basketball, because there is more parity. You know, that isn't going to make the tournament dramatically more interesting, in my opinion.

- I think what we just saw here in the women's game, with UConn backing up to the rest and other teams catching up with them, I do think the women's game is trending a better direction.

- Let me ask you this, do you think the NFL helps college football?


- So do I.

- Yes.

- OK, because college football's the feeder system.

- Yes.

- So if you like the NFL, you're like hey, that Sam Darnold guy could be on my team. So college men's basketball feeds a rising sport, the NBA. Women's basketball feeds the WNBA, which is a league that has largely struggled to grow over the last decade.

- That's why I like women's college basketball, though, because it is the pinnacle of women's college-- of women's basketball. It's bigger than the WNBA, and that's why I think it has a chance to continue to trend the right direction. Geno Auriemma is the biggest brand in women's basketball, and he plays at the college level. That's the ultimate.

Again, their tournament can be the ultimate tournament for women's basketball. I like the way it's trending. I wish the referees last night--

- Oh, come on.

- --had caught-- there was targeting--

- Did you lose money on that game, Whit?

- No. No, there was targeting on the Mississippi State player. She can't-- they knocked-- they tackled her and didn't call anything. It was crazy.