Next year will mark the 40th anniversary of the passage of Title IX, which forced colleges to equally fund men’s and women’s sports teams — much to the chagrin of the NCAA at the time. I doubt that the architects of Title IX would have envisioned a women’s college basketball game being the marquee match when the respective men’s team is in action the same day, but that will be the case next Wednesday at Madison Square Garden.
At 7 p.m. the St. John’s Red Storm men’s basketball team will serve as the opening act as they take on the Syracuse Orangemen, while at 9:30 the St. John’s women’s hoops team will play the mighty UConn Huskies.
Granted, this game has lost a little glitz since the Huskies’ 90-game winning streak was snapped last week by the Stanford Cardinals, but there is little question that an upset win by Kim Arrico’s team would be a national story and help future recruiting. One can only imagine what heights the Red Storm would have reached had Tina Charles, who grew up next door to St. John’s, played for them instead of opting for the Huskies. Charles is a key reason that UConn stayed unbeaten for so long.
You have to give Red Storm men’s basketball head coach Steve Lavin and his team kudos for being good sports here. The Red Storm got off to a shaky start as they were upset by both Fordham and St. Bonaventure and struggled to a win over toothless Columbia in Lavin’s Carnesecca Arena debut.
It appears the Red Storm have hit their stride as they won the recent Madison Square Garden Holiday Tournament and defeated West Virginia to open up the Big East portion of their schedule. Taking on Syracuse, which always has a solid team thanks to the recruiting abilities of legendary head coach Jim Boeheim, will be an uphill battle. Not helping the Johnnies will be the fact that Syracuse alumni always show up in droves to the Garden.
Last Sunday the Knicks presented the Sweetwater Clifton City Spirit award to Maspeth resident Carlos Calderon for his rescue of a Virginia military family that was stranded for hours on the Long Island Expressway during the blizzard. In December the Knicks honored 5-year-old Sayam Kamal for helping get his family out of their burning Bellerose home.
LeBron James may be a great player, but he is not a favorite of his peers. NBA owners will likely lock out players this coming summer, and James’ actions have been virtual gifts to management. His collusion with fellow superstars Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh to play for the Miami Heat, punctuated by the ill-received “Decision” telecast on ESPN, made it appear as if the inmates were running the asylum.
King James topped himself last week by basically championing fewer teams in the league, so that Nets’ stars Brook Lopez and Devin Harris could play on winning squads. NBA owners will use the threat of contraction, which would cost the players job opportunities, as a weapon in collective bargaining.
LeBron should expect some rough fouls for the rest of the season.