"We play in front of a lot of hostile crowds," said McCallie, who left Michigan State for Duke two years ago. "I'm sure it helps, yes, of course it helps. Is it the reason why they won? No. I'm sure it helped in some way, but the reality is, we didn't play very well tonight."
Good call, McCallie.
Despite complaints otherwise, the location of the game shouldn't have any bearing on the results -- or at least not to the extent that some top teams have dropped games this tournament. It shouldn't have mattered for Duke, which has traveled to Tennessee, North Carolina and Maryland this season. The site had nothing to do with scoring drought that lasted nearly the final eight minutes of the game, just like it shouldn't have mattered for second-seeded Auburn, which lost to No. 7 Rutgers, 80-52, on its home floor. No crowd can account for 28 points.
After all, home court didn't save No. 7 Notre Dame from getting knocked off by No. 10 Minnesota. It didn't keep from LSU from losing in the second round, either. If the Blue Devils couldn't defend their No. 1 seed in East Lansing, how would they expect to get through a potential matchup with Stanford just a few miles away in Berkeley? How could Auburn get past Oklahoma in Oklahoma City, which just hosted the Big 12 tournament?
While it may seem unfair at first glance, the fact is someone has to play on someone else's court in the opening rounds of the women's tournament. The game simply isn't ready for neutral courts, which is evident by taking a look in the stands when the home team isn't in the game. At Notre Dame, attendance dropped more than 1,800 after the Irish were eliminated in the first round. More than 5,600 fans showed up for the opening round with where Iowa was the host but with the Hawkeyes out there were fewer than 3,000 in the stands to watch Georgia Tech and Oklahoma, which featured one of the best women's college players ever in
So, until those numbers increase, this is the way it has to be in the women's game. If you're a top seed in the NCAA tournament, you better be able to win anytime, anywhere.