BOSTON — Duke. Georgia. Louisiana Tech. Purdue. They all have one thing in common: the NCAA Final Four championships. But if you're a basketball fan, you'll notice one team conspicuously absent from the Final Four - the top-seeded Tennessee Lady Vols. For the past three years, the Vols have dominated women's competition. The team has won three of the past four national championships and seemed destined this year to win a fourth straight title. Then came the upset by Duke and the rest is history. Tune in to ESPN beginning tonight at 7 p.m. to catch all the action.
Q: The men's Final Four is being played this weekend in St. Petersburg, Fla. Where and when is the women's Final Four?
A: At the San Jose Arena in San Jose, Calif., today and Sunday.
Q: Among the Final Four teams this year, which ones have made the trip before?
A: Georgia returns to the Final Four for the fifth time in school history and for the third time this decade. No. 1-ranked Purdue is making its second trip to the Final Four. Louisiana Tech has made it to the Final Four nine times and is the only team among the four to have previously won a national championship (in 1982 and 1988). Duke is the baby of the group; this is the team's first trip to the Final Four.
Q: The women's and men's teams from Duke are in the Final Four. When was the last time a university placed both its men's and women's basketball programs in the Final Four?
A: In 1983, both the men's and women's teams of Georgia made it to the Final Four (However, neither team won a national championship.) UConn's men's and women's teams have also traveled parallel paths (both have shared the No. 1 national ranking in years past) but never have both made it to the Final Four in the same year.
Q: How popular has women's basketball become?
A: Ever since the first NCAA championships for women were held in the 1981-82 season, the women's Final Four has attracted sellout crowds and appeared on national television. The women's Final Four was televised live in its entirety for the first time in 1991 by CBS. The tournament had its first advance-ticket sellout in 1993 and has sold out ever since. Last year, in a first-ever drawing for tickets, they sold out in five minutes.
*Lisa Leigh Parney's e-mail address is email@example.com