What respect?

By Todd McMahon


Everyone wants it but very few get it.

Just ask Jane Albright-Dieterle and her women’s basketball team.

They’re a mighty ‘respectable’ 14-3, coasting along in a different time zone from the rest of the Mid-Con with a mark of 9-0, sitting near the top of the country’s offensive output charts and have scored TKO’s of Southern Illinois, Utah, DePaul and Wisconsin-Green Bay (twice).

But one look at Mel Greenberg’s weekly Associated Press poll proves that the Huskies aren’t getting the respect they deserve.

In the last three weeks, they have yet to move up to the ‘D’ range in the Top 25 class roll. Sure, a 33-point loss two weeks ago at No. 3 Iowa didn’t help.

Fortunately, NIU wasn’t given an incomplete for not playing up to par with an ‘A-plus’ ballclub.

But playing up to par won’t be a necessity until March. Actually, par won’t cut it come tournament time because it’s the teams that fire birdies who will travel the cart path to Atlanta and the ones that struggle with bogeys who will be getting the clubs shined up for an early vacation.

So, how important is respect in the next four weeks before March Madness goes into full tilt?

Very important.

Albright-Dieterle’s hungry Huskies know staying unbeaten the rest of the way means Mr. Greenberg should have them sitting somewhere in the Top 16, which usually alerts the NCAA Selection Committee to give those teams a top seed for the Big Dance.

A top-four seed would give NIU a bye in the opening round, which means extra rest and a guaranteed home contest in round two.

The quest for respect begins tonight at Chick Evans Field House. The arrival of Florida State means a ‘giant’ comes to town.

Among other things, the Seminoles bring their war chant and Atlantic Coast Conference moniker, but most of all, NIU remembers last year’s 25-point disaster in Tallahassee.

But this is a different year, a different NIU team. Respect should come with a victory over the ACC.