Patricia Babcock McGraw of the Daily Herald weighed in on the Big Ten's expansion yesterday writing that, "From a purely competitive standpoint, the Big Ten’s biggest win in this expansion might be in women’s hoops."
Both Rutgers and Maryland have been perennial Top 25 teams in women's basketball over the last decade or so. And both are getting national attention this season. Maryland is ranked 10th in the current AP Top 25 poll, while Rutgers is receiving votes.
Rutgers has had 20-win seasons 12 times in the last 14 seasons and has been to two Final Fours since 2000 (2000 and 2007). Meanwhile, Maryland has averaged 25 wins a season since 2003 and won the NCAA championship in 2006...It's already a quality women's basketball conference. Adding teams such as Rutgers and Maryland will raise the league's profile.
Another interesting coincidence that Babcock McGraw highlighted is the familiarity of the programs' women's basketball coaches with the program: we've already described Maryland coach Brenda Frese's thoughts on returning to the Big Ten in a recent interview, but as many people also know Rutgers coach C. Vivian Stringer took the Iowa Hawkeyes to the 1993 Final Four.
For more on the impact of this expansion on women's basketball, check out Babcock McGraw's full article.