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Women's hoops has never been better while men's game has never been worse

Monday was a triumph for women's basketball.

Four great teams played in two separate NCAA region finals, with each school led by a recognizable star: Caitlin Clark for Iowa vs. Angel Reese of LSU; Paige Bueckers of UConn vs. JuJu Watkins of USC.

The games delivered on multiple levels, which is not always the case when contests are so highly anticipated. They were competitive. The stars shined brightly.

If you follow a lot of sports fans and went on social media at all from roughly 6 p.m. through the end of Monday, you probably found that your feed was dominated by reactions to and commentary about women's basketball — something Patrick Reusse and I talked about on Tuesday's Daily Delivery podcast.

Women's basketball has been growing in popularity for decades, but it has surged in the last few years. One could easily make the argument that by this stage of both tournaments, the women's version qualifies as appointment viewing over the men's.

While women's basketball arguably never has been better than it is right now, men's college basketball arguably has never been worse.

The transfer portal combined with name, image and likeness have impacted both the women's and men's games. But it hasn't had the same profound, compounding effect on the women's game as the men's.

Even before the portal and NLI blasted a larger hole, a lot of the top men's players were already leaving school after a year for the lure of multi-million NBA contracts. Combine that with the transfer ecosystem and it is increasingly rare to find a star who stays even two years at the same men's program.

The women's game, meanwhile, has benefited to some degree from NLI deals because its top players are incentivized to stay in school. Plenty of women's basketball players have already entered the portal this year, and indeed Reese is a transfer who split time with two years each at Maryland and LSU.

But each of the four main women's stars on display Monday were easily identifiable with their programs — even Watkins, a phenom freshman who has become synonymous with USC.

In an era when it's becoming increasingly hard to track who is where — a transfer portal nightmare of sorts for fans, especially those who root for Gophers men's basketball, as Chip Scoggins wrote about this weekend — cheering for the names on the backs of the jerseys instead of just the front is a novel concept.

On Friday, it will be Iowa vs. UConn, which you immediately know is Caitlin vs. Paige. Social media will be buzzing again. TV ratings records could be set.

Enjoy it.

Here are four more things to know today:

*On the heels of that aforementioned column, Scoggins is expected to join me on Wednesday's podcast to talk about the portal.

*Reusse and I tackled other subjects on Tuesday's show, including the bickering at the top with the Wolves.

*After Bailey Ober was rocked on Sunday, the Twins could use a confidence-building start from Louie Varland against the Brewers this afternoon. The rotation can't descend into "Lopez and Ryan ... is anybody else tryin'?" this season.

*The timing of Vikings offensive coordinator Wes Phillips' suspension is interesting.