Five Things to Know about women’s selection Monday
UConn and Notre Dame have run through the regular season undefeated. The former Big East rivals are on an expected collision course in the NCAA title game in Nashville, Tenn., on April 8.
The Huskies will be looking for a record ninth NCAA championship, breaking a tie with Tennessee. The Irish will try and win their first title since 2001.
Before that potential historic matchup between unbeaten teams, both schools will have to win five more games. They, along with 62 other teams will find out where they are seeded in the NCAA tournament when the women’s bracket is revealed on Monday night.
Here are five things to look for when the bracket is unveiled:
OTHER NO. 1s: Clearly UConn and Notre Dame have earned two of the No. 1 seeds. The question Monday night will be who will join the undefeated teams at top seeds. A case can be made for Tennessee, which won the SEC tournament. The Lady Vols are the only team to make the NCAA tournament every year. Looking more at the whole season, South Carolina can make a case to be a top seed. The Gamecocks won the SEC regular season title for the first time in school history before losing to Kentucky in the SEC semifinals. Stanford slipped up in the Pac-12 tournament semifinals, losing to USC. Before that the Cardinal’s only other losses this season came in November to UConn and at Washington. Baylor graduated the most from last year losing Brittney Griner and four other seniors, yet the Lady Bears kept winning. They gave Connecticut the toughest game of the season and won the Big 12 for a fourth straight year.
HOME COOKING: Louisville, Stanford, Notre Dame and Nebraska know where they will be if they can make it to the regional semifinals. All four schools were selected to host regionals. The four went a combined 52-3 at home this season. “I don’t think it’s what should be done,” Louisville coach Jeff Walz said. “I use us as an example, if we played Baylor at Baylor last year I’m not sure we win that game at Baylor. I’m a big proponent of playing regionals on neutral floors and I’m excited that we’re going to back to.” At least the NCAA is bringing in new floors at all four schools so that the team’s logos won’t be visible.
CONFERENCE SUPREMECY: Which conference can make the claim as the best by putting the most teams in the tournament. The Southeastern Conference and Atlantic Coast Conference both have a good shot to get seven or eight teams in the field. The Big 12, Big Ten and Pac-12 also have a good chance to get multiple teams in. While everyone expects the BCS conferences to get many bids, don’t be surprised if the Atlantic-10 has multiple bids announced Monday.
NEWCOMERS: South Dakota, North Dakota, Akron and Winthrop will all be making their first appearances in the NCAA tournament. The Coyotes ended rival South Dakota State’s five-year run atop the Summit League in the semifinals before bouncing Denver in the championship game. North Dakota won both the Big Sky regular season and tournament titles for the first time in school history. Akron was playing third fiddle in the MAC to Bowling Green and Central Michigan, yet the Zips were the ones who walked away with the conference tournament championship. Winthrop knocked off High Point to win its first Big South title.
SUB .500: While UConn and Notre Dame didn’t lose this season, Prairie View A&M will become the ninth team to enter the NCAAs with a losing record. The 14-17 Panthers lost their first 11 games this season before making their normal run in March and earning a fourth straight NCAA bid. They will try and become the first under .500 team to win a game in the tournament.
Follow Doug on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/dougfeinberg