Monday, March 12, 2007

Top seed turvy (women)

At least each #1 seed in the men's bracket can claim a winning streak. In the fairer bracket, top seeds Duke, Connecticut, and Tennessee lost their most recent game. (And at least two of them will lose again.)

My year-in-advance Final Four predictions won't come to fruition: Tennessee, Maryland, and Ohio State all play in the same regional, and USC didn't make the field. So I'm back at square one.

I think that Ohio State -- ranked at or near the top 5 most of the season -- got shafted as a 4 seed, but the committee no doubt considered the loss of their senior point guard Brandie Hoskins to injury, and that loss to Purdue in the Big Ten tourney. Another quibble I have is the absence of mid-majors among the elite. Their best representative is 5 seed Middle Tennessee State, who can make the Sweet 16 if they get past... Ohio State.

Will the Final Four again be crashed by 3 (or even 4) ACC teams? I'm not sure if I can make that leap just yet. N.C. State would likely have to beat Connecticut and Stanford, which looks easy compared to Maryland's path. Of course, Duke and UNC would have to take on their own challengers to advance. It would be nice to see the conference show its dominance for a second straight year, though.

Duke against Carolina for the title? Could happen. Talk about stress.

Greensboro Regional
01. Duke: Headline a deep regional (7 ranked teams).
08. Vanderbilt: Won the SEC tourney; didn't face Lady Vols.
09. Arizona State: Second banana in 2-team Pac-10 race.
16. Rutgers: Won the Big East tourney in hostile territory.

Dayton Regional
02. Tennessee: And they thought last year's draw was unfair.
07. Maryland: Helluva regional final, if they get past...
10. Oklahoma: Look good if they don't face Texas A&M.
15. Ohio State: Oden's not the only dominant center in Columbus.

Dallas Regional
03. North Carolina: Seniors every bit as motivated as Duke's.
06. Purdue: Beat N.C. State by 30 last November.
11. Georgia: Quality wins over Rutgers and Stanford.
14. Texas A&M: Get a local crowd if they make it to Dallas.

Fresno Regional
04. Connecticut: More chinks in the armor than Huskies past.
05. Stanford: Wiggins is healthy and they stay in California.
12. LSU: Maybe they can escape the soap opera back home.
13. N.C. State: Half these teams are from ACC or SEC.

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