In 2006 and 2007 I tried to predict which schools would have the best chance to place both their men's and women's teams in the Final Four. So I'm doing the same this year. Can any college get a double dip like the ones below?
2005: Michigan State
Success must love company, because quite a few schools have placed both teams in the NCAA tournaments. There were 20 in 2006, 23 in 2007, and 22 this year. Here are (in my opinion) the most likely of those schools to be doubly pleased in early April.
1. Stanford. Men are a #3 seed; women are a #2 seed. I think the brackets for each work in their favor. The men have the size and skill to beat smaller Texas and Memphis. The women stay in their time zone and have it in them to defeat Maryland. I'm not saying it's going to happen for both teams, but it could.
2. Tennessee. Men #2; women #1. Some people have the men losing in the 2nd round to Butler or South Alabama, but I think they will reach the Final Four. The women are favored to get there, but they may have to face Oklahoma in Oklahoma City. And the recently fallen Sooners have something to prove.
3. North Carolina. Men #1; women #1. While the only school to get a pair of top seeds, I think the men's team is very beatable in that tough East region, specifically by the aforementioned Tennessee. The women's team should get there, but beating LSU in New Orleans is a tall order.
4. Connecticut. Men #4; women #1. Sorry, but a return to 2004 just isn't that likely. The women are heavily favored (again), but the men just aren't going to beat UCLA, even if they get that far.
5. Texas. Men #2; women #8. Just thought I'd throw a longshot in there. Honestly, I think the men will lose to Stanford, if not earlier. But I'd like to see the women do well; for coach Gail Goestenkors, formerly of Duke, a postseason win over UConn is long overdue.
For the record, the other 17 schools are Baylor, Cornell, Duke, Georgia, Kansas State, Louisville, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Pittsburgh, Purdue, San Diego, Temple, Texas A&M, Vanderbilt, West Virginia, Western Kentucky, and Xavier.