Let’s Hear It For The Ladies

By Richard Kent
Updated: March 20, 2008

2008 Women's Final Four Tampa Bay

CONNECTICUT — The Women’s selection committee did a relatively good job this year, but placing Rutgers in Greensboro as the No. 2 seed to UConn makes absolutely no sense.

They should have been swapped with Texas A&M in the Oklahoma City Regional.

Rutgers is by no means a second seed and deserved a better fate than having to play Iowa State in Iowa and if they win UConn, the top team in the country in Greensboro.

But this is nothing new for Scarlet Knight head coach Vivian Stringer who has seen her team sent to regions in the past that no other team but Rutgers would be sent to.

With that being said it looks like the toughest regional is the New Orleans Regional where there could be an Elite 8 match-up between North Carolina and LSU, both teams deserving of No. 1 seeds.

To further complicate this, the match-up would take place in New Orleans which would give a decided advantage to No. 2 seed LSU over North Carolina who along with UConn are arguable the two top teams in the country right now.

One good thing that the committee did was set up a potential National Championship game between UConn and Tennessee. If they both advance to the Final Four then they would meet in the National Championship game and not the national semis as some had speculated.

This would be a dream match-up not only for women’s basketball and for ESPN but for the entire country. What would that handshake between Pat Summitt and Geno Auriemma look like before the game with all the animosity between the two schools as a result of Summitt dropping UConn as a yearly opponent before this season started.

I truly believe that Maryland was deserving of a No. 1 seed out west over Stanford as their body of work was slightly better than the body of work of Stanford and Stanford is given the advantage of playing a lot closer to home than Maryland so that kind of evens things up.

So how does this all shake up?

It looks very possible for the No. 1 seeds to all make it to Tampa. That would never happen in the men’s game because of parody but could very well happen in the women’s game this year because there really are only seven teams that can win the National Championship, the top four seeds and LSU, Stanford and Rutgers.

Our picks are all four No. 1 seeds in Tampa with North Carolina beating Tennessee and UConn beating Maryland. That would set up a National Championship game of UConn vs. North Carolina which would be a rematch of a game played earlier this season at Storrs.

In that game, North Carolina took a huge first half lead but Connecticut fought back and their stifling defense held North Carolina to very few points in the second half.

We look for the same thing to happen and for UConn to emerge as this year’s National Champion for the first time since 2004.