When it comes to the Connecticut women’s basketball team, the questions surrounding the NCAA tournament don’t deal with whether so much as where.
That is the case again this season. The No. 1 Huskies (34-0), defending national champion, champion of the first American Athletic Conference tournament and winners of 40 straight, will receive their regional assignment Monday from the NCAA Selection Committee.
As one of the nation’s four No. 1 seeds, and the likely top overall seed in the field of 64, UConn will be sent to either the Louisville, Ky., or Lincoln, Neb., region.
Geno Auriemma and Louisville coach Jeff Walz have been consistently outspoken in opposing sending the Huskies to Kentucky. Why? If sent there, UConn would block the Cardinals from a possible No. 1 seed — a realistic expectation for the 30-4 team — and might be forced to play Louisville a fourth time in the Elite Eight.
The Huskies already have handed the Cardinals three of their four losses, the last a 20-point beating in last Monday’s AAC title game at Mohegan Sun Arena.
Charlie Creme, ESPN’s bracket analyst for the women’s tournament, had placed UConn in Louisville until last week. Now he has the Huskies going to Lincoln.
“The reason I changed my mind goes back to 2008, when UConn and Rutgers were placed together,” Creme said. “There was strong initial outrage about it. The coaches were upset. The media was upset. It didn’t seem to make a lot of sense. There was a lot of criticism. And in 2009, for whatever reason, the committee went away from the concept of grouping conference teams. Baylor and Oklahoma should have been together that year, based on geography, and it wasn’t done.
“There is a precedent set for reacting to outcry.”
Wichita State coach Jody Adams saved her best moves for last on Sunday.
Following the Shockers’ 73-49 win over Drake in the Missouri Valley Conference championship game in St. Charles, Mo., the usually reserved Adams broke out in a victory dance during the on-court celebration.
Her disco-like gyrations brought a scream of delight from the players.
“I only do it after championships,” Adams said. “It’s got to be for something special.”
Vols find more
Tennessee will send its usual young, talented team to the NCAA tournament. And it’s starting to feel even younger and even more talented.
Freshman guard Jordan Reynolds created excitement during Tennessee’s championship SEC tournament run, getting six points, three assists, two blocks and three steals against LSU, then scored nine points against Texas A&M. She and high-profile freshman Mercedes Russell combined to score 11 consecutive points in the second half against Texas A&M.