Wednesday, March 16, 2016
It starts Friday -- WEDNESDAY CARDINAL COUPLE
WHO WERE THE BIG WINNERS AND LOSERS IN THE NCAA WBB TOURNAMENT SELECTIONS?
By now, many of our readers have had the chance to review the bracket for the NCAA Women's Tournament and we've already received quite a few entries for out NCAA Women's Tournament Bracket Pick 'Em. (It's not too late to get in...entries need to be in by Friday - noon for a chance at the Panera or Cracker Barrel $25 gift card)
So, what say you? Who came out the winners and losers in the draw? Feel free to chime in down in our comments section. You can also leave you picks there or e-mail them to firstname.lastname@example.org
Here's a few thoughts on the 2016 slate.
-- Baylor blasted by the bracket. Kim Mulkey has had a very successful season with the Bears (or Fighting Mulkey's...take your pick) but she had to have been tempted to do another dis-robing act after seeing who was matched up against her in the Dallas region. Lying in wait is the possibility of Florida State, Texas A&M, Louisville, Oregon State or Oklahoma St....all programs who have a legit shot at Indy. Yes, she did get Dallas...which is better than having to go to Sioux Falls...but even if she somehow manages to stumble out of the gauntlet and arrive in Indy...it's likely UConn will be waiting there to deliver the kill shot. This is a #1 seed that is the most likely not to get to the Hoosier state.
-- Good Ol' Rocky Top? Far from it...It's been a season Holly Warlick would most likely want to forget so far. The Vols start a few thousand miles away from the barbeque and orange-lined streets in Tempe, AZ...where they'll open against a very dangerous Green Bay squad. If successful, it's most likely powerful Arizona St. next. Syracuse, South Carolina, Ohio St. and West Virginia are all hoping to make the Sioux Falls trip. My guess is there won't be any Orange out on the prairie in late March.
-- Lucky Kentucky. The Cats played their Cards right (excuse the pun) when they bid for and received a Regional hosting assignment for the 2016 Tournament at Rupp Arena...which is not their home court. (Funny, but Rupp Arena didn't seem too neutral to me when I was up there a few months back for the Louisville game). As a #3 they also get to play their first two in Memorial Barnyard. UNC Asheville shouldn't pose much of a threat. Both Oklahoma and Purdue are double-digit loss teams. The road gets quite a bit more tougher when the action switches to Rupp...with the possibility of Maryland and Notre Dame waiting there for Epps and company...but if you have to play them, it's certainly advantageous to be able to do it on a "not-so-neutral" court.
-- ACC got no charity. The folks in Durham and Raleigh, NC have to be wondering what went wrong. Neither the Duke Blue Devils nor NC State Wolfpack received an invitation. Only five ACC schools are dancing...albeit five good ones in Notre Dame, Louisville, Miami, Florida State and Syracuse...while the SEC has nine participants. Auburn and Georgia are good teams, yes. Are they better than Duke and NC State?
-- Teams that aren't #1 seeds that have a chance at Indy. Let's face it, the chances of UConn not advancing out of the Bridgeport Region are as likely as me being picked for an astronaut assignment to Mars...but if the Huskies should stumble...South Florida could be that upset horse to hit the line. Good guards, smart coach and aggressive style. Baylor has a tough road to Indy. Louisville is hot, has the coaching pedigree and player skills to emerge from the debacle in Dallas. South Carolina couldn't have asked for a harder trip than suffering in Sioux Falls and Syracuse is playing their best basketball of the year right now. Ohio State is dangerous with Mitchell and neither would be that big of a surprise if they arrived in Indy. Notre Dame is another that doesn't appear likely to stumble...but if Touchdown Jesus waves off advancement, I could very easily see an experience and deep Maryland squad winning the Lexington region and staking claim to a Final Four slot.
There you have it. Toss up the ball and let's get this party started! We'll break down Louisville's first opponent (those delicious SugarBears from Central Arkansas) tomorrow here at your source for NCAA women's coverage. Someone bring the milk. (Am I the only one who remembers that cereal commercial? )