CAN THE UCONN HUSKIES BE BEATEN?
Can anyone beat UConn?
Looking at the Huskies final four regular season games in the American Athletic Conference...they go to Tulane, host Temple and Memphis and visit South Florida. Only Temple (9-2, 19-5) has a better than .500 conference record as of today. The Owls are one of the schools UConn had already faced this season and they blinded the Owls 97-65 in Philly. Temple looks to be a possible NCAA Tournament team and so does USF. UConn hosted the Bulls and gored them 102-37 earlier this year. Memphis hasn't played UConn yet. At 5-6, 12-12 and having to travel there...they may want to cancel the flight.
The AAC Tournament shouldn't be a real test either. As a #1 seed, UConn and the other top three get a first round bye in the 11 team format that'll be held at Mohegan Sun (Uconn's second home away from home besides the XL Center).
They would face the winner of the #8 vs. #9 seeded opening day game. As of today that looks like SMU vs. Tulsa. After that, a semifinal contest against the #4 vs #5 winner (either Cincy or UCF currently). And so on to the finals.
We see them still undefeated going into the NCAA Tournament and Bridgeport (their third home away from home) as the #1 overall seed. Who could beat them in the NCAA? Let's look at four schools.
Some early projections (which we don't like) have Louisville headed to Bridgeport also...as a #4 seed. The two could hook up in the regional semifinal if things work out. Others have the Cards going to Stockton, CA after a couple of games at the YUM! Center. This could lead to a Final Four matchup between the two. In either scenario, we don't see Louisville ready for the upset yet.
Yet...Ask us again next year.
Mississippi State has been playing great basketball and is ranked #3 in the nation currently. If that holds and they are the third #1 seed, it would mean a final game scenario for the Rebs and Huskies. Mississippi State is good. Very good. Not UConn good, though.
Maryland holds the #2 ranking in the college basketball polls currently. They faced UConn early in the season and lost by six. They also faced Louisville and won by six. Could they get any closer to the Huskies in Dallas? We just don't see it.
Washington. I toss the Huskies in here because of two intriguing players and a #9 national ranking. I'm guessing the NCAA Committee might let the Huskies stay out west for a march to the Final Four. That helps. They've lost at Notre Dame by 11, at Oregon State by 3 and hosting Stanford by 4. They have national leading scorer Kelsey Plum and sensation Chantel Osahor. They probably can't beat UConn either...but it would be a fun game to watch and I'll give the Huskies my "long-shot chance" at getting to the Final Four.
Florida State. They came awfully close to beating UConn without Leticia Romero early in the season. They're #4 or #7 in the national current...that double-overtime loss to Texas was a setback and just plain bizarre. They'll have a tough ACC Conference end to the regular season and ACC tournament to to contend with before the NCAA On a neutral court with "Shak" and Romero. We give them the best possible shot at taking the Huskies to the kennel.
So, do I think anyone can beat UConn this season?
Sure. Anything is possible.
Do I think anyone will beat UConn?
That doesn't mean it's time to stop watching NCAA WBB, though. March madness is two weeks away. So many good games, conference and NCAA Tournament possible match-ups and scenarios. It's the most wonderful time of the year...if you're a women's college hoops fan.
Anything can happen. Just a few years ago, a certain Baylor squad was being crowned as a definite Final Four participant and probable national champion. An Easter Sunday match-up against Louisville burst that bubble.
It's why they play the games. It's why we want to watch.
WBB CARDS LOOKING LIKE A #5 SEED AS ACC TOURNAMENT GETS CLOSER
As the ACC regular season heads to the final few games before Tournament play, the Cards scenario for getting a double-round bye is pretty much this...keeping winning and hope for some huge upsets.
Florida State and Notre Dame are posed for a season-ending match-up to determine who will be the first and second seed on Sunday, Feb. 26th. The #3 and #4 seeds are currently Duke and NC State. Louisville needs one of those two to lose two of their final three games to sneak into a #4 seed.
Duke ends with games at Wake Forest, hosting Miami and at North Carolina. They appear to be the prime candidate of the two that could drop a couple.
Wake Forest did suffer a 71-43 loss at Cameron Indoor Stadium at the end of January. Duke and Miami haven't met yet and Duke did get a 70-58 win over the Tar Heels in Cameron on Jan. 12th. could the Blue Devils fall twice? They are on a five-game ACC win streak. Only Notre Dame, Florida State and NC State have hung conference losses on the Blue Devils and all of those were on the road for Rebecca Greenwell's bunch.
NC State has four more games. They go to Boston College, host Wake Forest and North Carolina and end the regular slate at Virginia. They won at Wake Forest 65-50 on Jan. 8th. lost at UNC 83-70 at the end of January and haven't faced the other two yet. Here's hoping UNC can produce a sweep and one of the other three can pull an upset.
So...if the Cards were to end up as a #5 seed, they would face the winner of the #12 vs. #13 seed game. That's a Thursday 11 a.m. game.
As of now, that would be Virginia Tech against Pittsburgh...but it's way too early to sort that out...with six teams within one game of each other in the conference standings in the #10 thru #15 slots.
In all fairness, we should mention that Syracuse is also at 9-4. If they win out also, they would lose the tie-breaker to Louisville for #5 and be the probable #6 seed. Miami is 8-5 in conference and needs a miracle to reach the top four.
Of course, anything is possible. Wake Forest, Virginia and Virginia Tech need to catch on fire and probably win out and go deep in the ACC Tournament is they want to play in the Big Dance. Right now, we see seven ACC teams as probables for the ACC Tournament. That, of course can change.
We'd like to see Louisville as that #4 seed...getting that extra day of rest.
Two weeks of shifting fortunes, potential upsets, buzzer-beaters and major match-ups before the 15 teams convene in Conway.
Sit down, buckle-up, grab hold and get ready. 27 left to play before tournament time.