47° Good Afternoon
47° Good Afternoon

NCAA women's tournament breakdown

Greatest ever?Who can beat Geno Auriemma's crew? It's been 72 games and 72 wins for UConn. Stanford came close in an 80-68 loss and actually had a halftime lead. The Huskies have it all: strong inside play in center Tina Charles, a versatile wing player in Maya Moore and stellar perimeter play from its backcourt trio of Kalana Greene, Tiffany Hayes and Caroline Doty. It is going to take an A-plus game to beat the Huskies. Kind of like Villanova's men over Georgetown in 1985.

Welcome back, VolsAfter an "off year" in which the Lady Vols were bounced from the NCAA Tournament in the first round last season, Pat Summitt's team is back with a vengeance. Winners of 14 straight, the Volunteers, paced by a balanced offense with five double-digit scorers, are on a collision course for the Final Four. There won't be a Tennessee-Connecticut final because both teams are on the same side of the bracket.

Oklahoma State shorthandedIt could be a tough first-round game for Oklahoma State, which will be without All-American point guard Andrea Riley. Riley will be suspended for the No. 4 Cowboys' first-round game against 13th-seeded Chattanooga on Saturday because of an on-court altercation two years ago during a loss to LSU in an NCAA regional semifinal.

Upstarts ready to make noiseWelcome to the party Nebraska, Xavier and Gonzaga. Although the teams are no strangers to the NCAA Tournament, they never have been invited with so much fanfare. Nebraska (30-1) won its first 30 games of the season and Xavier (27-3) enters the tournament as the No. 5 team in the country. Gonzaga upset Xavier in the first round as a 12th seed last season. Seeded seventh, the Zags won't sneak up on anyone this time.

Love for the mid-majorsThe selection committee was especially generous to mid-major schools as seven received at-large bids. The biggest surprise might have been Hartford. Although the Hawks (27-4) were ranked, the America East is not a two-bid conference. Vermont got the America East's automatic bid after beating the Hawks in the conference tournament final.

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