From Howard, for VICE: WHICH TEAMS GOT JOBBED BY THE WOMEN’S NCAA TOURNAMENT SELECTION COMMITTEE
The NCAA revealed its women’s bracket, one day after the men’s slate drew relatively muted criticism (well, unless you are Jim Boeheim, and judging by your lack of whining and deep hatred of Greensboro, North Carolina, you probably aren’t). The same cannot be said for the women’s draw. Many teams have legitimate gripes within the NCAA’s own rules. Others were left to wonder exactly why they played the regular season at all. No one likes this bracket very much.
So: who got the worst of it?
More Howard, who has Locked On Women’s Basketball Episode 38: Bracket Spectacular with Gabriella Levine
We discuss the outrage of Maryland’s seeding, the strength of Bridgeport, what to make of Tennessee, how underseeded DePaul is, why Marquette is intriguing and much more! We make picks, we go out on limbs.
Detroit: Michigan women’s basketball snubbed?
Which teams are best positioned to pull off the upset? Start with Notre Dame, who has appeared in four of the last six national finals, including two in which it lost to UConn (2014 and 2015). Coach Muffet McGraw has a tremendous inside-outside attack with junior forward Brianna Turner, senior point guard Lindsay Allen and an emerging third star in sophomore guard Arike Ogunbowale. Allen is also a senior point guard, which is a huge advantage in the Tournament. The Irish have not lost since Jan. 16 and have faced quality competition over the last four weeks (wins over Syracuse, Florida State, Louisville and Duke). Notre Dame fell 72-61 to UConn at South Bend on Dec. 7 but the game was tied at 34 at halftime. The Irish will avoid UConn until the final but Stanford, Texas and Kentucky (in Lexington) will be tricky games.
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Injury update: Alaina Coates’ injury a blow to top-seeded South Carolina
One of the saddest things in college sports is when seniors get hurt and can’t play in their last competition for their schools. That’s happened to South Carolina center Alaina Coates.
The Gamecocks announced Tuesday that Coates is ruled out from competing in the NCAA tournament because of an ankle injury.
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”We really were hoping for a neutral-court game and that’s what we got against Marquette,” Fabbri said. ”We had to play at Maryland a few years ago and that’s a really tough thing to ask any team do, beating a top school on their home floor.”
For mid-major programs, the Sweet 16 seems to be the cap lately for NCAA success, despite at least one team advancing to the second weekend in six of the past seven seasons. Over the past decade, only three mid-major teams have broken through to the regional final of the NCAAs – Xavier, Gonzaga and Dayton – and none have reached a Final Four since Jackie Stiles led SW Missouri State in 2001.
It might be tough to see either list grow this year.
Another opening: University of Illinois women’s basketball coach Matt Bollant fired