For the past week, there have been many questions and thoughts on what the NCAA women's basketball selection committee would do with the UConn Huskies. The conversation throughout the American Tournament at Mohegan Sun was what region they will play in.
All the talk was that the NCAA selection committee would send UConn to Louisville based on geographic concerns. Coach Jeff Walz hoped not to see the Huskies in the Louisville Regional but knew his team would be up to the challenge. Both Walz and Geno Auriemma believed that the Cardinals earned a top seed. Walz said that his team would not be lowest second seed going into the tournament and he would not see UConn again until the Final Four.
Auriemma didn't care who or where they were playing. However, he was against the idea of hosting the regional. He weighed in on this season's regional host sites and recalled 20 years ago when teams did that to buy their way into the Final Four. He hoped the regionals were stacked with tough teams for each host this season. He told a story of 1995 when UConn hosted in Storrs and said that regional with Virginia, Louisiana Tech, and Alabama was tougher than the Final Four with Stanford, Georgia, and Tennessee.
On Monday night, we got our answers. Connecticut (34-0) was awarded the number one overall seed in the NCAA Tournament. They will play in the Lincoln, Nebraska Regional. The Huskies will face No. 16 seed Prairie View (14-17) in the first round game on Sunday night (8pm, ESPN2) in Gampel Pavilion. The winner of that game will face the winner of the No. 8/No. 9 game between Georgia and St. Joseph's next Tuesday in Storrs, Conn.
The No. 2 seed in the region is Duke, followed by Texas A&M and Nebraska as the top four seeds. If seeding holds form, UConn will play Nebraska in a road game in the Sweet 16. The Huskies already destroyed the Blue Devils in December at Cameroon Indoor Stadium.
Undefeated Notre Dame is the top seed in the Notre Dame Regional followed by Tennessee as the top seed in the Louisville Regional and South Carolina as the top seed in the Stanford Regional.
As for Louisville, they will be a No. 3 seed in the Louisville Regional. The Cardinals earned a lower than expected seed just like their men's team. Although they have four losses on the season - three of them to No. 1 UConn - their strength of schedule doomed them. Stanford, who had a couple of questionable losses down the stretch, is the No. 2 seed in the Stanford Regional.
If form holds true, UConn and Notre Dame will face each other in the national championship in Nashville, Tenn. This will be the first time since last year's national semifinals they will meet. Muffet McGraw expressed disappointment in not playing UConn this season as they left for the ACC and the Huskies did not have room on their non-conference schedule. Both teams are scheduled to meet next season.
Just like the men's side, the American Athletic Conference was disrespected with two teams selected to the dance. Rutgers, who was ranked in the top 25 last week, and South Florida, who lost to Louisville in the AAC semifinal on the last possession, saw their bubbles bust.