It was everything you could ask in a tournament title game.
Two blue-collar teams, each with solid coaching, no swagger and a ton of heart, duked it out for 50 minutes, matching each other blow for blow and taking two overtimes to decide the Big Ten Conference Tournament championship.
In the end, No. 6 seed Nebraska was edged by No. 4 seed Purdue, 74-70.
Given that -- for the first time since 1992 -- none of the North Carolina teams was playing in the final, the crowd at today's ACC Women's Basketball Tournament championship game was surprisingly large and noisy. Maryland brought along a fairly large group of fans, but most of those in attendance simply seemed to be fans of ACC basketball in general.
In today’s SEC Championship the basketball world will witness an historic match up between legendary Tennessee head coach Pat Summitt and former Lady Vol Nikki Caldwell, now the head coach at rival LSU and one of the rising young stars in women's basketball coaching.
As the league's elite make their appearances in the Big East Championship Tournament after enjoying double byes for the opening rounds, most eyes will be focused on Notre Dame, the league's regular-season champion and tournament top seed. Ranked No. 3 in both major polls, the Irish defeated national No. 4 (and tournament three-seed) Connecticut, 72-59, last Monday, stealing the regular-season Big East title from the Huskies for the first time in five years.
How often does it actually happen that seeding works out?
They certainly didn't hold in Saturday's Big Ten Women's Basketball Tournament semifinals as the the two top seeds were shown the door. First to fall was three-time defending tournament champion No. 14/16 Ohio State. The Buckeyes (25-6) entered the tournament with the No. 2- seed thanks to the tiebreaker that pushed them ahead of Purdue, Iowa and Michigan State, all tied with Ohio State with 11-5 records in Big Ten play. They ended their Big Ten season Friday on the wrong end of a 77-62 semifinal decision with Nebraska.
After a crazy quarterfinals that saw the top two seeds knocked out of the tournament, things got back to normal during a fairly dull semifinal round in the ACC women's tournament. Higher seeds Georgia Tech and Maryland won their games without too much trouble, setting up a third meeting for these teams. Can the Terps pull off a three game sweep?
Semifinal One: (4) Georgia Tech 87, (9) NC State 61
In the most thrilling and unexpected set of quarterfinals games in ACC tournament memory, the top two seeds lost in the quarterfinals for the first time ever. This was also the first time the No. 1 seed has ever lost to a seed ranked 8 or lower.
It will also be the first time that both Duke and North Carolina have missed the conference semifinals since 1991. And It will be the first appearance by Wake Forest in the semifinals since 1988. The day had thrilling finishes, bizarre calls, inspired comebacks and fairly strong attendance.
On Saturday, the Mid-American Conference will join the 11 other midmajor conferences scattered across the country whose 2012 women's basketball championship tournaments are currently underway. In addition to bragging rights, the winner of each of these tournaments earns an automatic invitation to participate in the upcoming NCAA Tournament. For the also-rans, the tournaments represent a final chance to improve their résumés in hopes of impressing the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee enough to win one of the 33 available at-large bids.
With the exception of North Carolina State's thrilling comeback win over Florida State, things went according to chalk on the first day of the ACC Women's Basketball Tournament on Thursday, Mar. 2. However, the opening day's events did set up what has the potential to be a fascinating quarterfinal round of games.