The once dominant Big East is no more. Its name having left along with the 10 defectors, what is left is the newly-minted and boringly-named American Athletic Conference. At the top, the new conference boasts both of 2013's NCAA Tournament national finalists in Connecticut and Louisville. After that, however, the 10-team league drops off quickly, with just one other tournament squad, USF, among its members.
STORRS, Conn. -- Those women's basketball fans who tuned into Monday night's nationally televised opening weekend match-up between No. 1 Connecticut and No. 3 Stanford, already weary of the mismatched skirmishes that have too often come to characterize the sport's early weeks and looking for a real dogfight between the two powerhouses, had to have been sorely disappointed by the 76-57 rout that ensued.
MORAGA, Calif. – Last season, Saint Mary’s knew it was good enough to challenge for an NCAA tournament berth. It had a slew of marquee juniors and a wealth of experience. It had played a challenging non-conference schedule, going up against Cal, UCLA and Oregon. They’d beaten the Ducks and taken down perennial conference power Gonzaga at home.
NEW ORLEANS -- The Louisville Cardinals took us on a magical ride through this year’s postseason, a ride that opened our hearts and minds to the possibilities implicit in dreaming big. They refused to let injuries, statistics, the expectations of others, an opponent’s home-court advantage or the star power of the game’s biggest names limit their imaginations or their performance.
There will be tension aplenty this Selection Monday evening for the bubble teams and their fans gathered for viewing parties across the country as the NCAA Selection Committee announces the brackets for the 2013 Division I Women’s Basketball Tournament. There will be a little bit of drama, as well, as teams higher in the bracket discover their seedings, where they’ll be sent and whom they must play in their quests to survive and advance through the postseason.
DENVER – In one of the all-time semifinal thrillers at the Women’s Final Four, Notre Dame rallied twice Sunday night with the game on the line to oust its Big East rival national heavyweight Connecticut 83-75 in overtime for the second straight year and move on to Tuesday night’s NCAA championship.
Will the Big East be big again with two teams in the Women’s Final Four?
Top-seeded Connecticut gets the first shot at answering in the affirmative on Tuesday night when the Huskies (32-4) meet second-seeded Kentucky (28-6) at 7 p.m. to battle for the Kingston (R.I.) title and a fifth-straight trip to the Women’s Final Four, which will be held this weekend in Denver at the Pepsi Center.
No. 1 Connecticut vs. No 8 Kansas State: March 18, 7:05 p.m.
Three of the four teams who will land in the NCAA Sweet 16 at the Kingston Regional at the University of Rhode Island’s Ryan Center this weekend will be determined Monday night.
In the Bridgeport subregional, top-seeded Connecticut (30-4) will host eighth-seeded Kansas State (20-13), which will play the Huskies for the first time ever though the team has made three previous appearances in Connecticut in the NCAA field.
Turns out that in Big East Women’s basketball revenge is a dish best served on the occasion of the conference tournament semifinals, as West Virginia (No. 5) and St. John’s (No. 2) discovered tonight at the XL Center.
West Virginia lost to top-seeded Notre Dame in a 73-45 routing. St. John’s fell to third-seeded Connecticut 74-43.
The two games shared similar backgrounds, followed similar cadences. Even the final scores were eerily similar.
The seeds have held through the first two rounds of the Big East tournament at the XL Center in Hartford, Conn., and now the schools at the top of the bracket move from their double-byes into action on the court.
Form is expected to hold again on Sunday when four quarterfinals games are played .
Some urgency is removed in terms of the impact of the outcomes on NCAA Tournament selections, because most of the survivors still here are already likely to land in the 64-team field with at-large bids except, of course, the one that becomes the champion and gets automatic entry.