Here comes the Madness: Four items to know for the NCAA women's tournament

Here comes the Madness: Four items to know for the NCAA women's tournament

SURPRISE, SURPRISE 

This is the first time since the 2012-13 season that Connecticut enters the NCAA tournament with more than one loss. But, UConn coach Geno Auriemma still had to be completely perplexed — as were most women's college basketball fans — when the Huskies didn't receive a No. 1 seed on Monday. It's the first time since 2006 that UConn wasn't on the top-seed line. It was a good news, bad news day for the Huskies (31-2), who as a No. 2 seed, still ended up close to home in the Albany regional. But, the regional's top seed — Louisville (29-3) — beat UConn 78-69 on Jan. 31 in Louisville, Ky., with the Huskies only shooting 38 percent from the field.

IT'S WIDE OPEN

There's been a changing of the guard in recent years, with South Carolina and Notre Dame winning the past two national titles. This year, the case could be made for all four No. 1 seeds (Baylor, Louisville, Mississippi State and Notre Dame) to cut down the nets in Tampa Bay. A few No. 2 seeds (think UConn and Stanford) are also clearly in the mix to be crowned champions. The Irish (30-3) landed a coveted draw, with the defending national champions receiving the top seed in the Chicago regional, a short trip for the program's fans. Top overall seed Baylor (31-1), which has won 23 straight games, might have the simplest path to the Final Four of any No. 1 seed.

LADY VOLS GET IN. BUT WERE THEY DESERVING?

Make it 38 straight NCAA tournaments for Tennessee. Since the tournament's inception in 1982, the Lady Vols have never missed the Big Dance. But, the eight-time national champions have fallen on hard times of late under Holly Warlick. Tennessee (19-12), however, benefited from a weaker-than-usual field of bubble teams this season, netting a No. 11 seed. In some years, the Lady Vols might have been left at home. Just last season, Rutgers missed out on the tournament despite having a better resume (more top-50 wins and better strength of schedule among other factors).

SPOILERS!

The selection committee took some of the drama out of Selection Monday by releasing the last eight teams under consideration for at-large bids on Sunday night — Arkansas, Auburn, Indiana, Ohio, Princeton, Tennessee, TCU and UCF. They called them "the debatable eight." 80's cover bands have had better names. Of that aforementioned group, Auburn, Indiana, Princeton, Tennessee and UCF made the field as the last four in. In the most bizarre news of Monday's bracket reveal, ESPN scooped itself by accidentally releasing the entire women's bracket during an ESPNU "Bracketology" show four hours early. So, the network moved its "Women's Selection Show Special" up by a few hours.

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