Ask the expert
We asked beat writer JEFF HUTH for his take on the WNIT:
If you believe the most recent national polls — and the NCAA’s latest RPI rankings — Illinois has drawn the toughest challenge in the third round of the WNIT. Toledo’s record (29-3) isn’t too shabby, either. As regular season champions of the Mid-American Conference, the Rockets were supposed to be in the NCAA tournament, but Central Michigan had other ideas, spoiling Toledo’s plans in the MAC tournament semifinals. I guess that’s why they call it March Madness. Illinois’ side of the bracket clearly is the tougher of the two. Of the 16 remaining WNIT survivors, five are ranked in the top 62 of the RPI. Four of those — No. 46 Toledo, No. 47 Pacific, No. 49 St. Mary’s and No. 62 Kansas State — still stand in the Illini’s way on their path to the title game. If Illinois does wind up playing for the WNIT championship on April 6, it will have gotten there the hard way. So, what else is new? As Illini fans well know, very little has come easy this season for Matt Bollant’s battle-tested bunch.