Ohio State women's basketball didn't have to sweat out Selection Monday. If you are a betting man or woman though, the odds say UNC and Duke will square up for a fourth time in the national title game.
The Huskies won a program-record four games in last year's tournament to advance to the first Final Four in program history.
With star guard Kelsey Plum - named the ESPNW national player of the year - the Huskies have been ranked in the top 10 for most of the season. Despite losing their trio of All-Americans in Breanna Stewart, Moriah Jefferson, and Morgan Tuck, the Huskies carried on without missing a beat this season.
The Blue Devils got their wish on Monday night and, even though they are in the same Bridgeport Region as the sport's juggernaut Connecticut Huskies, they're still plenty happy with the news. Unlike the past few years where it nearly seemed a foregone conclusion that UConn would win the title, the Huskies weren't the favorite coming into the season with big losses to graduation.
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Gamblers are clearly putting their money on Duke after the Blue Devils (27-8) became the first team to win four games in four days at the ACC Tournament. To those who follow Inside the Loud House, this is a lower projected seed than I or other analysts were projecting. Charles Bloom, executive associate athletics director for USC, says, "We have an allotment of 450 tickets for the first round". OSU is now ranked No. 8 in both the AP and Coaches' Poll.
The Buckeyes (26-6) were regular season co-champions of the Big Ten, and earned the top seed in the conference tournament. They will appear in the tournament for the second year in a row after not making the field since 1997. Asheville (19-14) is seeded 16th in the Stockton Regional and plays No. 1 seed SC (27-4).
That would peg Syracuse as a sixth seed in one of the four regions, perhaps seventh at the worst. "Put your head down and given the bracket you have, it's the next opportunity".
The Lady Vols who have shown they can beat almost anyone in the field but also can lose to many teams too. If UNC gets out of the South (far from a cakewalk), it would need to topple the victor of the Midwest Region that includes No.1 Kansas, No. 2 Louisville and No. 3 Oregon. The first four out were Michigan, Virginia, George Washington and South Dakota State.