BY NATASHA GEIGER
There is a popular saying when referring to women’s basketball: watching it is like watching paint dry. I cannot deny that saying. I have played basketball for many years and even sitting on the bench could be like watching paint dry and I was watching my own team! But let me tell you, this year’s women’s NCAA March Madness will be like watching really fancy paint dry.
It is true, men’s basketball is much more popular than women’s basketball and I can understand why but there is something to be said about some of these top women’s teams in the tournament. The continuing madness features some very familiar teams lined up as number one seeds in their region. In the Albany region we have the UCONN Huskies, yet again locked in at the number one seed. The Huskies are 18-0 in conference play and 32-1 overall and will be seeking out a 3-peat when they reach the final four and the championship game. For any of you that know me, you know I am a diehard UCONN fan and will keep my word that they will sweep through the tournament with a feverish speed looking for another championship.
In the Spokane region we have the ladies from Maryland who are no strangers to the big dance either. Maryland is 18-0 in conference play and 30-2 overall. The ladies of Maryland are placed in a somewhat difficult region. While they are the number one seed, Tennessee is the number two, Oregon State at number three and Duke sits at number four. All these programs are solid, but Maryland should still be able to pull through as a top seed. In the Oklahoma City region, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, UCONN’s rival’s year in and year out are no stranger to the madness either. They are 15-1 in conference play and 31-2 overall. The only team the Fighting Irish should have any worry about is the Baylor Bears who sit at the number two seed; other than that, they should be able to glide right through to the Final Four. Lastly, in the Greensboro region, the South Carolina Gamecocks have yet again earned a number one seed. They are 15-1 in conference play and 30-2 overall and yet they have a fairly easy region to battle to the Final Four. As the women start the Sweet Sixteen games and look toward the Elite Eight action, all four number one seeds are still in the running for the Championship. The ladies will be playing the championship game April 7 in Tampa Bay, FL.
Looking at the top four number one seeds above, there is nothing overly surprising or new in the ranking. UCONN, Maryland, Notre Dame and South Carolina are no strangers to March Madness nor are they strangers to winning. Looking back at last year’s top teams at this time, UCONN, Notre Dame and South Carolina were top seeds with very successful runs through tournament time. The reason we continue to see these teams in the same position year in and year out is because of their team ethic along with their coaching and recruiting staff. All four of these teams have created a legacy worth watching this March. While the game may be a little bit slower and less physical, the women still bring intensity and passion to the game.
Welcome to March where anything can happen. It’s downright magical.