We may all know -- or at least we think we know -- what the ultimate outcome will be: UConn hoisting the trophy. But whether or not Connecticut clinches another undefeated season and national championship, the women's NCAA tournament has been well worth watching this year.
This season, for the first time, we have seen parity really hit the women's game. Sure, we've had glimpses in years past with an upset here and there. This season, however, it began early. Maryland's season-opening loss to TCU. The emergence of South Dakota State. Florida State's battle for a share of the ACC title.
Now it's actually made its way through the tournament. You can no longer Sharpie in a top 10 or a bracket. Consider: this year's Elite Eight. The field includes a pair of six seeds for the first time and one of those, Arizona State (which takes on UConn on Tuesday), is among three teams trying to get to its first Final Four. The other, Purdue, was part of a Sweet 16 matchup featuring two teams that weren't in the top 25.
Of course, that round was even more memorable for what it didn't include -- an SEC team, for the first time. Tennessee, usually there, suffered its earliest exit ever, losing to Ball State in the first round. LSU, another Final Four stalwart, was gone after a 10-point loss to Louisville in the second round.
Despite having six teams in the tournament, the ACC managed to get just one past the second round after top-seeded Duke and No. 3 North Carolina were both upset victims. "I think it points toward the parity in women's basketball, with so many different teams like Ball State and South Dakota doing so well," Stanford coach
That may be true coach, but right now the present is pretty darn good, too.
We're about to find what wins championships -- or at least regional finals. This is offense vs. defense. Louisville held Baylor to just 39 points in the regional semifinals. That might be a little tougher to do against the Terrapins. National championship veterans
Iowa State had a tough time against Michigan State's 6-9 center
Arizona State had more success against the usually stifling Texas A&M defense than most. The Sun Devils burned the Aggies for a season-high 84 points, hitting 62 percent from the field. The mighty Huskies were finally challenged, falling behind California for a bit in the regional semifinals. They still turned that into a blowout. Connecticut also showed that
The Sooners managed to get to the Elite Eight without