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March 2008 Archives


Monday, 03/31/08

Champagne For Ice

I'll never underestimate Kristi Toliver's fire and courage again. But with all due respect, tonight belongs to Candice Wiggins and Stanford.

Once again, for some reason, many doubted Stanford against the mighty Terrapins. Not I. How could you doubt Wiggins? Well, Wiggins made all her doubters eat crow tonight. Stanford's resolve was too much for the Terps. They played well.

Maryland shot over 60 percent in the first half and was still down 10 at halftime. Tonight was just Stanford's night.

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Posted by Jeff Lippman at 11:36 PM | Comment

Monday, 03/31/08

Calling All Tigers

I really don't understand why nobody else thought LSU would make it five straight. I certainly did.

Out of all the women's analysts working for the world wide leader, not one picked the Tigers to come out of the New Orleans Regional alive.

Why? They're a No. 2 seed, so it's not a stretch there. Is North Carolina that much better? They were playing in Louisiana, for gumbo sakes!

Anyway, bottom line, LSU made the run-and-gun Tar Heels look mired ankle-deep in quicksand.

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Posted by Jeff Lippman at 09:58 PM | Comment

Monday, 03/31/08

Expected Eight, Upsets Coming

On Sunday, as the Sweet 16 drew to a close, it became brutally obvious that if the little number indicated your seed was lower than your opponents, you were probably going to advance to the Elite Eight.

One seeds Connecticut and Tennessee cruised past 5-seeded Old Dominion and Notre Dame, respectively. Each team's star led the way. Freshman Maya Moore finished with 25 points and 11 rebounds and, not to be outdone, Candace Parker dropped 34 and 13 for the Lady Vols.

As for the two seeds, they both advanced with Texas A&M topping Duke handily, 77-63, and Rutgers holding off an upset bid from George Washington for an 11-point victory.

The Lady Vols, Huskies, Scarlet Knights and Aggies join two seeds LSU and Stanford and ones Maryland and North Carolina as the eight teams remaining in the Big Dance.

Yup, so much for parity. All eight top seeds remain.

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Posted by Jeff Lippman at 03:51 AM | Comment

Sunday, 03/30/08

Maryland's New Long Range Weapon

Well, I said that Maryland needed a big game from Kristi Toliver to get out of their recent funk and advance to Monday's Elite Eight.

I was wrong. Maryland got just 8 points out of Toliver and the junior missed every three-pointer she took. She's now shooting 2-for-16 from long range. And the Terps still breezed into the round of eight.

How?

Freshman Marah Strickland.

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Posted by Jeff Lippman at 01:25 AM | Comment

Saturday, 03/29/08

Oklahoma State Gets The White Out

It was obvious watching Oklahoma State play LSU that the Tigers were simply physically superior.

Were it not for Andrea Riley over the first few minutes, LSU would have been shutting out the overmatched Cowgirls.

And to make things worse, the one thing LSU needed to become even more dangerous, the emergence of point guard Erica White's scoring talents, happened. White led the Tigers in scoring with 18 points and that total isn't as high as it should be. In the first half, White, usually the team's assist person, was looking for her shot. She would weave inside defenders and have open layups, but several rimmed out. In the second half, they started to drop.

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Posted by Jeff Lippman at 06:25 PM | Comment

Saturday, 03/29/08

Advancing By A Foot

Told you Angel McCoughtry was going to need to score 40 points for Louisville to beat top-seeded North Carolina in Saturday afternoon's regional semifinal game from New Orleans.

McCoughtry, though, didn't heed my advice. She only managed to score 35. And guess what? The Cardinals lost by just four points. Had McCoughtry's total been 40, Louisville would still be dancing.

The Cardinals star was on fire in the first half and Louisville, who's men's team is also playing North Carolina in the Elite Eight later tonight, rushed out to an early 18-point lead over the Tar Heels.

But it wasn't to last.

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Posted by Jeff Lippman at 02:25 PM | Comment

Saturday, 03/29/08

Sweet Sunday

The Spokane and New Orleans Regionals are down to their final matchups and Sunday is Greensboro and Oklahoma City's turn to dance into the Elite Eight.

Four more games to whet your appetite await.

Sunday, however, won't have as many close matchups as Saturday. In my opinion, there could be three blood baths and one tight contest. Here's how they shake out:

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Posted by Jeff Lippman at 11:45 AM | Comment

Saturday, 03/29/08

Let The Sweetness Begin

The first four of eight Sweet 16 games commences Saturday with the New Orleans and Spokane Regionals playing their semifinals.

In what can only be described as a weird and annoying schedule, North Carolina and Louisville and Louisiana State and Oklahoma State meet early with noon and 2 p.m. ET starts, respectively, while the Spokane games begin late at 9 and 11:30 p.m. ET.

That means that Pitt and Stanford won't declare a winner until the early morning hours on Sunday. But of course, She's On Fire will be here to let you know what happened.

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Posted by Jeff Lippman at 10:49 AM | Comment

Friday, 03/28/08

The Head of the Snake

Raise your hand if you simply can not wait for the Tennessee-Connecticut national championship matchup.

Well, if Van Chancellor, Sylvia Fowles and LSU have anything to do about, those hand raisers will be waiting for something that never comes.

People seem to forget about the Tigers, who are the only remaining team playing their Sweet 16 and Elite Eight games in their home state. That's right, the Tigers have under a two-hour drive to get from their home in Baton Rouge to the New Orleans Arena where they will meet 3-seed Oklahoma State on Saturday.

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Posted by Jeff Lippman at 11:19 AM | Comment

Thursday, 03/27/08

Good Enough Is Never Enough

Connecticut beat Texas by 34 points. Tennessee spanked Purdue by 26 on the Boilermakers own home court and trust me, it could have been worse.

The point I'm trying to make here is thus: It is unacceptable for Maryland, if they hope to win their second national championship in three years, to be beating Coppin State by 14 and Nebraska by 12.

I've never been much for style points or pouring it on but let's get one thing straight. There is a difference between coasting to victory and grinding out a win. Don't fool yourselves; the Terrapins were hanging on for dear life in that game against Nebraska. When Yvonne Turner converted on the four-point play to pull the score to 65-61 with the game clock winding down, I don't think Brenda Frese was feeling breezy about the situation.

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Posted by Jeff Lippman at 09:38 AM | Comment

Wednesday, 03/26/08

Who's Big Now?

The Big 12 can eat its heart out.

They may have been 8-0 in the first round, but the second round was a whole other story. Only two Big 12 teams remain - No. 2 Texas A&M and No. 3 Oklahoma State. So what happened to the other six?

The Big East happened.

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Posted by Jeff Lippman at 10:41 AM | Comment

Tuesday, 03/25/08

Meeting In Virginia

With about 20 seconds to play in the game and Virginia down by three. The Cavaliers had one last chance.

Playing on Old Dominion's home court, the Cavs missed once, twice, three times, four times, five times and finally...when they probably should have just taken a three-pointer with the clock rocketing towards zero...finally they hit a lay up. And the whistle indicated the foul. Aisha Mohammad hit the foul shot to send the game into overtime.

And in the extra period it was Virginia who took the early advantage. But at home, Old Dominion still had fight left in them.

Up one, they put the ball in Jazzmin Walters hands and she delivered with a long three to ice it for the Monarchs.

Old Dominion has now not lost in its last 26 games at home. They advance to the Sweet 16 where they will face top overall seed UConn.

Well, it was a good run.

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Posted by Jeff Lippman at 09:10 PM | Comment

Tuesday, 03/25/08

Sweetness Engulfs NCAA Tournament

By the end of today there will only be 16 remaining teams in the NCAA Tournament. And boy will that be sweet.

Monday saw the 2-seeds and most of the 3-seeds in action. While the 2-seeds - Rutgers, Stanford, Texas A&M and LSU - had little trouble advancing, the 3-seeds weren't as fortunate.

Both Cal and Baylor dropped their matchups with George Washington and Pitt, respectively. And 11-seeded Florida State took Oklahoma State to overtime before losing by a single point to the 3-seeded Cowgirls.

There is only one more 3-seed left to play, and if Monday's games are any indication, it won't be an easy night for Duke.

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Posted by Jeff Lippman at 09:46 AM | Comment

Tuesday, 03/25/08

Maples On Ice

While the 3-seeds had a lot of trouble on the day with both Cal and Baylor losing their second round games, the 2-seeds had no such trouble.

Rutgers, LSU and Texas A&M all won easily and advanced to the Sweet 16 Monday. For them, it all went according to plan. For the other 2-seed, Stanford, it went according to plan, but with a special Palo Alto send off for Candice Wiggins.

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Posted by Jeff Lippman at 12:36 AM | Comment

Monday, 03/24/08

Cowgirl Heroes, Panther Prowess and Sarah Jo

Andrea Riley may be the resident superhero of Stillwater, Okla., but Maria Cordero deserves a heroes welcome whenever the Cowgirls' dance ends as well.

But thanks very much to both players, it didn't end Monday night against Florida State.

It started with Cordero. With just under two minutes remaining in the overtime, Cordero looked visibly tired as she stumbled back onto the court after a time out. But then, moments later, from the Oklahoma State offensive corner a three-pointer was launched by none other than the embattled senior and when it swished the Cowgirls had a 70-65 lead with 1:38 to play. She would finish with just nine points, but that might be the biggest 3-pointer in Cowgirls history.

They never looked back. Of course, it did get hairy thanks to Florida State's Mara Freshour.

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Posted by Jeff Lippman at 09:03 PM | Comment

Monday, 03/24/08

The Cinderellas Go Today...Both Of Them

Do you know how many upsets there were in the first round of this year's NCAA Tournament?

Three. Just three.

And 9th-seeded Purdue - the Big Ten Tournament champs - beating 8th-seeded Utah - a team that didn't win its smaller conference tournament - can hardly even be considered an upset.

No, in reality, there are only two teams remaining who even draw the slightest resemblance to anything considered a Cinderella remaining. OK three if you count 7th-seeded UTEP, but they were the higher seed in their first round game.

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Posted by Jeff Lippman at 12:15 PM | Comment

Monday, 03/24/08

Doing It With Defense

When Vanderbilt lost in the second round to Bowling Green in the NCAA Tournament last season, coach Melanie Balcomb probably thought her Commodores had missed out on a golden opportunity.

The Commodores were a senior-laden team who had just come off an impressive run to win the SEC Tournament. This was supposed to be their time. Instead, little Bowling Green ended their run prematurely.

With the season's end, so did the careers of Vandy stars like Carla Thomas, Caroline Williams and Dee Davis. The Commodores' two leading scorers and their best ball distributer gone, they weren't expected to compete at as high a level this season. How could they? Who would score the ball?

Well, as her 'Dores prepare for a second round matchup with the 5-seed West Virginia out of the Spokane regional, Balcomb and her team are back and looking for second-round redemption. And they're doing it with defense.

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Posted by Jeff Lippman at 10:48 AM | Comment

Sunday, 03/23/08

Then There Was 32

The first round of the NCAA Tournament is written. One step closer are we on the road to crowning a new - or perhaps a familiar - champion.

Is there any question in anyone's mind which is the best conference in women's basketball this season? It's the Big 12 hands down, and they are proving it in a big way.

Eight NCAA Tournament teams, the most of any conference. Eight NCAA Tournament victories later, and the Big 12 makes up a quarter of the field.

And the eighth Big 12 victory was a microcosm of the difference between the two conferences of which the opponents belong.

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Posted by Jeff Lippman at 10:20 PM | Comment

Sunday, 03/23/08

Afternoon Of Few Surprises

Eight of Sunday's 16 opening round games are over and eight more teams are firmly implanted into the second round. And the resounding theme of the second day of NCAA Tournament action was double-digit wins.

Five of the eight games ended up with lopsided margins as only Nebraska and Xavier could play a close game until the buzzer sounded. The 8th-seeded Cornhuskers won that matchup, 61-58, as did all of the higher seeds in the morning and afternoon sessions.

There have been no surprises yet today.

Here's a look at some of the early actions top stories:

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Posted by Jeff Lippman at 04:45 PM | Comment

Sunday, 03/23/08

Sooners Advance...For Now

Illinois State gave a wonderful effort, but in the end, Oklahoma had too much firepower for the 13-seeded Redbirds to handle.

Point guard Kristi Cirone proved to be a stone-cold Goliath killer and showed the heart of a champion but it wasn't enough against the likes of Courtney Paris and the Big 12's Sooners. Oklahoma won 69-61 and advances to the second round.

But the underlying story in this game, to me, is Oklahoma's vulnerability. All season I've given them the benefit of the doubt. Surely, with a force like Paris, how could the Sooners go wrong?

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Posted by Jeff Lippman at 02:08 PM | Comment

Sunday, 03/23/08

Don't Forget About Us

Yesterday I gave you 16 names to follow on day one of the NCAA Tournament.

Many of them had big games. So, let's do it all again. Here are 16 more names that you have probably never heard of but will make a big difference in today's games:

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Posted by Jeff Lippman at 11:40 AM | Comment

Sunday, 03/23/08

Staying East Of The Mississippi

It's Sunday. The weekend is nearing an end. Thankfully, because the locations of today's first round games - College Park, Md., West Lafayette, Ind., Norfolk, Va. and Bridgeport, Conn. - are all in the Eastern Standard Time Zone, these games will be over at a normal hour.

There are 16 more games of opening-round action today, and just as all four No. 2s played on Saturday, Sunday sees the four top seeds hit the court.

I'll tell you right now. I'm predicting four victories by the top seeds. No need to even go over them.

Like Saturday, many of today's games have already been predicted and studied here. And the first game of the day falls under that category as we start in the Spokane Regional where Xavier (9) and Nebraska (8) get set to tangle.

I went with Xavier.

Here is the rest of the day's action:

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Posted by Jeff Lippman at 10:10 AM | Comment

Saturday, 03/22/08

Day One Recap

Sixteen teams find themselves one game closer to the goal that was priority number one from the moment they set foot in their rickety gyms back home.

Sixteen are going back to those gyms empty handed.

There were some upsets. Most games went according to seeding. Here are some other notes and top performances from the first day of action: for the

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Posted by Jeff Lippman at 09:22 PM | Comment

Saturday, 03/22/08

Tourney's First Upset

Five games had come and gone and five higher seeds advanced to the round of 32. The sixth broke the mold.

And I called it, too.

The Hartford Hawks, the 10-seed in the Oklahoma City regional, met the Big East's Syracuse Orange and juiced their northeast neighbors, 59-55, in Baton Rouge, La.

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Posted by Jeff Lippman at 04:54 PM | Comment

Saturday, 03/22/08

Welcome Back, Kia

It must be something about the NCAA Tournament that awakens a sleeping giant within Kia Vaughn's 6-foot-4 frame.

The last time Vaughn saw 20 points next to her name on the stat sheet was in last year's National Championship game. She went this entire season without putting up the magic number, and at times looked visibly uncomfortable on the floor for the defending national runners-up.

She just wasn't the same Kia that dominated on Rutgers' journey to Cleveland last year. As if the regular season was nothing but a long waiting period between moments to shine, Vaughn rose to the occasion in the tournament once again.

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Posted by Jeff Lippman at 04:29 PM | Comment

Saturday, 03/22/08

Great Start

Often times, the difference between being lauded as the hero and chided as the goat can be entirely insignificant, yet altogether catastrophic.

For Georgia Tech junior Jacqua Williams, today's opening round game against Iowa State was one of those times.

And unfortunately for the ACC's leader in steals, it was one steal she didn't get that cost her team the free throws that increased Iowa State's lead to three and took the stinger out of the Yellow Jackets' chances. The 10th-seeded Buzz lost to the 7th-seeded Lady Cyclones, 58-55, in Des Moines, Iowa.

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Posted by Jeff Lippman at 02:01 PM | Comment

Saturday, 03/22/08

If You Don't Know, Now You Know

There are 16 games on the first day of NCAA Tournament action. One of the best things about the women's NCAA Tournament is that teams who never get much publicity get to stand out in the spotlight for at least one game.

This country is full of excellent women's talent that most people have never heard of. Shoot, some of the best players on the best teams in the country slip the minds of even the most knowledgeable sports fan.

I couldn't believe my ears when my good friend and big-time sports enthusiast - he's a Buffalo Bills fan, though - asked me, "Who's this Candace Parker?"

So with 16 games today, I will highlight a player the country should be aware of in each.

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Posted by Jeff Lippman at 11:48 AM | Comment

Saturday, 03/22/08

Saturday Is Day One

Like a 50's middle school sock hop, the boys are on one side of the dance floor and the girls on the other. And never the two shall meet.

The men have been dancing for days. It's the ladies turn to cut a rug.

Saturday sees 16 First Round games, the first exit on the long highway to Tampa. All the action starts at noon with two games, a battle for Texas and an ACC/Big 12 showdown.

All the first round games have been predicted, but that doesn't mean there isn't lots to talk about.

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Posted by Jeff Lippman at 10:06 AM | Comment

Friday, 03/21/08

My Final Four

North Carolina was the only team to make the Final Four last season out of my four predicted participants.

I was convinced of the ACC's superiority last season and predicted Maryland, Duke and North Carolina State would join the Tar Heels during the season's last week of action.

I was not correct as it was Rutgers, LSU and Tennessee - the eventual champs - that joined Sylvia Hatchell's club in Cleveland.

So this season, to make up for last year's blunder, it is my promise to not include ANY ACC teams in my Final Four. OK? Good.

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Posted by Jeff Lippman at 10:41 AM | Comment

Friday, 03/21/08

Bracket Racket

Tennessee begins its quest for an eighth national championship in just a day, but Connecticut is the top overall seed and has designs on Geno's sixth. And Rutgers is ready to scrap, claw and defend their way past both of them.

North Carolina sets heel on the road to their third straight Final Four tomorrow, and LSU prowls for their fifth consecutive national semifinal.

Or was it Maryland trying to win its second national championship in three years. Or Stanford trying to prove they deserved the top seed while re-establishing dominant women's basketball on the West Coast.

Whatever the story, the NCAA Tournament will be a fantastic journey, but one that will ultimately reveal one of the aforementioned schools as the true champion.

Which school, you ask? Well, that is where I get to have my fun.

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Posted by Jeff Lippman at 08:44 AM | Comment

Thursday, 03/20/08

Representing The Sunshine

The NCAA Tournament selection committee had 63 teams already ensconced within the bracket. They just needed one more...

They went with experience.

Overlooking teams like Michigan State, who struggled under new coach Suzy Merchant, and Green Bay, who finished with 26 wins on the year, the committee went with a team that has been to the last three NCAA Tournaments and has advanced past the first round in all of them.

Last year, Florida State surprised Stanford in the round of 32 and advanced to the Sweet 16 for the first time in school history. At 18-13, the 'Noles grabbed that last at-large bid as the 11 seed and will face the six seed, Ohio State, in the opening round Saturday in Des Moines, Iowa out of the New Orleans region.

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Posted by Jeff Lippman at 10:34 AM | Comment

Wednesday, 03/19/08

Rutgers' Road Less Traveled

If Rutgers' coach C. Vivian Stringer had a motto for her team, Robert Frost would be the author.

Frost penned the famous words, "Two roads diverged in a wood, and I - I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference."

Coming off a 2007 NCAA Tournament run in which nobody expected the Knights to advance much further than the Sweet 16 yet found glory as national runners-up, this was supposed to be Rutgers' year.

The season was up and down, but it wouldn't be a Rutgers team if that were not so. At times they were spectacular, at other times not so much. Their secret weapon, the 55 defense, can only be used if the team in playing at all cylinders. And unfortunately for the Knights, that didn't happen often this season.

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Posted by Jeff Lippman at 11:35 AM | Comment

Tuesday, 03/18/08

The Underdog Vols Strike Again

During last year's NCAA Tournament run for eventual national champion Tennessee, the Lady Vols managed to fly under the radar all the way to the title.

Which team ended Marist and Ole Miss' magical tournament runs last season? That's right, Tennessee. The media attention went to the darlings, but the spoils of victory went to the Lady Vols.

Here, I wrote about it: The Underdog Vols

Perhaps it was the fact that Tennessee sidled through the tournament without much hype. After all, Duke was the favorite, Maryland was the defending champs and UNC and LSU has been there before. Maybe coach Pat Summitt used that to her advantage. Fly under the radar and quietly beat the snot out of the opponents you face until there are no opponents left standing.

And now amazingly, after year in which the Lady Vols were No. 1 and looked indestructible for a good chunk of the season, Summitt has the Lady Vols as underdogs once again.

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Posted by Jeff Lippman at 12:07 PM | Comment

Monday, 03/17/08

If Everything Goes Exactly According To Plan...

Already having giving my initial reactions on the Spokane and New Orleans regionals, it's time I turn my attention to the other two pieces of the tournament puzzle. Oklahoma City and Greensboro.

Or should I say, Tennessee and Connecticut.

The two coaches can't stand each other at this point, and now the selection committee has appropriately set them up as No. 1 seeds on opposite sides of the bracket. Should everything go according to plan, the Huskies and Lady Vols would be on a crash course to find each other as the last two teams standing in the national championship game on April 8 in Tampa.

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Posted by Jeff Lippman at 09:55 PM | Comment

Monday, 03/17/08

NCAA Likes Babies

Babies are so cute and cuddly, aren't they?

Stanford, take a good look at the two biggest reasons the No. 1 seed in the Spokane regional was torn from your grasp.

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Posted by Jeff Lippman at 07:59 PM | Comment

Monday, 03/17/08

NCAA Sweet 16

The No. 1 seeds shouldn't be too difficult to predict. Neither should be the No. 2s.

The three and four seeds is where it starts to get a little dicey. Here are my predictions for the top four seeds in the NCAA Tournament when the brackets are announced at 7 p.m. Monday:

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Posted by Jeff Lippman at 12:08 PM | Comment

Monday, 03/17/08

Pins and Needles

It really isn't nice to make the ladies wait like this.

In the small college towns of Auburn, East Lansing, Lincoln and Ames they can only keep themselves busy until tonight at 7 p.m. when they learn their tournament fate.

Until then, we can only speculate. And what is one more day of speculation but another chance to try and predict the unpredictable.

And I'm not the only game in town, either. CSTV.com has employed the services of bracket expert Jerry Palm, as well. Palm gives us his final predictions in the Road to 64, and needless to say, Palm and I don't always agree on our brackets, and this one is no different.

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Posted by Jeff Lippman at 10:33 AM | Comment

Sunday, 03/16/08

This Year's Marist?

If you want to get technical about it, fine, sure, the Red Foxes are safely embedded within the field of 64 and could very well make another magical run. But they've been there, done that. Let's talk about someone shiny new.

Patrick Henry probably didn't have the 10,500-student Lynchburg, Va., school in mind when he spoke the famous words, "Give me Liberty, or give me death." But whether the country likes it or not, it should get ready to see a whole lot of the Liberty Lady Flames.

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Posted by Jeff Lippman at 04:14 PM | Comment

Sunday, 03/16/08

Super Sophomores Shine Saturday

Traditionally, in women's basketball, the more exciting conferences play their tournaments early. Unlike the men, who save their best for last, as the ACC and SEC crown champs on Selection Sunday, the ladies dole out those league titles days before the brackets are finalized.

This season, though, it seems the women did save their very best for the penultimate day of action, as the Big 12 concluded its season Saturday with two teams who had never before even advanced as far as the title game, but who both came out looking like champions.

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Posted by Jeff Lippman at 11:26 AM | Comment

Saturday, 03/15/08

The Final Major

One more major conference crowns its champion Saturday as the Big 12 reaches its championship. Eight other conference tourneys will come to a close today, as the total number of automatic bids swells to 24 out of 31.

We're just two days away from Selection Monday, with many teams sitting on pins and needles waiting to find out where their tourney fate takes them. If you are Maryland or LSU right now, you're wondering if you'll get that two seed and where you'll have to travel. If you are Temple or Auburn, however, you are wondering if you will have some place to travel at all.

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Posted by Jeff Lippman at 11:11 AM | Comment

Friday, 03/14/08

Climbing A Mountain

Before I get into today's topic, I'd just like to show a little remorse for my college basketball fan-dom.

As a Florida alum and a long-time Maryland fan on the men's side, last night saw both teams lose in their opening round conference tournament games. They both played themselves off the bubble. Congratulations, I've nothing to root for come March. I better have a strong bracket.

OK, I'm done venting.

Today's topic is the Mountain West, where as many as three teams from this mid-sized conference enjoyed AP rankings at some point this season. But this isn't about one of those teams. No, this is about a Mountain West school who was never ranked this year. In fact, before the MWC Tournament started, they hadn't won a single game since Dec. 4.

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Posted by Jeff Lippman at 10:27 AM | Comment

Thursday, 03/13/08

Respect and Expectations

Two governing laws have ruled the Big 12 this season, and they are continuing right through the conference tournament.

Law 1: Expect the unexpected
Law 2: In order to gain respect, you must earn respect

Raise your hand if you expected No. 8 Iowa State to win two games in the Big 12 Tournament, including topping top-seeded Kansas State in overtime to shoot into the semifinals. Anyone?

So what is Iowa State doing? That's right, they're gaining respect. And lot's of it.

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Posted by Jeff Lippman at 11:33 AM | Comment

Wednesday, 03/12/08

No. 1 Overall

Geno Auriemma has so many weapons at his disposal.

The Connecticut Huskies won the Big East Tournament Championship Tuesday over an upstart Louisville club who had been knocking down opponents before meeting the Big East's big dogs.

With the 65-69 victory, No. 1 UConn essentially sealed its fate at becoming the top overall No. 1 seed when the brackets are announced on Selection Monday.

What don't the Huskies have?

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Posted by Jeff Lippman at 07:40 AM | Comment

Tuesday, 03/11/08

The Pac-10's Best....Ever

West Coast women's basketball, it can be accurately stated, has simply lacked entertainment value over the past several years, while teams on the other side of the country - UConn, UNC, Duke, Maryland, Tennessee, etc. - ruled the game.

Lacking or not, the West Coast belongs to Candice Wiggins, and for four years she has always been worth the price of admission.

It's a sad realization for the Pac-10, however, that Wiggins has played her final conference game - an absolute beauty in the conference championship against Bay Area-rival Cal.

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Posted by Jeff Lippman at 10:30 AM | Comment

Monday, 03/10/08

It's A Bay Area Monday

Eight teams are already firmly ensconced in the field of 64. Monday, that total rises to 11 as three more conferences play their championship games.

The Atlantic 10, Southern and Pac-10 are all down to their final two participants, while the Big East is a final four that fails to include one team that played in last year's actual Final Four in Cleveland.

Two conferences, the Sun Belt and the Summit League, are in their semifinals as well and two others, the Horizon and the Mid-American, will be completing just their opening rounds.

Here is all of Monday's action:

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Posted by Jeff Lippman at 12:14 PM | Comments (1)

Sunday, 03/09/08

Legendary Sunday

One legend showed another legend why the SEC's coaches chose the wrong Player of the Year, one conference's top seed completed their wire-to-wire season and another previously unbeaten No. 1's cherry tree was cut down. And in the Big East, an Angel provided the biggest upset of the day.

Don't worry, it will all be explained.

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Posted by Jeff Lippman at 09:44 PM | Comment

Sunday, 03/09/08

Six Fill Dance Card

Six teams will join East Tennessee State and Murray State with automatic bids for the Big Dance.

Major conferences, the ACC and the SEC, crown their champs, as does the Big Ten, Conference USA, the MAAC and the West Coast Conference.

Obviously, the ACC and the SEC take center stage. On Saturday, Duke was able to throw a wrench in Maryland's ACC title plans by upsetting the No. 2 Terrapins as they advanced to Sunday's final to meet hated rival No. 1 North Carolina.

The SEC's title game, however, is the showcase. It doesn't get much better than this.

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Posted by Jeff Lippman at 11:58 AM | Comment

Saturday, 03/08/08

Duke Gives Greensboro The Blues

It took all season but Joanne P. McCallie finally has Duke looking like...well, Duke.

The three seed in the ACC Tournament advanced to Sunday's final against arch-rival North Carolina, who defeated Virginia handily earlier in the day, by beating a cold-shooting Maryland team that was simply outworked by the invigorated Blue Devils.

This isn't the same Duke team that I watched Maryland dominate in College Park back in January. Even without the services of leading scorer Chante Black, who sat the bench most of the game in foul trouble, the Blue Devils controlled the game and basically led from start to finish.

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Posted by Jeff Lippman at 05:29 PM | Comment

Saturday, 03/08/08

Semifinal Saturday

Saturday sees action in 16 conference tournaments.

While the ACC and SEC are in their semifinals, another major conference is just getting under way in the Big East. And by the end of today two conferences will have crowned champions, earning automatic berths into the NCAA Tournament.

So where do we start? At the beginning, of course.

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Posted by Jeff Lippman at 10:53 AM | Comment

Friday, 03/07/08

This Time Next Year

Friday afternoon in Nashville, fans got a back-to-back chance to see two of the most storied SEC players in the history of the conference play in their last SEC tourney quarterfinal games.

If you didn't realize it, these are your last chances to catch Tennessee junior Candace Parker and LSU senior center Sylvia Fowles dominate in the SEC.

And Friday was no different.

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Posted by Jeff Lippman at 07:11 PM | Comment

Friday, 03/07/08

On The SECond Day

Of all the conference tournaments going into their second round of action Friday, perhaps the most intriguing is the SEC.

Nashville, Tenn. plays host to four games, two of which should come with predictable outcomes, the other two are wide open.

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Posted by Jeff Lippman at 07:47 AM | Comment

Thursday, 03/06/08

ACC And The Rest - Nightly Recap

The first rounds are over for nine conferences, among them the mighty ACC and SEC.


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Posted by Jeff Lippman at 10:34 PM | Comment

Thursday, 03/06/08

Off And Running

Thursday saw the ACC and SEC begin their conference tournaments, but down south in the Sun Belt they were already in the quarterfinals.

The Sun Belt got started on Wednesday, as did the Atlantic Sun, and so that's where we'll get started in recapping the action.

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Posted by Jeff Lippman at 05:23 PM | Comment

Wednesday, 03/05/08

Let The Madness Begin

If ever there was a time to get excited about women's basketball, it's now, this year. The game has more recognizable stars then ever and each is unique. Whether it is Candace Parker soaring to the rim - remember, these are the last opportunities to see Her Airness wearing the gold and baby blue of the Lady Vols - or the fabulous freshman up in Storrs who might just be Parker's equal, this season has had it all.

But before we can look back at what an incredible season it was, we must continue to look forward, because women's basketball never sleeps. Some teams still have regular season games to go, but as of today, March 5, the postseason has begun. March Madness is upon us. And by the end of the day, the Sun Belt will have five teams whose seasons will be at an end.

So without further ado, come along with me on a women's basketball journey throughout March. Each conference tournament will be previewed and then reviewed each day until March 17, the fateful day known as Selection Monday, when the 64-team NCAA Tournament field is revealed.

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Posted by Jeff Lippman at 01:08 PM | Comment
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