If Everything Goes Exactly According To Plan...

By Jeff Lippman - March 17, 2008

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.

It's not like this wasn't expected.

Everyone who cares anything about women's basketball has been craving to see these two play from the moment it was announced that they would no longer continue their storied rivalry. As the best two teams in the country for most of the season, and with the possibility of a matchup of Candace Parker and Maya Moore - the only opportunity of this meeting in college as Parker is leaving early for the WNBA - the entire nation is pulling for these two teams to run through the NCAA Tournament unscathed.

Greensboro Regional notes:

-Here's a good debate: Do you agree with the committee's decision to put Rutgers and Connecticut in the same region?

Many experts say that they disagree with putting two teams from the same conference as the one and two seeds in the same region. That they should have to face someone unfamiliar in the Elite Eight to gain entry into the Final Four.

I say, let them play three. We missed out on the third installment of the Rutgers-UConn rivalry as the Scarlet Knights pulled up lame in the Big East Tournament. If the cards fall in a predicted order, who wouldn't want to see another game between Geno and C. Viv?

And imagine this road to the National Championship for Connecticut: Rutgers, Stanford or Maryland and then possibly Tennessee. The Scarlet Knights and Huskies shouldn't have a problem getting to the Elite Eight to face each other, but after that, they're on their own in a cold, strange and tough basketball world.

-I'd like to point out that I was correct in my prediction that Cal would receive a three seed as the Bears drew the No. 3 in Greensboro. Cal will meet San Diego in all-California first round matchup, and then get the winner of Auburn-George Washington.

-Old Dominion is going to be a very tough five seed in Greensboro. The Monarchs meet Liberty in the opening round, however, and if you remember correctly, I said Liberty was going to be an upset special in the tournament.

Am I changing my mind? Never!

Go Lady Flames, on to victory.

Oklahoma City regional notes:

-Was the Oklahoma City bracket a gift for defending national champ Tennessee? With Texas A&M, a team who is on a run lately but was soft earlier in the season, as the two seed, and Duke and Oklahoma as the three and four, the Lady Vols don't have too much to worry about, do they? At least not until the Final Four.

The toughest test for the Lady Vols will come in the Elite Eight when they face a possible matchup with the Aggies. Something tells me, this bracket is Tennessee's for the taking.

Good things always seem to happen to that Pat Summitt.

-Oklahoma must be feeling good right about now.

The Sooners went just 21-8 and finished only fifth in the Big 12 and even lost its last three games to end the season and still - STILL! - they receive a four seed from the committee. And in the Oklahoma City bracket, no less.

So let me get this straight. They lose their last three and then get a higher seed than I thought possible with what is basically a home-court advantage? Is that right?

I'd been an advocate of Sherri Coale's Sooners from the beginning of the season and I love Courtney Paris, but at this point, Oklahoma doesn't deserve a four seed. Notre Dame, on the other hand, does deserve a four seed.

What seed did the Irish get? The five seed in the same region as Oklahoma.

So, here's what I'm proposing. Oklahoma and Notre Dame switch seeds and everybody wins. The Sooners would still be in the Oklahoma City region, but as a five seed and the Irish would get the four seed they deserve.

Everybody wins!

Posted by Jeff Lippman at 09:55 PM on March 17, 2008

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