No. 1 Overall

By Jeff Lippman - March 12, 2008


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?

Ketia Swanier can handle the rock at the point and Tina Charles is one of the most solid centers in the nation. Since switching to shooting guard, Renee Montgomery has been absolutely lights out from long range. Montgomery's game is so silky and smooth. And you can't forget about the team's star, freshman Maya Moore.

Throw in a nice supporting cast of Kalli McLaren, Lorin Dixon and Charde Houston - if she's not in Auriemma's dog house - and the Huskies are definitely the team to beat in the Big Dance.

If they get on a roll, there is no stopping these Huskies.

Patriot League Championship
No. 5 Bucknell vs. No. 2 Holy Cross (6 p.m.)

At 15-15, Bucknell is one win away from earning a trip into the NCAA Tournament. At 19-12, Holy Cross probably deserves it more. With a win, the Bison would become the first Patriot League team to win the tourney as a No. 5 seed. It would be Bucknell's second trip to the Big Dance. Holy Cross is looking for its 12th league title.

Big 12 Quarterfinals
No. 1 Kansas State vs. No. 8 Iowa State (noon)
No. 4 Texas A&M vs. No. 12 Missouri (2:30 p.m.)
No. 2 Baylor vs. No. 7 Texas (6 p.m.)
No. 3 Oklahoma State vs. No. 11 Kansas (8:30 p.m.)

Kansas State is concerned with NCAA Tournament seeding and could use a few more victories - especially as the No. 1 seed - to impress the committee. With the upset, Iowa State would become the eighth Big 12 team to 20 wins this season, however may still be on the outside of the NCAA bubble, looking in.

No. 4 Texas A&M was expecting to meet No. 5 Oklahoma and Courtney Paris in the quarterfinals, but instead will meet No. 12 Mizzou, who clipped the Sooners Tuesday ending a disappointing season in Norman. The Sooners will need to regroup before the NCAA Tournament, where they will probably now drop to a No. 4 seed. Missouri, with the win, is just 10-20 on the season and A&M should have no issues with them...of course, neither should have Oklahoma.

In the best battle of the day, No. 2 Baylor and No. 7 Texas collide in Gail Goestenkors second Big 12 Tournament game. Texas is coming off a 12-point victory over Texas Tech in the opening round and will meet a Baylor team that finished the regular season at 24-5 but lost its last two - one of those coming against the Aggies on March 1. That game was in College Station, but the Bears will need to put the sting of the past two out of their minds if they hope not to repeat that fate. The Bears want a No. 2 seed pretty badly.

The nightcap should be a breeze for Andrea Riley and No. 3 Oklahoma State. At 16-14, Kansas doesn't really pose much of a threat, although they did defeat No. 6 Nebraska in the first round.

Other Action Wednesday:

Horizon League Quarterfinals
No. 1 UW-Green Bay vs. No. 9 Loyola
No. 4 UW-Milwaukee vs. No. 5 Valparaiso
No. 3 Cleveland State vs. No. 6 Butler
No. 2 Wright State vs. No. 7 Youngstown State

Mountain West Quarterfinals
No. 4 New Mexico vs. No. 5 BYU (4:30 p.m.)
No. 1 Utah vs. No. 9 Colorado State (7 p.m.)
No. 2 TCU vs. No. 7 Air Force (10:30 p.m.)
No. 3 Wyoming vs. No. 6 San Diego State (1 a.m.)

The bulk of the action gets underway as the Mountain West could get as many as three teams into the NCAA Tournament. At 16-0 in conference and 27-3 overall, Utah is the hands-down favorites to win the conference. But at 24-5 and spending most of the year in the Top 25, Wyoming certainly has NCAA Tournament aspirations as well. And TCU had an excellent year within the conference and could definitely make a run at the title.

Southland Quarterfinals
No. 2 Texas-Arlington vs. No. 7 McNeese State (1 p.m.)
No. 3 Texas-San Antonio vs. No. 6 Northwestern State (3:30 p.m.)
No. 1 Texas State vs. No. 8 Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (7 p.m.)
No. 4 Lamar vs. No. 5 Stephen F. Austin (9:30 p.m.)

WAC Quarterfinals
No. 4 Nevada vs. No. 5 Louisiana Tech (2 p.m.)
No. 1 Fresno State vs. No. 9 San Jose State (4:30 p.m.)
No. 3 New Mexico State vs. Hawaii (8 p.m.)
No. 2 Boise State vs. No. 7 Utah State (10:30 p.m.)

Nevada is the dark horse of the WAC Tournament in my opinion. Fresno State grabbed the conference's top seed, but at 22-6, No. 2 Boise State had a better overall and identical conference record. Some would say that the Broncos should be favored over the Bulldogs.

Posted by Jeff Lippman at 07:40 AM on March 12, 2008
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