Sweet Sunday

By Jeff Lippman - March 29, 2008


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:

Greensboro Regional

Old Dominion (5) vs. Connecticut (1) - noon

How They Got Here:

Old Dominion:
The Monarchs avoided my first-round upset pick and beat back 12-seeded Liberty, 82-62. They exceeded my expectations against in their second round 88-85 win over Virginia. Of course, those two games were played on the Monarch's home court in Norfolk, Va.

Connecticut:
Playing in Bridgeport, Ct., the Huskies had two basic home games in the first and second round. It wouldn't have mattered where UConn was playing, however, as they demolished Cornell, 89-47, and then Texas, 89-55.

UConn Wins If...
Maya Moore, Renee Montgomery and Tina Charles all show up.

ODU Wins If...
Maya Moore, Renee Montgomery and Tina Charles don't show up.

Prediction: I think I made it pretty clear. The Huskies will meet the winner of...

George Washington (6) vs. Rutgers (2) - 2 p.m.

How They Got Here:

George Washington:
The A-10's Colonials won their first round game against 11-seeded Auburn, 66-56, and then followed that up with a close two-point 55-53 upset of 3-seeded Cal. GWU looked very impressive against the Bears, with Antelia Parrish leading the way.

Rutgers:
The Scarlet Knights are on fire right now, and they look good doing it. The vaunted "55" defense is in full effect for coach C. Vivian Stringer as the Knights blasted past 15-seeded Robert Morris, 85-42, and then followed that up with a 69-58 drubbing of Iowa State. Trust me, the game against the Cylcones was over very quickly. The closeness of the final score is just a formality.

George Washington Wins If...
Jessica Adair can body up against Kia Vaughn. Both players are large, but Vaughn is playing the type of basketball we saw from her in last year's run to the national championship game. She must be stopped if the Colonials hope to slip past the Scarlet Knights.

Rutgers Wins If...
Kia Vaughn continues to be a beast inside and the Scarlet Knights can continue to run the "55" defense.

Prediction:
We will have a Connecticut-Rutgers regional final after all. The Scarlet Knights will run all over the Colonials.

Oklahoma City Regional

Duke (3) vs. Texas A&M (2) - 7 p.m.

How They Got Here:

Duke:
The Blue Devils are another hot team after beating Maryland in the semifinals of the ACC Tournament. In the opening round, Joanne P. McCallie and her team beat up on Murray State, 78-57. In the second round, however, 6-seeded Arizona State gave the Blue Devils some trouble. Duke pulled away in the end, though, 67-59.

Texas A&M:
Not to be outdone by the Blue Devils, the Aggies are another extremely hot team as they won the Big 12 Tournament. And in the first round, UT-San Antonio felt their wrath. The 15-seed lost 91-52. In the second round, the Aggies stopped high-scoring Hartford's upset bid, 63-39, with some excellent defense.

Duke Wins If...
The Aggies have an off night. This will be a great game, regardless. Both teams are playing their best basketball of the season and are basically evenly matched. If Chante Black can be the force down low she's been for Duke thus far in the Tournament, Duke has a chance to pull the upset. And make no mistake, although Duke is ranked 9th to A&M's 8th, it would be an upset.

Texas A&M Wins If...
Their defense plays to its potential. Duke isn't exactly a team that can light it up on the scoreboard, especially with Abby Waner struggling. The Aggies have more than enough offensive firepower to outscore the Blue Devils and if they're defense is on, Duke could be in for a very long night.

Prediction:
The winner will be the hotter team. And that is Texas A&M.

Notre Dame (5) vs. Tennessee (1) - 9 p.m.

How They Got Here:

Notre Dame:
The Irish struggled in their opening round 75-62 win over SMU and then struggled even more against Oklahoma in the second round. Although struggling against the Sooners is to be expected with Courtney Paris down low, the Irish did show that they could stop a stationary big in the middle. Too bad Tennessee doesn't have a stationary big in the middle.

Tennessee:
The Lady Vols have now won 10 straight after their Valentines Day loss to LSU at home. Oral Roberts felt their wrath in the first round with a 94-55 drubbing. The second round was much of the same for Tennessee, as they beat Purdue, 78-52.

Tennessee Wins If...
Candace Parker shows up. It's sad that a Sweet 16 game is a home run for one team. But that is just what this is. If Tennessee doesn't win this one going away, I'd be shocked.

Notre Dame Wins If...
Candace Parker hurts herself within three minutes of the first half or picks up her fourth foul with 10 minutes to go in that first frame. Or gets two technicals for hanging on the rim after she just dunked on some poor unsuspecting Fighting Irish player.

Prediction:
Tennessee continues down the path towards back-to-back national titles.

Posted by Jeff Lippman at 11:45 AM on March 29, 2008
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