March 31, 2008

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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March 30, 2008

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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March 29, 2008

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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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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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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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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March 28, 2008

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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March 27, 2008

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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March 26, 2008

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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