UCONN And South Carolina In The Albany Bracket

Connecticut head coach Geno Auriemma gestures to his team during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against South Florida in the American Athletic Conference tournament finals in Uncasville Conn. U

Baylor, with just one loss on the year, fell to a No. 2 seed.

All in all, it's a balanced bracket.

Joining UConn on the one line are SEC regular season champion Mississippi State, ACC regular season co-champion and tournament champion Louisville, and ACC regular season co-champion Notre Dame. The four No 1 seeds across the four regions include UConn, Notre Dame, Mississippi State and Louisville. DePaul might be the weakest No. 5 seed. At 16-14, Oklahoma has worst record of any at-large team since Monmouth inexplicably made it in 1983, the second-ever NCAA tourney. But of course both teams will have to navigate a tough road to get there.

The Irish are in the Spokane Regional and open up against Cal State Northridge on Friday.

Creighton and Buffalo gave mid-majors (depending on what you consider the Big East) a couple of additional berths.

On the top end of the bracket sits No. 12 Oklahoma, which features two seniors to watch - center Vionise Pierre-Louis (15.7 ppg, 8.8 rpg) and guard Gabbi Ortiz (12.2 ppg, 80 3pg) - as the Sooners were a surprise pick to make the NCAA Tournament for the 19th straight year. So the Scarlet Knights can't be thrilled. "I told them one down, two to go to get to the Garden". Purdue was 9-7 in league play but couldn't overcome glaring nonconference losses.

UCONN And South Carolina In The Albany Bracket

The Huskies won't make it a third time this season as the men's team failed to make the field, but 20 schools still have the opportunity to bring home both trophies. Look out for Mercer, which has a favorable draw as No. 13 seeds go.

It also provides the other No. 1 seeds with one fewer foe to take on at the Final Four, as SC is easily the most risky of the No. 2 seeds. And then you go, 'Huh, we were ready for this.' Or, 'We weren't.' ...

Baylor coach Kim Mulkey said she doesn't see it as that big a deal.

UConn's remarkable streak of 10 consecutive Final Four appearances is at risk this season, since SC is one of the premier programs in the country and possesses a top player in forward A'ja Wilson.

Therefore, keep an eye on all of the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds on Tuesday and Wednesday. Baylor, Texas and OR all are farther away than SC. The Huskies are about to face critical moments - doubtfully in Storrs, perhaps in Albany, certainly in Columbus, Ohio, if they advance - that will make or break their quest for another flawless season. Sexton, who scored 40 points in November in an 89-84 loss to Minnesota, has posted between 21 and 31 points in each of the Crimson Tide's last four games, leading them to a run to the Southeastern Conference tournament semifinals that may have paved the way to the NCAA tournament.

✨ So fresh. So clean.



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