Connecticut has landed within the Lincoln Region as the top seed for the women's NCAA tournament, which begins Saturday.
The Huskies (34-zero) will likely be making an attempt for a document ninth NCAA title, which might break a tie with Tennessee for most all-time.
Fellow unbeaten Notre Dame (32-0) additionally picked up a No. 1 seed as host of the Notre Dame Area, with Tennessee drawing the top seed in the Louisville Area and South Carolina getting the No. 1 seed within the Stanford Area.
Notre Dame plays in opposition to Robert Morris on Saturday. UConn opens Sunday in opposition to No. sixteen Prairie View.
It units the stage for the former Massive East rivals to meet in an historic national championship game and is simply the second time two groups have entered the NCAA match undefeated.
In the event that they do both get to Nashville, the Irish can be all that stands between Geno Auriemma and a report ninth title.
"We actually have not talked, I wager hardly at all, about this national championship or what number it's or any of that," Auriemma stated.
Regardless of being the 13th girls's staff to go unbeaten throughout the regular season, the Irish have felt almost unappreciated with most of the talk centered on the Huskies. Coach Muffet McGraw does not appear to mind.
"I like it as a result of we are able to get a chip on our shoulder and head into the event with a bit of chip," she said.
Although UConn and Notre Dame didn't play this season, the two teams know plenty about one another having met 12 instances over the previous three seasons. Notre Dame is not intimidated by Connecticut; the Irish have gained seven of the previous 9 meetings with the Huskies.
"It was very unusual to go through a complete season with out playing them, we're so used to it, 3 times yearly," McGraw stated. "We have gotten pretty good at beating them the last couple of years."
Earlier than the potential meeting of unbeatens, the 2 may need to go through SEC powers Tennessee and South Carolina, who also earned No. 1 seeds.
Whereas it is the twenty second time that the Girl Vols have earned a high spot, it's the primary for the Gamecocks. The Huskies, Lady Vols and Gamecocks all may should play on an opponent's residence court docket with a trip to Nashville on the line. Stanford, Notre Dame, Louisville and Nebraska, who're all internet hosting regionals, had been a mixed fifty two-3 at residence this season.
The Lady Vols, who gained the SEC tournament championship, are the highest seed in the Louisville Regional and would also like nothing more than to interrupt the tie with Connecticut and win their ninth NCAA title. They open up against Northwestern State and will probably be trying to end a five-12 months drought of not making the Closing 4. The Girl Vols won't have an easy path. West Virginia is the second seed. Host Louisville is the three seed and Maryland is the four.
Tennessee was concerned in the one different meeting between unbeatens. The Lady Vols routed Liberty within the opener of the 1998 tournament when both have been undefeated.
Like their SEC rivals, South Carolina would not have an easy street to the Ultimate 4. The Gamecocks may face an inspired younger North Carolina group in the regional semifinals before potentially taking part in host Stanford.
The Tar Heels and their stellar freshman class, led by Diamond Deshields, beat the Gamecocks in December. The Tar Heels also might have coach Sylvia Hatchell again on the sidelines at that point. The Corridor of Famer battled leukemia throughout the common season.
Whereas Hatchell's status is unknown for the match, Baylor shall be lacking coach Kim Mulkey for the first game. She is suspended for the primary round sport against Western Kentucky for comments she made last season after shedding to Louisville within the regional semifinals.
"I have not talked to the workforce in depth about me not coaching in the first recreation," Mulkey stated. "I will watch it on television at dwelling… I at all times tell the workforce something might happen to me on that sideline and it's best to be able to coach your self."
Connecticut may have to beat host Nebraska in the regional semifinals if each groups make it that far.
The host faculties have been chosen in October. Tennessee did not bid to host a regional because of a scheduling conflict at Thompson-Boling Arena.
Auriemma mentioned his school did not bid as a result of he didn't just like the concept of getting colleges host regionals.
"I do not imagine in it," Auriemma said. "I do not think it is fair and I informed our administration, 'We're passing on it. I don't want to do it.' So we did not."
Louisville coach Jeff Walz also would not like the concept of host websites for the regional rounds. Walz cited Louisville's eighty two-eighty one upset of prime-ranked Baylor in last 12 months's Oklahoma Metropolis Regional semifinal as evidence.
"I exploit us as an example," Walz stated. "If we played Baylor at Baylor last yr, I am not sure we win that game.. I am an enormous proponent of enjoying regionals on neutral flooring and I'm excited that we will again to."
The choice to have schools host regionals was made in an effort to attract larger crowds.
Last season, the NCAA posted an average attendance of 5,883 for all event games, a 21-p.c improve over 2012. But the event had posted average attendances of a minimum of 6,400 every year from 1998-2005.
The common attendance for regional rounds last yr was 7,a hundred, a 38-% improve over 2012 but a far cry from 10 to fifteen years in the past. Average attendance within the regional rounds had been over 8,000 5 occasions in a seven-yr stretch from 1998-2004.
"I believe residence courts are a real a part of the women's event versus the men's event," Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer said.
Next 12 months, the regionals will likely be back at impartial websites.
Auriemma has one idea for serving to these impartial sites draw massive crowds.
"We do have to search out, I believe, 4 cities which are hotbeds or probably, for ladies's basketball and we have got to offer them an opportunity to host the regionals, and give it to them for a few years at a time, instead of only a one-shot deal," Auriemma stated.
The Huskies have made it to the Closing Four in a file six straight seasons. They hope to make it to Nashville to maintain that streak alive.
If the Huskies do win the national championship it would be the fifth time they went undefeated in a season. This would be the first time that they gained 40 games, joining Baylor as the only teams ever to perform that feat.
The defending national champions have won games by an average of 36 points. They open up at home towards Prairie View A&M on Sunday evening. The Lady Panthers grew to become the ninth team to reach the NCAA event with a shedding file when they won the Southwestern Convention championship.
Tennessee will be making its 33rd straight look in the NCAA match, entering into the sector ever year. 5 teams will probably be making their first trip – Akron, North Dakota, South Dakota, Winthrop and Wright State.
Whereas these colleges will be getting their first taste of the NCAAs, Chattanooga's Jim Foster grew to become the first coach to take four totally different groups to the NCAA tournament.