Florida State coach Sue Semrau couldn't be more pleased with her team's position in this season's NCAA Tournament.
Her Seminoles received a No. 3 seed (matching their best reward) and open against tradition-rich No. 14 seed Louisiana Tech on Saturday afternoon with the added perk of hosting the game.
"We're excited," Semrau said shortly after the field of 64 was announced Monday night. "Any time you can get a 3 seed two years in a row, you know that you're really starting to build a program. That's really been in the minds of our players. We're not just trying to build good basketball teams, but a great program with history. They take it extremely seriously."
What's not to like about that?
Well, the Seminoles (26-5) were placed in the Dayton Region, which happens to feature the tournament's overall No. 1, the Connecticut Huskies.
The Huskies (33-0) have won an NCAA-record 72 straight games — all by double figures — and are shooting to become the first women's team to go undefeated in back-to-back championship campaigns. They haven't lost since Stanford upset them 82-73 in the 2008 Final Four at the St. Pete Times Forum in Tampa.
The Cardinal (31-1) is back as the No. 1 seed in the Sacramento Region. Nebraska (30-1) is the top seed in the Kansas City Region, and eight-time NCAA champion Tennessee (30-2) is No. 1 in the Memphis Region.
"Anything can happen in March, but there's not been an odds-on favorite that I can remember like UConn," said ESPN women's college basketball analyst Kara Lawson, a former Tennessee star. "People talk about a dominant team and that the opponent will have to play a perfect game to beat them or as close to perfect as possible; have a second half like the Villanova men had in '85 (against Georgetown). But the more I watched UConn play, the more I'm of the opinion that I'm not sure a perfect game from the opposing team would do it."
No. 3 Notre Dame was supposed to put the streak in jeopardy when it traveled to Storrs to face the No. 1 Huskies on Jan. 16. The ESPN College GameDay crew was there, and Dick Vitale served as analyst. UConn won 70-46.
"Pure domination," Vitale said. "That's a tribute to the entire program, starting with the coach, Geno Auriemma. They're certainly one of the great stories in amateur athletics."
Can any team spoil UConn's run now?
Well, the Seminoles have played the Huskies tough, relatively speaking, of late, losing 83-71 last season and 78-59 in Tallahassee this season. Although FSU lost in the quarterfinals of the ACC tournament to Boston College, star forward Jacinta Monroe went out in the opening minutes with a sprained ankle. She's now back and ready to go, Semrau said. And her team wouldn't mind continuing to build a program with history, something a win against UConn would surely do.
"The good news is we're familiar with them. It's not like our players would have to sit around and wonder what it would be like if we had an opportunity to play them," Semrau said. "I think that will give us more focus on the teams directly in front of us. And that excites me."
What's not to like about that?
BULLS TO WNIT: USF (15-15) is headed to the WNIT and will visit Florida (14-16) in the first round Thursday. The start time will be announced today.
Brian Landman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (813) 226-3347.