The Women's NCAA Tournament selection show is set for 7 tonight on ESPN, with host Trey Wingo and analysts Stacey Dales and Kara Lawson breaking down the 64-team field. The network will have live cameras at Connecticut, Stanford and Maryland, as well as upstart Texas-El Paso, which should make its debut.
There are three teams that could be tougher than their seeds because of a geographic advantage. We'll start with LSU, which should be a No. 2 seed but wind up playing in Baton Rouge and New Orleans, a huge advantage that could help them knock off a top seed like UNC or Tennessee. Oklahoma's collapse might cost them the right to line up for the Oklahoma City regional, an honor that probably now goes to Oklahoma State, likely a No. 4 seed. Could the NCAA put both teams in their home state for the second weekend? Would Duke rather be a No. 3 seed under Connecticut in Greensboro, or farther from home with a lighter No. 1 in front of them?
Big 12 powers Oklahoma and Baylor both come in on three-game losing streaks. Two weeks ago, Oklahoma's only losses were to Maryland, Tennessee and Baylor, but now the Sooners might not be a top-four seed. Baylor now has two losses each to Oklahoma State and Texas, so the question is which Big 12 team — if any — is best suited to make it to the Sweet 16?
The home state of the Final Four likely won't have a team in the NCAA field. Florida (18-13) is close, but the Gators are 2-8 against RPI top 50 teams and lost five of their past eight. ESPN.com's Charlie Creme has them No. 2 in his "first four out" from making the cut. Florida State (18-13) is 1-11 against the RPI top 50, its lone win against Florida. USF, Jacksonville and Florida Gulf Coast are also likely in the WNIT, which might as well be hosted in Florida this season.
We'll give you eight teams for the last four at-larges, each helped by Big South top seed Liberty's last-second win in Sunday's final. Probably only four of these get in …
Minnesota (20-11): Win against Louisville, 11-7 league record should do it.
Michigan State (19-13): Won six of last eight; does Big Ten get five in?
TCU (21-11): Beat Oklahoma State by 34! Mountain West should get four in.
Temple (21-12): Great schedule, losing to Duke, Maryland, Rutgers, Stanford.
Auburn (20-11): Lost three of five, but is 7-7 in SEC enough to get in?
Florida (18-13): No quality win, sub-.500 league record keep the Gators home.
Wisconsin-Green Bay (26-5): Does loss in Horizon semis keep it out?
Gonzaga (24-8): Despite record, likely had to win West Coast Conference tournament to make it.
Three teams have almost assuredly locked up No. 1 seeds, starting with Connecticut, which should have the overall top seed and open in nearby Bridgeport. Tennessee and North Carolina are also No. 1s, but won't get to play in their home states. The last No. 1? Stanford's domination of the Pac-10, winning all three tournament games by at least 21 points, likely slides it ahead of Maryland, which lost to Duke in the ACC semifinals.