We're going to go with Connecticut, which has won the past two national championships and has the motivation of the unsightly loss on its resume, which ended a 90-game win streak at Stanford's hands in December. The Huskies have seemed mortal — Notre Dame lost all three meetings, but two by just three and nine points, and Georgetown and West Virginia also got within 10 points.
Start with second seed Duke, which lost by 36 to UConn in their regular-season meeting. The Blue Devils lost only three games, avenging a loss to North Carolina with two wins and splitting two meetings with Maryland. Can they improve that much in a rematch? UConn opened the first meeting with a 23-2 lead, so there's plenty of room for improvement. And as much as UConn seems to schedule nearly everyone, Brenda Frese and Maryland haven't gotten a shot at the Huskies in their current dynasty, so that would make for a strong region semifinal.
If she can wrap up her college career with a third national title, you can make a case for Maya Moore being one of the best college players ever. We could throw out all kinds of statistics for Moore, but when your career record in four seasons against the best of the NCAA is 146-3, that should do the trick. The rest of women's college basketball will be happy to bid her farewell. …
Third seed DePaul didn't get any favors from the NCAA, as its second-round game will likely be against sixth seed Penn State on the Nittany Lions' home court. Just getting placed in UConn's region wasn't kind, but DePaul has to know that given another shot, UConn couldn't possibly play as well as it did in an 89-66 regular-season drubbing. The Huskies shot 68 percent from the field, which is strong even by UConn coach Geno Auriemma's standards.
Greg Auman, Times staff writer