Thoughts going into Monday's selection show
Kim Mulkey thinks Oklahoma and Baylor deserve top seeds
One-time powerhouse Old Dominion may not get a bid
Stanford has one of the most improved teams in the country
Everyone knows UConn will be the top seed in the NCAA tournament, but who deserves to join the Huskies?
Baylor coach Kim Mulkey campaigned for Baylor and Oklahoma to be No. 1 seeds. Her reasoning: The Bears and Sooners were the top two teams in the toughest league in the country (Oklahoma won the regular-season title and Baylor won the conference tournament crown).
Of course, Auburn, which won the SEC and advanced to the conference title game might think differently.
Then there's Duke. The Blue Devils played one of the toughest schedules in the country and reached the finals of the ACC tournament. Stanford won the Pac-10 regular-season and conference tournament titles. That conference, however, is clearly weaker than the Big 12 and the ACC. The Cardinal didn't do enough against ranked opponents during its non-conference part of the schedule either. They lost to Tennessee, Duke and Baylor.
"If we're the No. 1 RPI conference in America ... then why can't we have two No. 1 seeds," Mulkey said. "I don't understand why you can't."
Here's what else we know going into Monday's selections.
Iowa State could do some damage in the postseason. Without leading scorer Heather Ezell, the Cyclones reached the semifinals of the Big 12 tournament. They beat a ranked Texas team and pushed Baylor to the wire in the semis. With all five starters capable of hitting from long range, Iowa State is one of the best three-point shooting teams in the country, averaging nearly eight a game. Their potent offense is complemented by one of the stingiest defenses in the nation. They rank second in the Big 12 on the defensive end. Granted, the Cyclones had the advantage of playing in the weaker half of the conference. The defense proved worthy against the South squads, though. Iowa State held four of the league's top five offenses (Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas and Texas A&M) to 15 points below their season averages.
The tip rule that knocked California out of the Pac-10 tournament is ridiculous. If you get the shot off, you get the shot off and it shouldn't matter what kind of shot it is. The Golden Bears have bigger things to concern themselves with than the shot with .3 seconds, though. They have yet to make it past the second round of the NCAA tournament. Would love to expand on this, but there isn't enough time left for the thought to get from my head to the computer screen.
Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer thinks she has one of the most improved teams in the country. She certainly has one of the most improved freshmen. Nnemkadi Ogwumike might not have won Pac-10 freshman of the year honors, but she was certainly the best rookie in the conference tournament, becoming one of Stanford's best options. With teams focused on shutting down conference player of the year Jayne Appel, was the Cardinal's top scorer in the first two rounds and averaged 14.7 points through the tournament.
Another perennial power goes out. We are about to see a tournament field without Old Dominion, which lost in the Colonial tournament for the first time ever. Old Dominion, which won the CAA Tournament 17 straight times, is among several programs from the smaller conferences that once dominated the women's scene but now struggles. To their credit, the Monarchs have continued to schedule top-caliber teams. Like Louisiana Tech, which will also miss the NCAA tournament, they are having a tougher time competing with the programs from the power conferences. Old Dominion was 1-5 against ranked teams this season.
More College Basketball
College Basketball Truth & Rumors