Sixteen reasons to watch the Sweet 16
Posted: Tuesday March 21, 2000 06:38 PM
By Patricia Heys, CNNSI.com1. Alabama-Birmingham -- The lowest seed in the Sweet 16, the No. 11 seed in the West will try to defeat No. 2 seed Rutgers. The Blazers upset Oregon on its home court and beat third-seeded Mississippi State. It's unlikely that they will have enough emotion left to pull off another shocker, but it'll be fun to watch them try. Who doesn't like a Cinderella?
2. Nikki Teasley -- The North Carolina point guard is back after missing almost three weeks for an undisclosed reason. The 6-0 Teasley is not your typical point guard as her size and strength make her tough to defend. More importantly she gives North Carolina a huge boost, making the Tar Heels one of the most exciting offensive teams in the nation.
3. You can -- Ten years ago you would've had to search the back page of the sports section for a few paragraphs on the women's round of 16. Now, you can watch them all (if East Coast viewers can stay up until 2:30 a.m.). ESPN and ESPN2 will broadcast all eight games Saturday, beginning with LSU-Duke at 11:30 a.m.
4 Gail Goestenkors -- In just a few years the Duke coach has become one of the country's best. After a surprise runner-up finish last year, many said this would be a rebuilding year for the Blue Devils. But Duke won the ACC Tournament and earned a No. 2 seed in the NCAA tournament. The true mark of a great coach: overachieving teams.
5. Leon Barmore -- His last NCAA tournament almost became his worst as Louisiana Tech barely survived Vanderbilt in the second round. The retiring coach is the all-time winningest coach in Division I history (men's or women's), but it'll be interesting to see how his team handles the emotion surrounding his exit.
6. Pat Summitt -- It's March. It's Tennessee. She's Pat Summitt. If you don't want to watch her team, watch her pace the sidelines.
7. Connecticut -- They have no weaknesses. The favorite to win the title is deep, talented and well-coached. Their first two games have looked like practice drills. Their record may not be perfect, but their play is.
8. Sherri Coale -- An unfamiliar face in the NCAA tournament, the Oklahoma coach has guided the Sooners to their first Sweet 16 appearance. Coale has spent her entire life in the state, taking over the Oklahoma program four years ago.
9. Tamicha Jackson -- The Louisiana Tech guard has the quickest hands in the tournament. Watch her if you can.
10. Stacy Frese and Cyclone fans -- In a state where girls' and women's basketball games have always been big events, the Iowa native and Iowa State senior guard has become a favorite among the Cyclone following. Against St. Francis, Pa., Iowa State set a record in attendance for an NCAA first round game (13,478).
11. Philadelphia -- The host city for the Final Four is rich in women's basketball connections. Several players and coaches, including Connecticut's Geno Auriemma and Notre Dame's Muffet McGraw, are hoping to return home.
12. Tennessee in Tennessee -- By being seeded in the Mideast region, Tennessee has the opportunity to play its first four tournament games in the state of Tennessee. After hosting two games, the Lady Vols now head to Memphis where there should be just as many orange-clad fans as there were in Knoxville. Will they ever get tired of Rocky Top?
13. Miller-to-Nolan-to-Miller -- Kelly and Coco Miller were a deadly combination even before they set foot on the Georgia campus. But now with guard/forward Deanna Nolan making it a trio, the Lady Bulldogs are nearly impossible to beat on the fast break.
14. Virginia -- Everyone thought it would be near impossible to knock off Tennessee during last year's NCAA tournament, but Duke did it. The Cavaliers are hoping to copy their fellow ACC school this year.
15. Notre Dame -- Guard Niele Ivey and center Ruth Riley may be the best inside-outside combination in the country. Ivey was notably absent from last year's field of 64 after tearing her ACL in the Big East conference tournament.
16. Next year -- If you enjoy this year's tournament, next year should be even better. Out of the three No. 1 seeds - Tennessee, Connecticut and Georgia - there is only one senior in the starting lineup.