Sunday, December 28, 2014

NCAA Tournament field unveiled

Connecticut, Duke, Maryland and Oklahoma are the No. 1 seeds.

NCAA Tournament field unveiled

By Jonathan Tannenwald
Philly.com

You might have seen the selection show on ESPN tonight, but just in case, the field of 64 teams in this year's NCAA Tournament has been announced and we have it right here on the blog.

The No. 1 seeds are not that surprising: superpower Connecticut in the East (Trenton), Duke in the West (Berkeley), ACC champion Maryland in the South (Raleigh) and Big 12 champion Oklahoma in the Midwest (Oklahoma City).

The Final Four games will be Trenton vs. Berkeley and Raleigh vs. Oklahoma City.

The news is quite good for Philadelphia-area fans, as Drexel, Villanova and Temple all made the field. The Dragons did so automatically as the Colonial Athletic Association champions, while the Wildcats and Owls proved worthy of at-large bids.

Drexel received a 12-seed and will face Kansas State in Albequerque, N.M., as part of the Raleigh regional. The winner of that game will play either 4-seed Vanderbilt or 13-seed Western Connecticut.

Villanova receieved an 8-seed and will face Utah in College Park, Md. The winner of that game will almost certainly play the Terrapins, which will face Ivy League champions Dartmouth in the first round. The hedging of terms only exists because of the history of 16-seed Ancient Eight champions knocking off top seeds, but the Terrapins will certainly be expected to roll past the Big Green.

Temple received a 9-seed and will face Florida in Storrs, Conn., as part of the Trenton regional. No need to hedge here: the winner will face Connecticut in the second round. Yes, this means Owls head coach Tonya Cardoza could face her former boss, Geno Auriemma, in only her first season after leaving the Huskies.

I won't overlook Rutgers, whose fan base includes part of the Philadelphia area, and yes, I know many of you read this blog a lot. The Scarlet Knights were given a 7-seed and will face 10-seed Virginia Commonwealth, an at-large big recipient from the CAA.

But while this year's Scarlet Knights were not of the caliber of previous editions, they will surely get a big boost from playing the first two rounds on their home floor: the RAC in Piscataway, N.J.

You wonder what Auburn coach Nell Fortner, whose Tigers drew 15-seed Patriot League champions Lehigh in the first round, thinks of that.

But the Tigers are not the only team that will face a lower seed on its home floor: 10-seed San Diego State gets to play in San Diego, drawing 7-seed DePaul in the first round. The Aztecs could face 2-seed Stanford in the second round.

Top seed Oklahoma could also face 8-seed Iowa in Iowa City, while Angel McCoughtry and 3-seed Louisville will have to beat 6-seed Louisana State in Baton Rouge to reach the Sweet 16.

One more interesting potential second-round matchup: Duke coach Joanne P. McAuley against her former team, 9-seed Michigan State - and on the Spartans' floor.

Here is the schedule of first-round games, sorted by region and seed. First-round games will be played on Saturday, March 21 and Sunday, March 22, with second-round games on March 23 and 24. All times are Eastern.

Trenton Regional

Storrs, Conn.
1. Connecticut vs. 16. Vermont (March 22, 12:00 p.m., ESPN2)
8. Florida vs. 9. Temple (March 22, approx. 2:30 p.m., ESPN)

Los Angeles, Calif.
5. Virginia vs. 12. Marist (March 21, approx. 10:30 p.m., ESPN2)
4. California vs. 13. Fresno State (March 21, 8:00 p.m., ESPN2)

Duluth, Minn.
6. Arizona State vs. 11. Georgia (March 21, 1:00 p.m., ESPN2)
3. Florida State vs. 14. North Carolina A&T (March 21, approx. 3:30 p.m., ESPN2)

South Bend, Ind.
7. Notre Dame vs. 10. Texas (March 22, approx. 2:30 p.m., ESPN)
2. Texas A&M vs. 15. Evansville (March 22, 12:00 p.m., ESPN2)

Berkeley Regional

East Lansing, Mich.
1. Duke vs. 16. Austin Peay (March 22, approx. 2:30 p.m., ESPN)
8. Middle Tennessee vs. 9. Michigan State (March 22, 12:00 p.m., ESPN2)

Bowling Green, Ohio
5. Tennessee vs. 12. Ball State (March 22, approx. 8:30 p.m., ESPN2)
4. Iowa State vs. 13. East Tennessee State (March 22, 6:00 p.m., ESPN2)

Columbus, Ohio
6. Texas vs. 11. Mississippi State (March 21, 12:00 p.m., ESPN2)
3. Ohio State vs. 14. Sacred Heart (March 21, approx. 2:30 p.m., ESPN2)

San Diego, Calif.
7. DePaul vs. 10. San Diego State (March 21, 8:00 p.m., ESPN2)
2. Stanford vs. 15. UC-Santa Barbara (March 21, approx. 10:30 p.m., ESPN2)

Raleigh Regional

College Park, Md.
1. Maryland vs. 16. Dartmouth (March 22, approx. 2:30 p.m., ESPN)
8. Villanova vs. 9. Utah (March 22, 12:00 p.m., ESPN2)

Albuquerque, N.M.
5. Kansas State vs. 12. Drexel (March 21, approx. 10:30 p.m., ESPN2)
4. Vanderbilt vs. 13. Western Carolina (March 21, 8:00 p.m., ESPN2)

Baton Rouge, La.
6. Louisiana State vs. 11. Wisconsin-Green Bay (March 22, 7:00 p.m., ESPN2)
3. Louisville vs. 14. Liberty (March 22, approx. 9:30 p.m., ESPN2)

Lubbock, Tex.
7. South Dakota State vs. 10. Texas Christian (March 22, 7:00 p.m., ESPN2)
2. Baylor vs. 15. Texas-San Antonio (March 22, approx. 9:30 p.m., ESPN2)

Oklahoma City Regional

Iowa City, Iowa
1. Oklahoma vs. 16. Prairie View A&M (March 22, 7:00 p.m., ESPN2)
8. Iowa vs. 9. Georgia Tech (March 22, approx. 9:30 p.m., ESPN2)

Seattle, Wash.
5. Xavier vs. 12. Gonzaga (March 21, approx. 10:30 p.m., ESPN2)
4. Pittsburgh vs. 13. Montana (March 21, approx. 8:00 p.m., ESPN2)

Chattanooga, Tenn.
6. Purdue vs. 11. Charlotte (March 21, approx. 2:30 p.m., ESPN2)
3. North Carolina vs. 14. Central Florida (March 21, approx. 12:00 p.m., ESPN2)

Piscataway, N.J.
7. Rutgers vs. 10. Virginia Commonwealth (March 21, approx. 2:30 p.m., ESPN2)
2. Auburn vs. 15. Lehigh (March 21, 12:00 p.m., ESPN2)

About this blog
Mel Greenberg covers college and pro women’s basketball for the Philadelphia Inquirer, where he has worked for 38 years. Greenberg pioneered national coverage of the game, including the original Top 25 women's college poll. His knowledge has earned him nicknames such as "The Guru" and "The Godfather. He was inducted into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame in 2007.



Click here for Mel's list of All-Decade players from Philadelphia-area schools.

Other contributors

Jonathan Tannenwald is a producer with Philly.com. In addition to covering the local college scene, he spent two years as the Washington Mystics beat writer for Women's Hoops Guru. He also writes his own blog, Soft Pretzel Logic, which covers men's college basketball, football, and other sports.

Kathleen Radebaugh is a recent graduate of St. Joseph's University in Philadelphia. She covered women's basketball for the school's newspaper, The Hawk, and served as sports editor her sophomore year. She was also a four-year member of the varsity crew team.

Erin Semagin Damio covers the University of Connecticut and the WNBA's Connecticut Sun for the blog, and contributes other features. The Storrs, Conn., native also attends Northeastern University, where she is a coxswain on the varsity crew team.

Acacia O'Connor is based in Washington, D.C., where she reports on the Mystics and the college basketball scene in the nation's capital. A graduate of Vassar college, she played on the varsity women's basketball team and was editor of the student newspaper.

Click on any of the contributors' names above to e-mail them.

Reach Mel at poll416@gmail.com.

Mel Greenberg Inquirer Sports Columnist
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