The Women’s Beat with Bob Joyce: The March To Tampa Begins!

So we know path to the Amalie Oil Arena for the 64 teams who have dreams for a championship. In reality, it’s a handful at best who have a chance in WBB. UConn’s road to Tampa shouldn’t be a problem as the tournament’s overall #1 seed. and with Maryland as the #1 out west as a potential Final Four opponent (Tennessee too)…Getting to the National Championship Game is highly probable as long as the Huskies take care of business.

The Huskies “Core Four” of Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, Breanna Stewart, Moriah Jefferson and Morgan Tuck can all play at a high level. But as we’ve seen on a few occasions, if all four play very well at the same time, the Huskies will be nearly impossible to beat. UConn’s offense has the ability to pressure  the opposition in a game of try and keep up with them. Sure there are some teams who have the players that can attack the rim, but do they have enough around those players to beat the Huskies ?  That team would have to play it’s absolute best and UConn would have to play it’s B/B- game…

I’ll be interested how Kiah Stokes, Soniya Chong, Kia Nurse and Gabby Williams perform. Stokes we know can produce off the bench…the Production of the other 3 may decide if Title #10 is on the way. Nurse and Williams are freshman. Some go in nervous with deer in the headlights look..Others, just go play without a care in the world. I think this long break will help Nurse more than anyone as she, like Stewart have played a lot of hoops at a high level since August..And with this week being spring break, a mental break is even more important..

as for the Albany Bracket…Kentucky is UConn’s #2 for the 3rd time in 4 years…Matthew Mitchell I’m sure is thrilled. Then there is Jeff Walz and Jose Fernandez in Tampa and not the ‘Ville. The KFC Yum ! Center is a Men’s venue this weekend. So the Cardinals, the 3 seed must head south to play #14 seed BYU in round #1 and possibly a USF team that would love to get a win against their old conference foes.  But that BYU Team did give UConn a battle in the Sweet 16 in Lincoln last year. If UofL gets to Albany, they will have earned it…

Wonder what Muffett McGraw is thinking after her Irish got sent to OKC and just may get Baylor in a Regional Final ?? Had the two teams played on a neutral court as opposed to South Bend last march, there’s no guarantee ND would have won. They got every call. Now a 2nd round game with Depaul is possible, but with Meghan Rogowski’s knee injury, the Blue Demons don’t have enough…They should have beaten the Irish in December. And congrats to Quinnipiac, if any 12 seed has a fighting chance, it may be the Bobcats over Oklahoma in Palo Alto..The winner gets Stanford..question is, which Stanford Team shows up ?? The won that beat UConn and won the PAC 12 Tourney…or the one that lost 9 games during the season, including a late season loss to Oregon ??

South Carolina and UNC in a Sweet 16 rematch ?? In Greensboro no less ? Might happen…and Maryland, who to the surprise of few, breezed thru the Big 10 in it’s first year..30-2 is masked a bit, ND blasted them in December without Brianna Turner for much of the game..They may deserve to have that last #1 seed, but like Duke, show me…

I’m not totally convinced we’ll see all #1 seeds in Tampa…Two, likely three will get there. I’ve told my radio wife, Debbie Fiske we’re getting another UConn-ND National Championship Game…Brianna Turner must play well and Jewell Loyd needs help from others to have a shot. But I still think they are the 2nd best team.

Finally, 9pm starts Saturday and Monday in Storrs ?? REALLY ??  I understand ESPN wants a “National” Audience…But in a sense, they’ve killed any realistic shot at there being decent crowds at Gampel Pavilion. If there are 4,000-4,500 in house for both sessions, I’d call it a success. But sadly, many will stay home and watch on the big screens. Remember, the NCAA is looking out for the student-athlete’s best interest…..uh, uh…

 

See you on the radio this weekend !

 

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