NCAA Roundup; Coyle, Stanley Make March Predictions

With the conclusion of the regular season and the start of the NCAA Tournament in women’s college basketball, New York Liberty Head Coach Patty Coyle and Assistant Coach Marianne Stanley predict what they think will happen in the finals.

Who do you think is the strongest conference this year?
PC: “From top to bottom I would say the Big 12. Although the SEC is always very competitive.”
MS: “It is a tie between the Big 10 and the ACC.”

In each conference, pick one team you think will be a tough match up?

SEC:
PC: “LSU – This may be their year.”
MS: “LSU – If they can handle the pressure of a championship run, look out!”

Big East:
PC: “UCONN”
MS: “Rutgers – This is the best team they've had during Coach Stringer's tenure!”

Big 12:
PC: “Texas”
MS: “Baylor – They are on a roll and have a mission.”

Big 10:
PC: “Ohio State”
MS: “Michigan State … m Mostly because of their style of play. Their matchup zone is a killer!”

Going into the tournament, which team is the biggest sleeper?
PC: “There is so much parity in the NCAA this year that it is hard to say. There are a number of teams that could win it all. There really is no clear cut favorite so anyone could be considered a sleeper.”
MS: “Two teams that I think are sleepers this year are Michigan State and De Paul. It will be interesting to see how far they go in the tournament.”

Which team would others like to avoid in the first round of the NCAA Tournament?
PC: “This year with the conferences being so strong I would avoid any team from the SEC or Big 12.”
MS: “Villanova”

Which underclassman will be the deciding factor for her team in the tournament?
PC: “Simone Augustus of LSU. How well she plays in the tournament will help decide if LSU can win the Tournament.”
MS: “It is a tie between Tiffany Jackson of Texas and Ivory Latta of UNC.”

PREDICTION TIME …

Final Four:
PC: “LSU, Ohio State, Texas, UCONN”
MS: “Michigan State, North Carolina, LSU, Ohio State”

Player of the Year:
PC: “Simone Augustus of LSU”
MS: “Kendra Whecker of Kansas State”

Coach of the Year:
PC: “Pokey Chapman of LSU”
MS: “Jim Foster of Ohio State”

2005 NCAA Champion:
PC: “LSU”
MS: “LSU”