Krystal Thomas: Bracket Analyst
Posted by Krystal Thomas: March 21, 2013
OKLAHOMA CITY REGION
Region Winner: Baylor
In this region, the obvious team to beat is Baylor. Their only loss this season was to Stanford without Odyssey Sims, so they will be an incredibly tough team to beat when they are firing on all cylinders. I expect them to be dominant on their path to New Orleans.
Having five players averaging double figures, Florida State will advance past Princeton to a very tough task against Baylor. Now, I have a soft spot for FSU as my sister, Alexa Deluzio, plays for the Seminoles. Needless to say, I hope they do their very best against Baylor!
Both Syracuse and Tennessee will advance to face each other in the 2nd round. If the Vols donít have home court advantage, I would pick this game to be an upset. Syracuse is a Big East tested team that is incredibly underrated. Home court advantage is such a huge factor come tournament time and will turn in the Vols favor as they advance.
UCLA will be hungry coming off their buzzer-beater loss in the Pac-12 championship game. They should face the Sooners in the 2nd round; their playmakers will come up big and should advance to the Sweet 16. The Bruins are athletic at all positions, and will advance past Tennessee for a date with Baylor in the Elite Eight.
Region Winner: Stanford
This region is filled with very interesting matchups. To start, Villanova is a very dangerous team come tournament time due to their style of play. Stanford has home court advantage in the first two rounds, so I see them moving on to Spokane and then on to New Orleans.
Although Gonzaga has home court advantage, the Cyclones are a Big 12 tested team and will come out with the victory. A very well-coached Bulldogs team will visit the Cyclones in the 2nd round, and will pull out a close win. Even though LSU has home court advantage in their matchup vs. Green Bay, Green Bay has tournament experience and will advance.
Penn State will be hungry to avenge their early Big Ten tournament exit and will advance past Cal Poly, and then past Green Bay. South Florida is an underrated team out of the Big East and will pull off the upset over Texas Tech. Cal will also be hungry to even the score from their early exit in the Pac-12 tournament and will advance. USF will give Cal a run for their money but Cal will come out on top.
I have Cal vs. Stanford in the Elite Eight, and this game truly can go either way. Stanford beat Cal at Cal, and then one week later Cal beat Stanford at Stanford. On a neutral floor, this game will go down to the wire and I give the edge to the Pac-12 champion, Stanford.
Region Winner: Duke
I may be one of only a few people picking my alma mater to advance out of this region instead of the Irish, but I am sticking true to my girls. They won the ACC title without All-American Chelsea Gray, and I feel like Alexis Jones has the poise as a freshman to lead the team to New Orleans.
The one upset I picked in this region is DePaul over Oklahoma State. I have played both for Doug Bruno and against him in the tournament, and his teams are always well-oiled machines.
A game to watch will be Texas A&M vs. Duke in the Sweet 16. The Aggies seemed to get better as each game passed, and winning the SEC Title in their first year in the league solidified that. Notre Dame will continue to be as consistent as they have been all year, and will advance to play Duke in the Elite Eight.
Region Winner: UConn
Uconn has home court advantage all the way throughout this region, so I picked them win. Geno Auriemma always has his team ready to play come tournament time, and this team has weapons in all positions. They are battle tested and are ready to head back to the Final Four.
Having played Marist in the tournament and knowing they are no easy team to beat, I have them advancing to play Maryland to the second round. Marylandís size and strength will overtake Marist and earn a date with Uconn in the Sweet 16. I have Delaware advancing all the way to the Elite Eight to match up with UConn. I like this team because they played the toughest part of their schedule without their star player.
North Carolina will beat Albany because of their speed and quickness, but when advancing to play Delaware, the Blue Hensí balance will prevail. Daytonís early loss in their conference tournament will propel them past St. Johnís, but they will fall to a feisty, quick and athletic Kentucky Wildcats team. Delaware vs. Kentucky will be a great Sweet 16 matchup, but I think Delaware has played out of the limelight for the majority of their season, and now is the time to get some of their own Ė Delaware will advance.
Baylor vs. Stanford: This will be a re-match of Baylorís sole regular season loss. With Odyssey Sims playing in this game, Baylor will come out hungry and aggressive and will advance to the National Championship.
Duke vs. Uconn: UConnís experience at the Final Four will prove to be too strong against Duke and they will prevail. The Blue Devils should make it much more of a game than it was back in Hartford this season, but the fluid offense of the Huskies will be too much to stop.
Baylor vs. UConn: This game will be a rematch of one of my favorite games during the regular season. The Huskies gave the Griner-driven Lady Bears all they could handle in Storrs, but the speed, quickness, and height of the Lady Bears proved to be the equalizer. I expect a back and forth game for 40 minutes, but the reigning National Champions should come out on top.
Posted by Krystal Thomas: March 18, 2013
As a sports fanatic, this is my absolute favorite time of the year: March Madness!
Tournament time in the collegiate game is such an exciting time. There is so much heart, competition and drive displayed each and every night during these games that it gives me chills to watch them. Not to mention the great quality of games, and the always popularized upsets throughout the tournament.
I am very happy to announce that I will be your ďBracketologistĒ throughout the Womenís NCAA tournament. Once the brackets are announced on Selection Monday, I will give my personal picks as to who I think will win each game, as well as give a brief breakdown of each region.
I hope you all enjoy this time of year as much as I do. Plus, March Madness is a great precursor to all the fun we will have on the court this summer during the WNBA season.
Let the Madness Begin!