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A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Familiar names in UConn's bracket

There was not an abundance of suspense surrounding UConn on Selection Monday.

The Huskies figured to be the No. 1 overall seed for a record 10th time, play the first and second rounds in the friendly confines of Gampel Pavilion and then head to Albany to complete the quest for an eighth straight trip to the Final Four.

What the UConn players and coaches were not expected is just how familiar some of the potential opponents would be during the journey. Four of the other 15 teams in the Albany Region played the Huskies during the glory days of the Big East Conference including sixth-seeded South Florida, which joined UConn in the American Athletic Conference. Kentucky happens to be the No. 2 seed in UConn's bracket for the third time in the last four years.
"I wish we had gotten some different teams that we didn't know," UConn coach Geno Auriemma said. "The NCAA tournament is supposed to be about playing teams that you don't know that well. They picked three teams from our (American Athletic) conference, you couldn't find a reason to put the second-best team (South Florida) in our conference (in a different bracket). Some things don't make sense, Kentucky again for the third time in four years? Some things make you shake your head but that is everywhere. I think you have to take everything with a grain of salt. If you are going by 1-8 (seeding), you have to get those eight right and they can't be based on geography or who is going to sell out so given that you are going to end up with the same teams."
UConn's quest for a 3-peat begins on Saturday against No. 16 seed St. Francis (N.Y.) at 9 p.m. The Northeast Conference tournament champions are the only team in the field of 64 with a losing record. The second-round opponent would be former Big East programs Rutgers or Seton Hall, who meet on Saturday at 6:30 p.m. in the opening game of the subregional. Former conference rivals Louisville and South Florida could square off in the second round. Normally third-seeded Louisville would be the host but with the men's team hosting a subregional, the women's team was unable to host so South Florida will be the host site.
Auriemma and his players didn't express any outrage or nods of agreement in the quality of the teams they will have to face. However, Auriemma had plenty of thoughts on playing at 9 p.m. both on Saturday and Monday or the fact that the dates and times of the games were not revealed until Monday evening.
"It seems like we get the late game more than anybody else," Auriemma said. "You can say 'well, that is flattering, you are on prime time.' OK, I get and I have said it 100 times so this is something new and I am certainly not complaining but what is in TV's best interest is not necessarily what is in the fan's best interest that want to come to the games. Those two things are not related so you have to live with that year after year after year.
"How do you not make that determination earlier so you can really get the ticket selling campaign going? People have to set aside the whole weekend, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday. It's not Friday/Sunday or Saturday/Monday, I have to set aside the whole weekend if I want to come to the games because I don't know when the games are. It is not fair to the fans who follow your team all year round to be put in that situations where they have no idea of when and what time the games are going to be.

"My heart goes out to all of those people who just found out tonight and those families with kids that have to decide do I want to bring them out Saturday night at 9 o'clock and then if we win, Monday night at 9 o'clock. I understand, somebody has to play at 9, there is a slot but it always seems to be us. I guess it is flattering that we are the prime-time show."


Anonymous Joe said...

I cannot believe they put USF in the same bracket as UConn. Playing each other three times already this year wasn't enough?
Terrible call by the committee. USF had a fine season and deserved better.
Also, this is a really big potential threat to UConn. It is really, really, really hard to beat the same team four times in the same season.

9:38 AM 

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