Like their SEC rivals, the Gamecocks also may have to win on an opponent’s home court to reach the Final Four.
If the seeds hold true, South Carolina would face Stanford, which hasn’t lost at home this season. Before that contest is a potential rematch for the Gamecocks with North Carolina. The Tar Heels and their stellar freshman class, led by Diamond Deshields, beat the Gamecocks in December. The Tar Heels also could have coach Sylvia Hatchell back on the sidelines at that point. The Hall of Famer battled leukemia during the regular season.
While Hatchell’s status is unknown for the tournament, Baylor will be missing coach Kim Mulkey for the first game. She is suspended for the first round game against Western Kentucky for comments she made last season after losing to Louisville in the regional semifinals.
“I haven’t talked to the team in depth about me not coaching in the first game,” Mulkey said. “I’ll watch it on television at home. ... I always tell the team something could happen to me on that sideline and you should be able to coach yourself.”
Connecticut could have to beat host Nebraska in the regional semifinals if both teams make it that far. The Huskies have made it to the Final Four in a record six straight seasons. They hope to make it to Nashville to keep that streak alive.
If the Huskies do win the national championship it would be the fifth time they went undefeated in a season. This would be the first time that they won 40 games, joining Baylor as the only teams ever to accomplish that feat.
The defending national champions have won games by an average of 36 points. They open up at home against Prairie View A&M on Sunday night. The Lady Panthers became the ninth team to reach the NCAA tournament with a losing record when they won the Southwestern Conference championship.