The Norman Transcript

Sports

March 18, 2014

Huskies, Irish, LadyVols, Gamecocks earn top NCAA Tournament seeds

NORMAN — Geno Auriemma and his UConn Huskies hope to achieve history by the end of this NCAA tournament.

The top-seeded Huskies (34-0) are trying for a record ninth NCAA title, which would break a tie with Tennessee for most all-time. Standing in the way of undefeated Connecticut’s run could be Notre Dame. The Irish were also unbeaten this season and earned the top seed in their own region. It’s only the second time that two teams entered the tournament undefeated.

Despite not playing this season, the former Big East rivals know plenty about each other having met 12 times over the previous three seasons. The unbeaten wouldn’t meet until the national championship game on April 8 in Nashville. Notre Dame isn’t intimidated by Connecticut; the Irish have won seven of the past nine meetings with the Huskies.

Tennessee and South Carolina also earned No. 1 seeds. While it’s the 22nd time that the Lady Vols have earned a top spot, it’s the first for the Gamecocks. The Huskies, Lady Vols and Gamecocks all could have to play on an opponent’s home court with a trip to Nashville on the line. Stanford, Notre Dame, Louisville and Nebraska, who are all hosting regionals, were a combined 52-3 at home this season.

The Lady Vols, who won the SEC tournament championship, are the top seed in the Louisville Regional and would also like nothing more than break the tie with Connecticut and win their ninth NCAA title. They open up against Northwestern State and will be trying to end a five-year drought of not making the Final Four. The Lady Vols won’t have an easy path. West Virginia is the second seed. Host Louisville is the three seed and Maryland is the four.

Tennessee lost to Louisville in the regional final last season and could have to beat a Cardinals team that lost just once at home this year and that was to UConn.

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