Can the ACC Women Stop Their Slide?
Over the past three seasons, no conference has had more Sweet 16 representatives than the ACC, which sent 11 teams into the NCAA region semifinals (the Big East and SEC had 10 apiece, and Big 12 had five). But Monday night was not a good one for the league, as three teams lost in the second round, two by upset.
North Carolina, the third seed in the Midwest, fell to sixth-seeded Purdue, 85-70, in Chattanooga, Tenn. The Tar Heels, who were undefeated and ranked second in the country in mid-January, failed to advance to the region semifinals for the first time since 2004. Florida State, the third seed in the East Region, was edged by sixth-seeded Arizona State, 63-58, in Duluth, Ga. And Virginia, the fifth seed in the East, was blown out by third-seeded California, 99-73, in Los Angeles. (Some are not happy with the Cavaliers' early exit; the last time Virginia made the second weekend of the tournament came in 2000.)
Can Maryland, Duke and Georgia Tech stop the ACC's slide tonight? The top-seeded Terrapins, as you undoubtedly know, face ninth-seeded Utah at 7 p.m. in Comcast Center. Duke, the top seed in the West Region, has an interesting matchup with ninth-seeded Michigan State in East Lansing; the Blue Devils -- especially Coach Joanne P. McCallie, who is facing her former team -- expect a lot of boos. And ninth-seeded Georgia Tech, which beat Iowa in Iowa City for only its second NCAA tournament win ever, gets a shot at top-seeded Oklahoma in Iowa City.
Here's the breakdown of region semifinalists by conference (power conferences only):
ACC (11): Maryland, North Carolina, Duke (2008); North Carolina, N.C. State, Florida State, Duke (2007); North Carolina, Boston College, Maryland, Duke (2006).
Big East (10): Connecticut, Rutgers, Pittsburgh, Notre Dame, Louisville (2008); Connecticut, Rutgers (2007); Rutgers, Connecticut, DePaul (2006).
SEC (10): Vanderbilt, LSU, Tennessee (2008); Georgia, Tennessee, Mississippi, LSU (2007); Tennessee, Georgia, LSU (2006).
Big 12 (5): Oklahoma State, Texas A&M (2008); Oklahoma (2007); Baylor, Oklahoma (2006).
Big 10: (3): none (2008); Purdue (2007); Purdue, Michigan State (2006).
Pacific-10 (3): Stanford (2008); Arizona State (2007); Stanford (2006).
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