Women's NCAA Tourney Final Four predictions

ALBANY

 Credit Jessica Hill/Associated Press

Credit Jessica Hill/Associated Press

Geno isn’t allowed to retire until someone calls me bad for basketball. Imagine taking your job seriously &taking pride in what you do to the point that none of your peers are able to figure out how you do it. Then, he started opening up his practices to show that it’s not some special serum or drills. It’s about believing in your players. Seeing trajectories for them that they don’t even seem for themselves. Challenging & pushing them to get there while striking the delicate balance necessary to support them when life happens off the court. CD gets most of the credit now, then & forever because I couldn’t imagine young Geno trying to support teenage girls. But he knew that. He hired accordingly. The rest is history. History women’s basketball absolutely needs in order to take the steps necessary. Give that man his flowers now.

Lexie Brown & Rebecca Greenwell represent two of the absolute best stories & players college basketball has ever seen. Here’s hoping the way their careers in a manner indicative of such: a competitive, respectable game against the best to do it, outcome not-withstanding. McCallie’s struggled to have her teams ready in the past. These two deserve her best game plan ever.

A’Ja Wilson, Dawn Staley & crew seemed so caught up in everything except what happens in their own gym this season. There still aren’t any real answers for what happens A’Ja Wilson is struggling or off the floor. Your second-best player, while just as talented is volatile & inconsistent. Meanwhile? Felisha Legette-Jack is another example of a black woman slighted for numbers & her team wants to keep playing. Should SC win this game? Could they? Absolutely. Please SC. Prove me wrong again.

Picks: UConn over Duke
Buffalo over South Carolina
UConn to Final Four

SPOKANE

 Robert Franklin, AP

Robert Franklin, AP

Harry Perretta is one of the absolute best coaches we have & it was great to see him have his team into the second round with the potential to build on that for next season. Adding to his excitement, & mine, is the fact that Jannah Tucker was recently approved for the capacity to return for a full final season as opposed to playing half, as they had been expecting.

On the flip side of that token, another of the best coaches around the land, & one with a more personal feel, Doug Bruno probably won’t be watching the tape of his team’s second round game. A literal nightmare, considering the style they play. In the end, his defense couldn’t stop the freight train that is Chennedy Carter & the offense that had carried them all game, stalled towards the end. The unsung hero for A&M all season?

Anriel Howard. & they would be at home if she hadn’t come to play thus far. The next game will take a major step up in intensity however. This A&M team also reeks of the 2011 team that stole the ring Skylar Diggins-Smith likely still has nightmares about. Their next opponent? Muffet McGraw & ND.

The bottom of the bracket is intriguing mostly in the capacity of what’s to come. Oregon should be able to cruise after Central Michigan rewarded legend Sue Guevara with an upset win to end Kelsey Mitchell’s career. If the Ducks don’t have an epic slipup, they should matchup with a Notre Dame team that’s actually helped it get better for next season by proving to not be a suitable home for transfer Erin Boley, who’s been tagged the Ducks most impressive player in practice most of the season. Next season, this likely won’t even be a conversation as the teams could meet for a national championship as both will return enough to earn a 1-seed. But this season? 2018? I doubt this unit, as hard as they’ve worked to get here will let Muffet or any of their teammates lose that game & have to shake Boley’shand. Any other one seed, I’d pick against (see below) but this matchup gives Muffet too much motivational text message material.

Picks:Notre Dame over Texas A&M
Oregon over Central Michigan
Notre Dame to Final Four

LEXINGTON

The most predictable of all the regions has been just about such. 9-seed Oklahoma State, former home of starting guard Roshunda Johnson upset 8 Syracuse & Creighton upset an Iowa team playing without its point guard while the rest of the region remained chalk. That should remain the case until the regional final. Mississippi State will go into the game the favorite, could, should & might win this game. It wouldn’t shock me if they did. But this senior class was the one Karen Aston targeted. After years of being on the bandwagon, Joyner Holmes’ situation & the lack of player development over the years have me questioning if she has the right voice to get UT back to national championship games. For her sake, let’s hope so. Because the voice that IS RIGHT is the one she hired to sit right beside her.

Picks:Mississippi State over NC State
Texas over UCLA
Texas to Final Four

KANSAS CITY

 Mark Humphrey, AP

Mark Humphrey, AP

Going out on another limb here. But humor me: Louisville put all its ducks in a barrel to beat Notre Dame this year. It accomplished that &has put this program in great position to take the next step within the next five years. His team this season has the makeup to get there too. Except Tara Vanderveer is the Wizard of the West Coast.

She has a team of young kids that she loves coaching galvanized by seniors who would, have & will continue running through walls for them. There’s also ample post talent & depth surrounding Kaylee Johnson that allows her to focus on being a defender & rebounder. Also, Kianna Williams gives Stanford something that’s been missing since Candice Wiggins eligibility expired: a guard who can go get it done, go get a bucket in crunch time. In a game that will very likely come down to the wire, Stanford took its lumps early in the season to be prepared for now. & TVD knows this game like the back of her hand.

The only team to beat Baylor all season? UCLA. Baylor will say they played without Lauren Cox & Kim Mulkey but one could argue that’s the last time they played a team as talented as they are with a coach on her level. That will be the case in the Sweet 16 & it couldn’t come at a worse time

Picks: Stanford over Louisville
Oregon State over Baylor
Stanford to Final Four