Planting Seeds For The Tournament

See if this logic makes sense to anybody. The number one team in women’s college basketball, the Connecticut Huskies, lost for the first time this season last Tuesday on the road to a strong Rutgers team. When they released the new top 25 poll this afternoon, UCONN only dropped one spot to number two.

Huh?

Really?

I understand only a handful of teams can make a strong case that they are in the Grey Goose class of women’s hoops, and UCONN is certainly top shelf. But shouldn’t Geno Auriemma and his Lady Huskies drop more than just one spot in the top 25 poll?

With only one loss on the season, Tennessee jumps into the number one position and gets the unenviable task to face Rutgers on Monday night. Led by an injured Candice Parker, the Lady Vols face a tough stretch that leads up to the SEC Championship and NCAA Tournament.

If Tennessee can’t beat the Lady Scarlet Knights on Monday, expect to have a third number one team in as many weeks as North Carolina would jump to the pole position. Losing only to the current top two teams in the country, the Lady Tar Heels lead the toughest conference in women’s basketball and act as a slam dunk for one of the number one seeds for the NCAA Tournament. Sorry for the pun, folks.

And then there’s Maryland.

At about the time when head coach Brenda Frese looks to deliver twins, her basketball team could bring back another national championship to College Park. Sitting at the number four position in the latest top 25 poll, the Lady Terps lead the nation in total wins (25) at the division one level in either men’s or women’s basketball.

Back with the nucleus of their magical ride two years ago in Boston, Maryland could very well cut down the nets in Tampa when they dole out the national championship in early April. Led by the always clutch Kristi Toliver, who averages 17 points per game, the Lady Terps are starting to look like the New England Patriots down the stretch. They win the ballgame…but just barely. Needing a late field goal to beat Virginia and surviving an overtime session on the road in Virginia Tech, Maryland’s fatigue from a heavy non-conference schedule could be catching up to them at the worst possible time.

With just four regular season games before the Terps travel down to the ACC Tournament, gut check time starts now. The rest of the season plays out like the lyrics of the college basketball anthem “One Shining Moment:”

Time is short
and the road is long
in the blinking of an eye,
ah, that moment’s gone.

Enjoy the ride to Tampa. I’ll see you along the way.

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