Top seeds Notre Dame, Tennessee advance in women’s NCAA Tournament

1 Comment

2014 Women’s NCAA tournament bracket

Throughout the 2013-14 season two teams separated themselves from the competition in women’s college basketball: UConn and Notre Dame. Both teams entered the 2014 NCAA tournament undefeated, with the defending national champion Huskies boasting a 34-0 mark and Muffet McGraw’s Fighting Irish winning all 32 of their games.

In seasons past there would be at least two meetings between the programs (they met four times last season), as both were members of the Big East. But thanks to conference realignment there wasn’t a regular season meeting this year, with Notre Dame asserting its dominance in the ACC and UConn doing so in the American Athletic Conference.

With the teams on opposite sides of the NCAA tournament bracket the hope is that they’ll meet in the national title game, and Notre Dame took its first step towards the game by beating No. 16 Robert Morris 93-42 in Toledo. Freshman guard Michaela Mabrey led five Fighting Irish in double figures with 16 points off the bench, and as a team Notre Dame shot 59.4% from the field and 10-for-18 from beyond the arc.

Next up for Notre Dame, top seed in the Notre Dame Region, is No. 9 Arizona State, which beat No. 8 Vanderbilt 69-61. The Sun Devils were one of three lower-seeded teams to win on Saturday, with No. 12 BYU beating No. 5 NC State 72-57 in the Lincoln regional and No. 10 Florida State beating No. 7 Iowa State 55-44 in the Stanford regional.

Tennessee, the top seed in the Louisville regional, was also in action Saturday and the Lady Vols eliminated No. 16 Northwestern State by the final score of 70-46. After leading 22-20 at the half Holly Warlick’s team scored 48 points in the second half to remove any doubt.

All three two-seeds in action Saturday advanced, with Lincoln Region No. 2 Duke (87-45 over Winthrop), Notre Dame Region No. 2 Baylor (87-74 over Western Kentucky) and Stanford Region No. 2 Stanford (81-62 over South Dakota) moving on to the second round.

And in the wildest game of the day Lincoln Region No. 7 DePaul beat No. 10 Oklahoma 104-100, with the Blue Demons winning despite allowing 66 points in the second half. Megan Rogowski’s three-pointer with 40.5 seconds remaining gave DePaul the lead for good in a game that set an NCAA tournament record for the most points scored in a game that did not go to overtime.

VIDEOS: Rhode Island, Maryland exchange heated words in Cancun

Dan Hurley
Leave a comment

No. 2 Maryland finally found their rhythm on Wednesday night, blowing out a good Rhode Island team, 86-63, in the finals of the Cancun Challenge.

Melo Trimble and Rasheed Sulaimon combined for 34 points and eight assists on 13-for-14 shooting and Robert Carter added 15 points, nine boards, three assists and three blocks. Peak Maryland, which is what we saw tonight, is really dangerous.

But Peak Maryland wasn’t the story after the game, as tempers flared in the waning minutes.

It started when Maryland coach Mark Turgeon called a timeout with less than two minutes remaining. Jake Layman had just hit a three to put Maryland up by 24 points and Turgeon wanted to get his walk-ons in the game. Hurley said to the Maryland bench, “We’ll see you again, boy,” according to Inside Maryland Sports, which prompted this reaction from Turgeon:

After the game, the two teams had to be separated in layup lines. According to reports from IMS and from the Baltimore Sun, Hurley was cursing at Maryland players as he was shaking their hands after the game. According Doug Gottlieb, who called the game for CBS Sports Network, Trimble said that the Rhode Island team wanted to “fight us”:

Wayne Selden stars as Kansas wins the title in Maui

Wayne Selden Jr., Jeff Roberson
Leave a comment

The last time we wrote about Wayne Selden in this space, it was my colleague Scott Phillips who questioned, after a poor performance in the Champions Classic, whether or not Selden is capable of bring a primary scorer for a team with NCAA title aspirations.

At the time, it wasn’t an unfair question to ask.

Selden is a former top 15 recruit. He is a guy who was expected to go one-and-done that played poorly in the first big game of his third year on campus. But after three days it Maui, it appears that the old Wayne Selden is gone.

[MORE: Kansas got Cheick Diallo news today]

He capped an MVP performance in the Maui Invitational with 25 points and seven boards on 8-for-11 shooting as the No. 5 Kansas Jayhawks knocked off No. 19 Vanderbilt, 70-63, in the title game. Selden was terrific for the entire weekend, averaging 21.5 points in the two games against Division I competition and shooting 12-for-17 from beyond the arc in the three game tournament.

It was the best that we’ve seen Selden play during his Jayhawk career, and it came in a game the Jayhawks desperately needed it. Vanderbilt is a damn good team. They’re ranked 19th, which may actually be too low, and they seem to clearly be the biggest challenger to Kentucky in the SEC. They jumped out to a double-digit lead on Kansas in the first half as the Jayhawks seemed to be sleep-walking early in the game.

Enter Selden. He drilled three threes in the first half and scored 13 of the 26 Jayhawk points to keep them close. In other words, he played like a star on a night Kansas desperately needed someone to step up and play like a star. Remember: this is a dude that had enough talent and potential in high school to be considered a McDonald’s All-American and a potential lottery pick. The ability is there:

(That move is filthy.)

The question has always been whether or not he is capable of putting it all together, of being the guy that can be relied upon to make the big play in the big moment, to carry a team with title aspirations.

And to be fair, the jury is still out in that regard. Are we just going to ignore those four free throws he clanged down the stretch?

But seeing Selden have this kind of performance in a game like this against a team that is this good is unquestionably a positive for Kansas moving forward.