NCAA Women's Basketball Bracket 2013: 5 Bold Predictions for Tournament
The field of 64 is all set and the Women's 2013 NCAA Basketball Tournament is ready to get underway.
The 2012-13 season has been anything but "normal" by women's college basketball standards.
For starters, Connecticut dropped four games this season and finished second in both the Big East regular season standings and in the Big East Tournament.
Tennessee, another women's college basketball powerhouse, lost seven games this season and also failed to win its conference title.
Could this trend continue into this year's NCAA Tournament?
Here are five bold predictions to look for in the women's NCAA Tournament.
1. All Four No. 1 Seeds Will Not Make the Final Four
Baylor, UConn, Notre Dame and Stanford. Those were the top four seeds in last year's women's NCAA Tournament, and they are the top four seeds again this season.
However, while all four of these elite programs marched their way into the Final Four last year, history is not going to repeat itself this season.
Duke, Cal and Kentucky all won 27-or-more games this season, and any one of those programs can play with these top four schools.
We saw Cal top Stanford earlier this season. Could we see it happen again?
I think so...
2. LSU Is Going to Upset Penn State
The LSU Tigers didn't exactly have the type of success this season that many thought they would.
LSU finished the year with a 20-11 record this season and a 10-6 mark in the SEC, but don't count this team out just yet.
The Tigers got a great draw in this year's tournament, playing their first two games right at home in Baton Rouge. If this team gets by Green Bay in its opening game, they will then likely have a matchup against Penn State.
The Nittany Lions won the Big Ten regular season title, but fell to Michigan State in the semifinals of the Big Ten Tournament.
Look for Penn State to be on upset alert, and it should come at the hands of this LSU team.
3. Brittney Griner Will Score 30-Plus Points in More Than One Game
Brittney Griner is the top player in women's college basketball, make no doubt about it.
But how motivated will Griner be to close out her senior season with a third National Championship?
Griner averaged more than 23 points per game this season, including a 50-point outburst earlier this month against Kansas State, which is the most points scored by any player in the Big 12 conference.
Look for Griner to keep the streak going as Baylor goes for a third National Title.
Assuming she doesn't exit every game early for added rest, Griner will score 30-plus points in at least two games in this year's NCAA Tournament.
4. Baylor and Notre Dame Will Win Every Game by Double Digits Before Final Four
Baylor and Notre Dame are the top two teams in the nation.
So what can we expect from these two powerhouse programs on their road towards the Final Four?
Don't be surprised if both Baylor and Notre Dame win every game they play by double-digits before reaching the women's Final Four.
Baylor finished the regular season with a 32-1 record. In those 33 games, there were only three that were decided by less than 10 points.
On the other hand, Notre Dame closed out the season with a 31-1 record, with their only loss coming to Baylor back in early December. Of those 32 games, only nine of them have been decided by less than 10 points.
These two teams are so locked in right now that I don't see any other team getting within double digits of either of them before the Final Four.
5. Baylor Will Beat Notre Dame in Overtime in the National Championship Game
As mentioned earlier, Baylor and Notre Dame are the top two teams in women's college basketball this season. It is fitting that the bracket plays out perfectly for these two powerhouse programs to meet again in this year's National Championship Game.
Baylor took down Notre Dame in last year's National Championship Game by a score of 80-61.
Don't think for a minute that we will have another blowout if these two teams meet again in this year's title game.
In fact, if these two teams do meet, which I believe they will, it's very possible that this matchup could go into overtime.
When it is all said and done, as good as Skylar Diggins and this Notre Dame team is, it will be Brittney Griner and the Baylor Bears who capture their third NCAA women's basketball national championship.
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