Digital Headbutt

A sports blog about stuff…stuff that involves things.

Previewing the Women’s Final Four

Posted by Mike on April 1, 2007

Between Billy Packer, the unceremonious exit of the Tar Heels, the potential for boring games , and the fact that I may lose a bracket challenge to a penny, I’m not paying too much attention to the Men’s Final Four this year. Thankfully, in the Women’s Final Four, none of those factors come into play. There’s no Billy Packer (or Dick Vitale for the matter), my Tar Heels are still alive, all of the game have the potential for excitement, and I don’t have a women’s tournament bracket. I might mention the fact that I will get stare at women for two nights, but I would need professional help if my intimate fantasies involved Rashanda McCants and Sylvia Fowles.

rashanda_mccants.jpgsylvia_fowles.jpg

On to the previews:

LSU vs. Rutgers. Normally I would be at all surprised to see the Tigers in the Final Four. They are one of the most talented teams in the nation, Senior Sylvia Fowles is perhaps the best pure post player remaining in the tournament, and they beat Tennessee to win the SEC Tournament in March. But LSU has had to deal with the resignation of their coach Pokey Chatman, who left due to allegations of her “les-ing out”, as Cartman would say, with one of her former players. Bob Starkey, the interim coach, has done a great job of keeping the Tigers focused, and they crushed UConn to win their regional and get to Cleveland.

Rutgers is the surprise of the Tournament. They managed to beat the heavily favored Duke Blue Devils, 53-52 in the Sweet 16 (although it didn’t hurt that Lindsey Harding absolutely choked at the end) on their way to the Final four, prompting Tar Heels like me to dance in the streets. The Scarlet Knights pride themselves on defense, having allowed no more than 57 points in postseason play (7-0, Big East and NCAA Tournaments). Still, they will need a great defensive effort out of center Kia Vaughn and good perimeter shooting if they want to beat the talent of the Tigers.

Pick: My heart says Rutgers, but my head says LSU. I’ll take the Scarlet Knights in overtime.

North Carolina vs. Tennessee. A lot more attention will be paid to this game. It features perhaps the nation’s two current most prominent women’s programs, coaches (Sylvia Hatchell and Pat Summitt), and players (Ivory Latta and Candace Parker). Ivory may be the emotional leader of the Tar Heels, but make no mistake. UNC is here because of their frontcourt. The Tar heels perform at their best when Camille Little gets offensive touches, Latoya Pringle plays good defense, and Erlana Larkins is able to get UNC’s offensive rebounds, where she is most effective at scoring. Pringle will most likely be assigned to defend Candace Parker, who is by far the best athlete in women’s basketball right now. If the Heels are able to shut down Parker (and that’s a big if), it will be up to underclassman point guard Alexis Hornbuckle to bail the Vols out. Tennessee’s road to the final four was decidedly unimpressive, with wins over a 16 seed, an 8 seed, 13 seeded Marist, and 7 seeded Ole Miss. They haven’t had to play under pressure yet in the tournament.

Pick: The Tar Heels beat Tennessee by 13 in December at Carmichael Auditorium, but this crowd will be decidedly less favorable for UNC. I will still pick North Carolina in a very close game.

Championship: North Carolina over Rutgers.

I’ll be liveblogging game one of tonight’s action here, and game 2 on Tar Heel Mania. Even though we won’t get to see Maryland or Duke like last year, this will be a very exciting end to the Women’s Tournament.

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One Response to “Previewing the Women’s Final Four”

  1. […] Previewing the Womenâs Final Four […]

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