Originally posted on Midwest Sports Fans  |  Last updated 3/23/13
If you’re like me and have already discarded your men’s NCAA Tournament Bracket (I had Wisconsin and Georgetown in the Final Four), you’ll welcome the beginning of the women’s NCAA Tournament and the opportunity to start with a fresh bracket. Are Brittney Griner (left) and top-ranked Baylor headed for a rematch against Skylar Diggins (right) and #2 Notre Dame in this year’s title game? (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images North America) The women got started late this morning. Perennial powers led by some of the biggest stars in college basketball headline this year’s tourney, but there are also plenty of emerging programs and dangerous mid-majors to keep an eye on. The top seeds in this year’s bracket, for the second consecutive year, are defending champion Baylor, 2011 and 2012 runner-up Notre Dame, Connecticut, and Stanford. While one would expect one of the teams from the top line to be cutting down the nets in New Orleans in a few weeks, second-seeded California boasts a résumé that, in another year, probably would have earned them a 1 seed. The #6 Bears boast a 28-3 record and a host of wins over tournament teams, including road victories over Stanford, Colorado, and UCLA. Second-seeded Duke, who defeated Cal back in December, is also a team to look out for. The Blue Devils, the most successful women’s program  to never to have w a national title, bring a 30-2 record into the tournament. Major upsets aren’t nearly as common in the women’s tournament as they are in the men’s. But if you’re looking for a low-seeded mid major to win a game or two, keep an eye on the 12-5 match-ups. 12 seeds Gonzaga, Middle Tennessee, and Marist have developed into three of the best and most consistent women’s mid major programs over the past several years. Marist is riding a 21-game win streak. Gonzaga has won 15 straight and has the privilege of opening the tournament on its home floor. 11 seed Green Bay is 29-2 and on a 24-game streak, but only one of those wins came against a team in the tournament, and that was against 14th-seeded Wichita State. Elena Delle Donne can beat you inside or out. Her sixth-seeded Delaware Fighting Blue Hens open tournament play Sunday at 11:15 Central. (Photo by Graham Hays/espnW) The 2013 bracket has more star power than any women’s tournament in recent memory. Even casual fans know 6-8 Baylor center Brittney Griner and Notre Dame guard Skylar Diggins. Those who follow the women’s game also know all about Elena Delle Donne, Delaware’s 6-5 forward with range, and Stanford junior Chiney Ogwumike, younger sister of WNBA rookie of the year Nneka Ogwumike. All four of these players will be in action on Sunday. Below is the schedule for this year’s first-round games. All start times are Central Time. ESPN2 will be covering all of the first round games, except for Sunday’s Kentucky-Navy game, which will air on ESPNU. Every game is available for viewing on the WatchESPN app. Saturday March 23 Bridgeport Region 10:05 CT: (8) Vanderbilt v. (9) St. Joseph’s 10:15 CT: (4) Maryland v. (13) Quinnipiac 12:30 CT: (1) Connecticut v. (16) Idaho 12:30 CT: (5) Michigan State v. (12) Marist Oklahoma City Region 10:10 CT: (6) Oklahoma v. (11) Central Michigan 10:20 CT: (7) Syracuse v. (10) Creighton 12:30 CT: (3) UCLA v. (14) Stetson 12:30 CT: (2) Tennessee v. (15) Oral Roberts Norfolk Region 3:05 CT: (3) Texas A&M v. (14) Wichita State 3:10 CT: (4) South Carolina v. (14) South Dakota State 5:30 CT: (6) Nebraska v. (11) Chattanooga 5:30 CT: (5) Colorado v. (12) Kansas Spokane Region 3:15 CT: (5) Iowa State v. (12) Gonzaga 3:20 CT: (2) California v. (15) Fresno St. 5:30 CT: (7) Texas Tech v. (10) South Florida 5:30 CT: (4) Georgia v. (13) Montana Sunday March 24 Bridgeport Region 11:05 CT: (2) Kentucky v. (15) Navy 11:15 CT: (6) Delaware v. (11) West Virginia 1:30 CT: (7) Dayton v. (10) St. John’s 1:30 CT: (3) North Carolina v. (14) Albany Oklahoma City Region 11:10 CT: (4) Purdue v. (13) Liberty 1:30 CT: (5) Louisville v. (12) Middle Tennessee 4:10 CT: (8) Florida State v. (9) Princeton 6:30 CT: (1) Baylor v. (16) Prairie View A&M Norfolk Region 12:05 CT: (2) Duke v. (15) Hampton 1:30 CT: (7) Oklahoma St. v. (10) DePaul 4:05 CT: (1) Notre Dame v. (16) Tennessee-Martin 6:30 CT: (8) Miami (FL) v. (9) Iowa Spokane Region 4:15 CT: (3) Penn State v. (14) Cal Poly 4:20 CT: (1) Stanford v. (16) Tulsa 6:30 CT: (8) Michigan v. (9) Villanova 6:30 CT: (6) LSU v. (11) Green Bay The post NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament First Round Preview and TV Schedule appeared first on Midwest Sports Fans.
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