Originally posted on Fox Sports Southwest  |  Last updated 3/12/12
Brittney Griner and the Baylor Bears have had one goal this season -- a national championship. Anything short would be a disappointment for the undefeated top-seeded Lady Bears, who are looking to become the seventh school to run through a season unbeaten. Standing in the way could be the other No. 1 seeds -- Stanford, Connecticut and Notre Dame, dominant all season long. The Huskies and Irish both lost competitive games at Baylor this season. Griner and Baylor, who lost in the regional final last year, could be the first team ever to win 40 games in a year, but coach Kim Mulkey only cares about one thing -- a second national title for the school. "We started hearing about that, and it's never been a goal of ours," Mulkey said of winning 40 games. "Our simple goal is to win a national championship." The basketball madness gets started Saturday -- the first step en route to the Final Four, which begins April 1 in Denver. To get to their second Final Four in three seasons, the Lady Bears might have to get through Tennessee, which is appearing in its 31st straight NCAA tournament. The two teams met in November, and Tennessee held an eight-point lead early in the second half before Griner took over en route to a nine-point victory. The 6-foot-8 phenom has been dominant lately scoring more than 40 points twice in the past 10 games, including a 45-point effort in the Big 12 tournament semifinals this past weekend. The Lady Vols have won eight national championships but haven't been to the Final Four in three seasons. They pledged at the beginning of the season that they would not go a fourth consecutive year without reaching the Final Four -- something they've never done -- and would try to win a national title to honor Pat Summitt. The coach announced in August she'd been diagnosed with early onset dementia, Alzheimer's type. Summitt's squad will face her alma mater -- Tennessee-Martin -- in the opener. Connecticut hopes to win its eighth national championship (tying Tennessee) and will start with a matchup against Prairie View. UConn coach Geno Auriemma told the Huskies' faithful in the preseason that this team wouldn't win a national championship. But his young team has developed over the past five months, and Connecticut looks poised to make another run after beating Notre Dame for the Big East tournament title. The Irish also have been focused on winning a title after falling just short last season, losing in the championship game to Texas A&M, which is a No. 3 seed in the Raleigh region. The two teams could meet in the regional final. Notre Dame, which will open up at home against Liberty, reached the national title game last year by knocking off UConn in the Final Four. It was the fourth straight season that UConn made the Final Four. The two teams, who already have played three times this year, could meet for a fourth time in Denver. The Cardinal also have advanced four straight seasons to the Final Four, and coach Tara VanDerveer is looking to get her first title in 20 years. She'll begin with a trip East to Norfolk, Va. to face Hampton. Stanford hasn't been east of the Rockies since 2001, when they went to Oklahoma. Standing in the way of a fifth trip to the Final Four could be second-seed Duke, which lost in the ACC tournament quarterfinals. The Blue Devils are led by talented freshman post Elizabeth Williams and sophomore guard Chelsea Grey and will face Samford in the opening round. Another intriguing team in that region is third-seeded St. John's, which ended UConn's 99-game homecourt winning streak in February. The Red Storm have won 14 of their last 17 games after falling to the Huskies in the semifinals of the Big East tournament. Third seed St. John's faces Creighton in its opener. Missing from the tournament is North Carolina, which is hosting the first two rounds, but didn't make the field for the first time since 2001. In the Fresno region, eight-seed West Virginia plays No. 9 Texas; No. 5 South Carolina meets 12th-seed Eastern Michigan; No. 4 Purdue faces 13th-seed South Dakota State; sixth-seed Oklahoma hosts No. 11 Michigan; and No. 7 Vanderbilt hosts No. 10 Middle Tennessee. In the Bridgeport region, No. 8 Kansas State will play ninth-ranked Princeton, which became the first Ivy League team to make the Top 25 on Monday; fifth-seed LSU hosts No. 12 San Diego State; No. 4 Penn State plays 13th-ranked UTEP; No. 6 Rutgers visits 11th-seed Gonzaga; No. 3 Miami plays 14th-seed Idaho State; No. 7 Green Bay takes on 10th-seed Iowa State; and second-seed Kentucky plays No. 15 McNeese State. In the Raleigh region, No. 8 California will play ninth-seed Iowa; No. 5 St. Bonaventure will take on No. 12 Florida Gulf Coast in a matchup of NCAA first-timers; fourth-seed Georgia meets No. 13 Marist; No. 6 Arkansas faces 11th-seed Dayton; No. 3 Texas A&M plays 14th-seed Albany; seventh-seed Louisville faces No. 10 Michigan State and second-seed Maryland hosts Navy. In the Des Moines regional, eighth-seed Ohio State will play No. 9 Florida; No. 5 Georgetown faces 12th-seed Fresno State; fourth-seeded Georgia Tech takes on No. 13 Sacred Heart. Sixth-seed Nebraska will meet No. 11 Kansas; No. 3 Delaware will play No. 14 Arkansas-Little Rock; and No. 7 DePaul takes on 10th-seed BYU.
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Rick Carlisle addresses Mavericks' sexual harassment scandal

Jocelyne Lamoureux wins gold medal with beautiful shootout goal

Lindsey Vonn unable to pull off miracle in slalom, does not medal in combined

Gregg Popovich does not expect Kawhi Leonard to return this season

Drew Brees reportedly to demand less than Jimmy Garoppolo on new deal

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Louisville website selling shirts with Kevin Ware’s ‘rings’ quote

Polian changes stance on Manziel: ‘Cleveland got what they deserved’

Anthony Rizzo: 'Awesome' teams wearing Stoneman Douglas caps

MLB considering letting trailing team bat anyone in ninth?

Warriors to spend D.C. day with kids instead of at White House

LeBron James not a fan of NBA altering playoff format

The 'Red Sox finally get their guy' quiz

MLB's top 10 first basemen for 2018

Faltering Blackhawks face tough decisions at deadline

25 best MLB players under 25

A.J. McCarron might be the best consolation prize in free agency

MLB's top 10 second basemen for 2018

Offseason needs for every NFL team

Negro Leaguers every baseball fan should know

Top 30 NFL free agents

MLB's top 10 starting pitchers for 2018

The greatest barrier-breaking African-American moments in MLB history

MLB's top 10 catchers for 2018

College Basketball (W) News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Yardbarker Privacy Policy and Terms of Service. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

25 best MLB players under 25

The 'Red Sox finally get their guy' quiz

MLB's top 10 first basemen for 2018

Faltering Blackhawks face tough decisions at deadline

Offseason needs for every NFL team

MLB's top 10 second basemen for 2018

The 'All muscle hamsters go to heaven' quiz

A.J. McCarron might be the best consolation prize in free agency

The 'James gang walks away with a win' quiz

Negro Leaguers every baseball fan should know

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker