A little bit (OK, a lot) shorter as I try to juggle chainsaws before Selection Monday. What’s on the line for everyone in the big matchups?
(4) North Carolina vs (8) Virginia – 8:00 PM
Virginia probably needs a win to get a top-two seed and may need two this weekend to give themselves a prayer of a #1 seed thanks to their rather light resume against top teams. The Tar Heels are better off thanks to a great slate of big results. I think they’ll get a #1 seed regardless, but a win here would probably all but wrap it up.
(3) Texas A&M vs (10) South Carolina – 4:30 PM
Texas A&M probably wrapped up at least a #2 seed by avoiding a banana peel against Georgia on Wednesday. Moving up to the #1 line is probably going to take an SEC Tournament title and help elsewhere. South Carolina has an outside shot at a top-two seed if they win out thanks to a huge slate results against top teams. They’ll have confidence as well after a 2-2 draw in the regular season.
(5) Florida State vs (14) Notre Dame – 5:30 PM
Florida State’s on the path to a #1 seed and probably locks it up with a win here. Notre Dame has a great profile of results against top teams but is still lagging a bit in the RPI. A win here puts them in the mix for a top-two seed, but they still might need a win on Sunday. Like the other ACC Tournament semi-final, neither club met each other this year.
(18) Washington State vs (15) Washington – 4:00 PM
Apple Cup time. Both of these clubs are probably smarting after their matches with the Los Angeles clubs last season. Each of these sides needs a win here to retain an outside shot at a #4 seed. Washington probably has the greater worries in the short-term given how bad the defense has looked against top clubs this year.
(7) West Virginia vs (30) Texas – 6:30 PM
Texas is creeping towards lock status thanks to others around them imploding but will erase all doubt with an upset here. The Horns would also likely lock up a home game in the first round of the NCAA Tournament with a win. West Virginia’s solidly on the #2 line right now and will be hoping to creep up to the top line with a Big XII Tournament title.
(37) USC vs (2) UCLA – 10:30 PM
The Bruins are a #1 seed barring some dose of insanity, but they’ve got an unbeaten streak to defend. Katelyn Rowland has a chance to tie the DI all-time clean sheet record if she shuts out USC at the Los Angeles Coliseum. USC will be looking to ease their nerves if they can nick a result here. That may also keep them from an away day in the NCAA Tournament first round.
(17) UCF vs (24) UConn – 5:00 PM
The Knights are probably fighting to get up to a #3 seed and hopefully avoiding Florida State in the Sweet Sixteen. There’s an outside chance a loss here might knock them from the national seed ranks though. UConn has happily moved off the bubble and will be looking to move up further. A national seed looks to be tough, but a win would likely ensure a home game next week.
(12) Wisconsin vs (51) Minnesota – 2:00 PM
Wisconsin might be fighting for Paula Wilkins’ reputation as a top-level boss, with this being their best chance at a major trophy since she took over in Madison. A loss here could well scuttle hopes of a national seed given how underwhelming the Big Ten has been as a whole. That fact might also make Minnesota’s hopes of an at-large bid tough. Defeat here would likely spell the end of those hopes.
(42) Arizona State vs (26) Arizona – 4:00 PM
The committee wouldn’t leave ASU out given their results against top teams…would they? A win here would end that potential drama and perhaps give the Sun Devils hopes of hosting next week. Arizona has long since moved into the realm of locks and will be hoping to stay in hosting contention with a win over their rivals on Friday.
(19) Kentucky vs (50) Tennessee – 7:00 PM
Tennessee’s on the ragged edge of the bubble after shocking Florida in a Wednesday shootout. A win wraps up an NCAA Tournament berth. A defeat could make it a heartbreaking Monday for the Lady Vols, who have fought so doggedly to get here. Kentucky may be looking at their best chance for a major trophy with Florida dispensed with. Additionally, a win here may be enough to ensure a national seed.