Two for the show: Terps ap­pear set with their seed for NCAAS

The Washington Times Daily - - Sports - BY MIKE DE­FABO

The As­so­ci­ated Press, ESPN and brack­e­tol­o­gists agree: Mary­land is the fifth best women’s bas­ket­ball team in the coun­try be­hind Bay­lor, Stan­ford, Con­necti­cut and Notre Dame.

The only ques­tion is if the se­lec­tion com­mit­tee will also agree and award Mary­land the top No. 2 seed in the NCAA women’s bas­ket­ball tour­na­ment when the brack­ets are un­veiled Mon­day at 7 p.m.

“They’re locked in as a two,” ESPN brack­e­tol­o­gist Char­lie Creme said. “Look at the four teams that are la­beled No. 1 and there’s not a sin­gle one of those four that Mary­land’s pro­file is bet­ter than. Hon­estly, it’s as sim­ple as that.”

It doesn’t take a de­gree in brack­e­tol­ogy to pre­dict that Bay­lor and Stan­ford will take the first two seeds in the tour­na­ment with just one loss com­bined. Mary­land bol­stered its re­sume by win­ning the ACC tour­na­ment last week­end, but the Terps’ six wins against ranked op­po­nents isn’t enough to push the team in front of the pow­er­ful Big East tan­dem of Con­necti­cut (11 wins against ranked teams) and Notre Dame (10) for the re­main­ing No. 1 seed.

As the top No. 2 seed, Mary­land (28-4, 12-4 ACC) could go into the Raleigh re­gion with Notre Dame be­cause the se­lec­tion com­mit­tee places teams in regions clos­est to the schools, ac­cord­ing to Creme.

Mary­land knows for cer­tain it will be host­ing its first two rounds at Com­cast Cen­ter on March 17 and 19. But pre­dict­ing the op­po­nents in those com­pe­ti­tions be­comes much less clear.

Creme has hy­poth­e­sized that the Terps will host Al­bany in the first round, but coach Brenda Frese knows from ex­pe­ri­ence not to read too much into the pro­jec­tions.

“I’ll take a peek here or there, but I know like ev­ery year that I’ve looked at it it’s never been ac­cu­rate,” Frese said on Fri­day. “Nine times out of 10, they’re nowhere close to what they put in those brack­ets. I think you can pre­dict one and two seeds, but I think af­ter that you can’t re­ally pre­dict what lo­ca­tions and who’s go­ing to be in your bracket.”

Creme also has ACC ri­val Ge­or­gia Tech in Mary­land’s bracket. It would be a matchup the Terps will cer­tainly want to watch out for, af­ter nar­rowly edg­ing the Yel­low Jack­ets in the ACC cham­pi­onship game.

“Who­ever is in our bracket, I know our girls are go­ing to be ex­cited to play,” se­nior cen­ter Lynetta Kizer said. “We’re just go­ing out and fin­ish­ing this thing strong. It’s six games, that’s it.”

The Terps en­ter the tour­na­ment win­ners of 10 of their last 11, in­clud­ing the ACC cham­pi­onship game. How­ever, sec­ond-team ALL-ACC for­ward Tianna Hawkins said the Terps still “have some­thing to prove.”

“We can’t be sat­is­fied,” Hawkins said. “We did well win­ning the ACC tour­na­ment, but our main goal is to win the na­tional cham­pi­onship.”

Kizer echoed Hawkins’ sen­ti­ments, say­ing that this is the time to step up.

“Tour­na­ment time ev­ery­one brings their A-game. The records go ze­rozero,” Kizer said. “Our motto is just, fight to fin­ish and take care of busi­ness.”

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