Like most selection days in NCAA women's basketball, the focus from around the country was fixed on Storrs. Unbeaten UConn, the No. 1 team in the country, will begin its title defense at home before journeying to Lincoln, Neb.
How will it all shake out before a champion is crowned in Nashville on April 8? Let's take a spin through the bracket:
Vols' Home Run
Tennessee will begin its tournament run in Knoxville and will try to end it in Nashville, site of the Final Four. In between, the Volunteers will travel 250 miles to Louisville for the regionals.
Not a bad itinerary.
Tennessee (27-5) is the No. 1 seed in the Louisville Regional, opening with Northwestern State before facing the winner of St. John's-Southern Cal in an 8-9 matchup. The next opponent figures to be either No. 4 Maryland (24-6) or No. 5 Texas (21-11), barring an upset. Ivy League champ Penn (22-6) is Texas' first opponent, while Maryland opens with Army (25-7).
Can Tennessee be beat in the regionals? The second seed is West Virginia (29-4), the Big 12 runner-up to Baylor and a team that is ranked No. 5 in The Associated Press poll. The Mountaineers' losses: Ohio State to open the season, Texas and Baylor twice.
But to get back home, Tennessee will need to beat Louisville at its home. The No. 3 Cardinals (30-4) may be the Vols' biggest obstacle.
And speaking of the Cards …
No Love For Louisville
On Sunday night, Rick Pitino's defending national champion received a surprising low No. 4 seed in the men's tournament. The Cardinals are playing great and could be considered a favorite to win it all, so the seed stood out.
On Monday night, Jeff Walz's team — No. 4 in the latest AP poll — was handed a No. 3 seed. This is a team with 30 victories, and three of the four losses came to UConn. The fourth loss came Dec. 1 to state rival Kentucky, then ranked seventh in the country.
A No. 3 seed in its home region?
"I think this will give us a little chip on our shoulder," junior guard Sara Hammond said Monday night, according to the Louisville Courier-Journal.
The American Athletic Conference didn't get much respect from the selection committee. Just 25 hours after the men's committee showed little regard for the first-year league, the women's committee selected just two AAC schools for the tournament — UConn and Louisville.
South Florida (19-12) and Rutgers (22-9) were considered candidates for invitations, but neither name was called. Rutgers, of course, is off to the Big Ten. And Louisville is departing for the ACC, so the future of UConn's conference is cloudy.
USF's cause was expressed by both UConn coach Geno Auriemma and Walz. The Bulls were 0-8 against ranked teams, but their only losses after Jan. 1 came against UConn and Louisville.
But the committee wasn't impressed. As for the rest of the AAC, well, those eight schools were a combined 0-36 against UConn and Louisville in the regular season and conference tournament.
Not to be outdone by the American, the Big East also placed just two teams in the tournament. The automatic bid went to DePaul (27-6), the Big East regular season and tournament champion. Doug Bruno's team is the No. 7 seed in the Lincoln Regional and will open against No. 10 Oklahoma (18-4) in Durham, N.C.
The conference's other bid went to St. John's, No. 8 in the Louisville Region. St. John's (22-10) will face Southern Cal (22-12) in Knoxville.
The committee has set up a possible title game showdown between unbeaten rivals UConn and Notre Dame. The defending champion Huskies (34-0) must emerge from the Lincoln Regional, with No. 2 Duke (27-6) slotted as the only "threat." Of course, UConn beat Duke by 22 points in December, so maybe not.
The top seed in the Notre Dame Regional is none other than Notre Dame (32-0), UConn's old Big East rival and a program that has made five trips to the Final Four. Are we looking at the UConn-Notre Dame national title game?
For Muffet McGraw's team to advance, it will need to march through a region with No. 2 Baylor (29-4) as the only real challenge. Kentucky (24-8) is the No. 3 seed, followed by Purdue (21-8) and Oklahoma State (23-8).
In its first season in the deeper ACC, Notre Dame seemed to raise its game. The Irish beat 11 ranked teams, including such nonconference foes as Tennessee and Penn State.
The Irish's road to the Final Four begins with Robert Morris (21-11) before facing the winner of the Vanderbilt (18-12)-Arizona State (22-9) matchup. Baylor looms large, but it lost to Kentucky in four overtimes on Dec. 6 and there's no guarantee they advance to a meeting with the Irish.
So there will be two teams bidding to win the title as an unbeaten. It has happened seven times before, most recently by Baylor in 2012. UConn has done it four times.
Heading into the Pac-12 tournament, Stanford seemed primed for a No. 1 seed and a deep tournament run. But the Cardinal were upset by Southern Cal (21-12) in the conference tournament semifinal — yes, semifinal — and they find themselves as the No. 2 seed in the Stanford Regional.
The loss to an inferior Southern Cal team was alarming, but let's remember that Stanford was upset by Washington (17-13) a month earlier. The only other loss came to UConn early in the season, but the Pac-12 wasn't very good.
It's hard to see any team in this bracket emerging as the serious threat to UConn in the national semifinal game.