The pre-selection analysis has had the #15/14 Ags as a 3 seed, with some small possibility of dropping to a 4. As a host site, A&M would be playing at Reed either way, so for A&M fans the major suspense was in who would be coming to play in College Station and what the overall path would be if we get out of the first weekend without being upset (which happened last year).
Up Next: North Dakota
The committee sent the Big Sky champion N. Dakota no-names to College Station as a 14 seed. North Dakota used to be called the Fighting Sioux, but dropped the nickname/mascot despite at least one group of actual North Dakota Sioux suing to keep the name. The N. Dakotans are prohibited from picking another mascot until 2015. N. Dakota has historically been a pretty good mid-major Women's Bouncy Ball program. They have 3 National Championships to our 1, and they've made the Elite 8 as recently as 2007. Of course, the reason you don't remember that, aside from not being a WBB fan, is that it was in Division II. The Fighting Flickertails (the pre-1930 nickname) have missed the tourney since returning to Div I play in 2008, however, and were picked in the preseason to be a bottom feeder in the Big Sky.
But led by Big Sky player of the year Madi Buck, a 6-0 Senior Forward, N. Dakota surprised the pundits and won both the regular season and the conference tourney. In the conference final, the Nodaks started:
- Madi Buck: 6-0 Sr F. Leading scorer at 15.8 ppg, she also pulls down 7.2 rebounds/game
- Mia Loyd: 5-11 So F. At 13.8 ppg Loyd leads the team in rebounding and was the heroine of the Big Sky semis
- Allyssa Wall 6-4 Sr C. Leads the team in blocks with 52. Contributing 6.0 ppg and 5.7 rpg.
- Leah Szabia 5-9 Fr G. 7.9 ppg. 2.8 assists/game.
- Kelsey Knox 5-7 So G. I think she's the PG based on her team-leading 3.5 assists/game
#6 Gonzaga vs #11 James Madison
The Zags are 18/16 in the polls while JMU is receiving votes in both. Swish Appeal "Dance Card" quick profiles of
- JMU. Colonial champs. Kirby Burkholder, a 6-0 Senior Guard got a shout out in the ESPN analysis of possible upsets. Burkholder had a double-double with 11 points and 22 rebounds in the CAA semis.
- Gonzaga. Gonzaga is located in Spokane, so Seattle is not really their home court. This meant the NCAA was sending the Zags on the road no matter where they went. But I was expecting Seattle, site of our early exit against them in 2010.
Chalk would have the Zags advance for Tuesday's game against the Ags. More on this later once the Sunday results are in.
Overall look at the bracket
BTHO the N. Dakota Fighting not-Sioux