Women's Basketball 2017 NCAA Tournament Bridgeport Regional Overview

Bridgeport Regional Overview
The committee did not make it particularly easy for Connecticut this year. The Huskies will, likely, have either Duke or Maryland to deal with a trip to the Final Four on the line. On paper, the Terrapins should have been a two seed so that makes this region a little more difficult. With teams like West Virginia, who are coming off a great run in the Big 12 Tournament, and Syracuse, who went to the Final Four last year, this region could have been easier for Connecticut.
#1 Connecticut, #2 Duke, #3 Maryland, #4 UCLA, #5 Texas A&M, #6 West Virginia, #7 Temple, #8 Syracuse, #9 Iowa State, #10 Oregon, #11 Elon, #12 Penn, #13 Boise State, #14 Bucknell, #15 Hampton, #16 Albany
Who Can Win?
Well it is all about UConn. The Huskies were a bit of a surprise this year since most did not expect them to go undefeated again, but they reloaded and are ready to continue their dominance. In other regions Duke, Maryland and UCLA would be given a chance, but it will take something very special against Connecticut.
Who Can Surprise?
One year ago Syracuse made a shocking run to the Final Four as a four seed. If they want to shock the world again, it will have to come in the second round when they face off against Connecticut. Of course, the Orange will have to get past Iowa State first. UCLA is a team to watch too. They can score in bunches and rarely beat themselves. A potential trip to Bridgeport to take on Connecticut could be interesting, but that is a long trip for the Bruins.
Who’s Hot?
Not counting that team that has won 107 games in a row, there are a few teams in this region on decent winning streaks. Penn has won 13 of their last 14 contests and have played great defense during that stretch. In early February Boise State was 5-6 in Mountain West play and the NCAA Tournament seemed very far off. However, the Broncos won their last seven regular season games and continued their winning ways with another three wins in the conference tournament.
Who’s Cold?
In late February Texas A&M lost four straight games to end the regular season. The Aggies rebounded by beating Florida and Missouri in the SEC tournament, but those tough losses are not too far behind Texas A&M.
Upset Alert!
Elon has had an amazing season, going 27-6 and 15-2 in CAA play. The Phoenix did lose twice to James Madison during the regular season, but beat them when it mattered the most with an NCAA Tournament bid on the line. They have a balanced offense, a very good defense and the toughness on the glass to battle with anybody on the glass. West Virginia is tough on the glass too and full of momentum after winning the Big 12 Tournament, but this is a decent matchup for Elon if they can successfully stretch out West Virginia’s defense.
What Possible Matchup is Interesting?
Duke against Maryland has the feel of a Final Four game this year, but is a potential Sweet Sixteen matchup. The Blue Devils come into the NCAA Tournament at 27-5 with wins over teams like South Carolina, Kentucky and Louisville. Maryland has only lost twice all year. One was against Connecticut and the other came at Ohio State. These are two very, very good teams that should have Final Four aspirations. The Final Four will be a tough road though with Connecticut awaiting the winner.
Which Player Will Dominate?
Maryland has a superb inside/outside combination in Shatori Walker-Kimbrough and Brionna Jones. Walker-Kimbrough averages 18.6 points per game and Jones adds 19.8. Those two will do a lot of scoring in the early rounds and will have to have great games if the Terps hope to reach the Elite Eight and beyond. Oregon may not stick around too long in this tournament, but College Sports Madness’ Freshman of the Year Sabrina Ionescu is a fun player to watch. She is averaging 14.3 points, 6.6 rebounds and 5.5 assists this season and will hope to lead the Ducks to an upset or two. But, of course, the biggest star power is at Connecticut where Katie Lou Samuelson and Naphessa Collier both average over 20 points per game and Gabby Williams can fill up the score sheet.