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COLLEGE BASKETBALL / NCAA TOURNAMENT

No. 3 Stanford Seeded No. 1 in West Region

Women: Defending champion Tennessee, for the first time in 10 years, is not a No. 1 seed.

March 10, 1997|From Associated Press

Connecticut, Old Dominion, Stanford and North Carolina were given the No. 1 seeds Sunday in the NCAA women's basketball tournament, assured of having a different Final Four for the first time since 1994.

Top-ranked Connecticut (30-0) is the No. 1 seed in the Midwest Regional, No. 2 Old Dominion (29-1) was given the top seed in the Mideast, third-ranked Stanford (30-1) is No. 1 in the West and fourth-ranked North Carolina (27-2) was made the top seed in the East.

This is the fourth straight year Connecticut has been a No. 1 seed and the first time in 10 years that Tennessee isn't. The Lady Vols are seeded third in the Midwest.

North Carolina became the third school awarded a No. 1 seed after missing the previous year's tournament. That happened with Ohio State in 1993 and Purdue in 1994.

The brackets are arranged so there will be at least two new faces in the Final Four, which has had Connecticut, Tennessee, Stanford and Georgia for two straight years.

Defending champion Tennessee and 1995 winner Connecticut are in the Midwest Regional. Stanford and Georgia are in the West.

A mild surprise was Colorado, not in the Top 25 but the No. 2 seed in the Midwest. The Buffaloes (21-8) played a tough nonconference schedule and finished strong in league play, winning their final six games and claiming the title in the first Big 12 tournament.

The Southeastern Conference repeated its feat of the last two years by getting seven teams in the tournament: Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, LSU, Tennessee and Vanderbilt. Left out was Arkansas, 18-10 overall but 5-7 in the league.

Arkansas failed to get in last season with a 20-11 record.

The Atlantic Coast Conference and Big 12 each has six teams, while five made it from the Big Ten, Conference USA and Pac-10.

In all of those leagues, a team thought to be on the bubble got in--Maryland from the ACC, Iowa State from the Big 12, Northwestern from the Big Ten, DePaul from Conference USA and Washington from the Pac-10. Iowa State (17-11) made the tournament for the first time.

With one exception, the top four seeds in each region will be the host schools for the first two rounds of regional play, either Friday and Sunday or Saturday and Monday.

The exception was Tulane, the No. 4 seed in the East. Tulane's arena is smaller than the required 4,000 seats, so fifth-seeded George Washington was given the subregional instead.

Joining Colorado as No. 2 seeds are Georgia in the West, Louisiana Tech in the Mideast and Alabama in the East. The No. 3 seeds in addition to Tennessee are Kansas in the West, Florida in the Mideast and Texas in the East.

Along with Tulane, the No. 4 seeds are Illinois (Midwest), Virginia (West) and LSU (Mideast).

The subregional winners on Sunday and Monday advance to regionals March 22 and 24 -- the East in Columbia, S.C.; the Mideast in West Lafayette, Ind.; the Midwest in Iowa City and the West in Missoula, Mont.

In the semifinals at the Final Four, the Midwest champion plays the East winner and the West winner goes against the Mideast champion.

Iowa State is one nine teams that will play in the NCAA tournament for the first time. The others are Arizona, Detroit, Eastern Kentucky, Lehigh, Liberty, Marshall, Southwest Texas State and Troy State.

Arizona and Iowa State were the only at-large qualifiers among the first-timers. The others all won their conference tournaments.

Tennessee and Louisiana Tech will make their 16th NCAA appearances--the only schools to play in the tournament each year since it began.

In the East on Friday, Michigan State plays Portland and North Carolina meets Harvard at North Carolina, while at Alabama, it's St. Joseph's against Kansas State and Alabama against St. Francis.

On Saturday in the East, Notre Dame plays Memphis and Texas takes on Southwest Texas State at Texas, while Tulane meets UC Santa Barbara and George Washington goes against Northwestern at George Washington.

In the Mideast on Friday, Purdue plays Maryland and Old Dominion faces Liberty at Old Dominion, and Auburn takes on Louisville and Louisiana Tech plays St. Peter's at Louisiana Tech.

The Mideast's Saturday games are Clemson against Marquette and LSU against Maine at LSU. At Florida, Southern California plays San Francisco and the host plays Florida International.

In the Midwest on Friday, it's Stephen F. Austin against Toledo and Colorado against Marshall at Colorado. Duke goes against DePaul and Illinois takes on Drake at Illinois.

On Saturday in the Midwest, North Carolina State plays Iowa and Connecticut faces Lehigh at Connecticut, while Oregon meets San Diego State and Tennessee plays Grambling at Tennessee.

In the West on Friday, Arizona plays Western Kentucky and Georgia takes on Eastern Kentucky at Georgia. Utah meets Iowa State and Virginia faces Troy State at Virginia.

The West Regional Saturday games have Texas Tech playing Montana and Stanford meeting Howard at Stanford, and Vanderbilt going against Washington and Kansas facing Detroit at Kansas.

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