As many of you are aware, it’s March. And like every year around this time, we are at peak madness. We’re less than a week into the NCAA Championship basketball tournaments, and the upsets have been rolling in.
The men’s bracket is, of course, the primary focus for most people in the country. But here in Connecticut, we tune in to the women’s games. Why? Because most years, tuning into a women’s NCAA Tournament games means watching UConn wipe the floor with opponent after opponent after opponent.
2017 has been no different, obviously. The Huskies have won 109 straight games after sending Syracuse home with a 94-64 victory (including NINE 3-pointers from Kia Nurse) in the round of 32. They’ll face 4-seed UCLA at Webster Bank Arena in the Sweet 16.
But that’s not the Connecticut team we want to talk about today. Because we all know that UConn is good. We all know UConn hasn’t lost since 2014. Their hot streak has spanned multiple years and it’s not surprise they have their eyes on the title.
The surprise in 2017 is that Quinnipiac is also making a run. They came into the NCAA Tournament as a 12 seed, a popular seed for upsets, but still not favored against 5-seed Marquette. What did the Bobcats do? They sealed the upset win, 68-65.
The second round came with even higher stakes. 4-seed University of Miami had won their first game to advance and would be Quinnipiac’s next opponent. The result? Quinnipiac 85 – Miami 78. On to the Sweet 16.
I don’t follow regular season college basketball (men’s or women’s) close enough to know whether we should have seen this coming. But we’re deep into March and two rounds into the tournament and Connecticut has two teams in the Sweet 16. And seedings be damned, there is real momentum involved in these single-elimination tournaments. So as UConn stares down 4-seed UCLA and Quinnipiac faces down South Carolina, the top seed in their bracket, the hot streaks both teams are riding could mean two Connecticut teams in the Elite 8.
They both play on Saturday, so cancel your weekend plans. This is good, and could get better.