Vanderbilt and Tennessee, dueling all season long for the top spot in women's basketball, each received a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament Sunday.
No. 1 Vandy (27-2) got top billing in the Midwest region after winning the Southeastern Conference championship and the automatic berth. No. 2 Tennessee (27-2), which received an at-large berth, was top-seeded in the Mideast, on the other side of the 48-team tournament's grid.The other No. 1 seeds are defending champion Stanford (25-5) in the West and Ohio State (24-3), placed at the top of the East bracket.
Stanford and Tennessee have split the last four championships.
"Only one thing is going to make this team happy and everybody knows what it is," Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer said. "I almost feel like we've played a mirror year to last year. We played Tennessee into overtime and lost by one point this season. Last year, we won in overtime by one. The similarities are scary to me. It feels a lot like last year. We just want the same outcome."
Ohio State coach Nancy Darsch welcomed the No. 1 seed. "We were real excited to see our names come up first on the screen," she said. "It took away some of the suspense of having to wait. It looks like we're in a very tough region."
Besides Vanderbilt, the Midwest seeds are Maryland (22-7), Texas (22-7) and Stephen F. Austin (27-4). In the West, Texas Tech (26-3), Southern California (21-6) and Colorado (25-3) joined Stanford as the seeded teams. Virginia (24-5), Penn State (22-5) and Western Kentucky (23-6) joined Ohio State as East seeds. In the Mideast, besides Tennesee, the seeds were Iowa (24-3), Auburn (24-3) and North Carolina (22-6).
All seeded teams receive first-round byes. All first-round matchups are at campus sites as the tournament begins March 17.
Except for Iowa, all seeded teams host second-round games on their campuses March 20 or March 21. Iowa's second-round Mideast game will be played at the court of the winner of the first-round game between Old Dominion (21-7) and Tennessee Tech (22-6).
Elsewhere in the Mideast, Connecticut (18-10) will host Louisville (18-11) with the winner going to Auburn; Alabama (21-8) is at home to Georgia Southern (21-8) with the winner headed for North Carolina; and Georgia Tech (16-10) is at Northwestern (19-8) for the right to play Tennessee. Georgia Southern was the last team to qualify, earning the Southern Conference automatic bid with a 76-73 victory over Furman on Sunday.
In the East, Bowling Green (25-4) plays host to Florida (18-9), with Virginia awaiting the winner; Northern Illinois (24-5) is at Georgetown (21-6) for the right to play Penn State; Miami (23-6) is home for St. Peter's (18-10), with the winner advancing to Western Kentucky; and Rutgers (21-8) heads for Vermont (28-0), while Ohio State awaits the outcome.
Midwest first-round matchups pair California (18-9) at Kansas (21-8), with the winner getting Vanderbilt; Xavier of Ohio (21-8) at Clemson (18-10) for the right to face Stephen F. Austin; DePaul (20-8) at Louisiana Tech (23-5), with Texas next; and Oklahoma State (23-8) at Southwest Missouri State (21-9), with Maryland awaiting the winner.
In the West, San Diego State (19-8) visits Georgia (20-12) for the right to play Stanford; UC-Santa Barbara (18-11) plays host to Brigham Young (24-4) for the right to play Colorado; San Diego (16-11) is at Nebraska (22-7), with the winner heading for Southern California; and Montana State (22-6) at Washington (16-11), with Texas Tech awaiting the outcome.
Tennessee and Louisiana Tech each is making its 12th straight appearance in the tournament. Georgia, Penn State and perennial power Texas are making their 11th appearances in the tournament. Seven teams - San Diego, Xavier of Ohio, Montana State, Georgia Tech, Georgetown, Florida and Georgia Southern - are making their first trips to the tournament.
The Southeastern Conference led the way with six entries, followed by the Atlantic Coast Conference with five and the Big Eight, Big Ten and Pac-10 with four.
After the first two rounds, the tournament moves to regional sites with the East at Richmond, Va.; the Mideast at Iowa City, Iowa; the Midwest at Nacogdoches, Texas; and the West at Missoula, Mont.
The Final Four is set for April 3-4 at the Omni in Atlanta.