Tuesday, March 16, 2010;
Favorite: Tennessee (30-2) will try to move past the ignominy of last year's first-round upset loss to Ball State. The eight-time champion has been overshadowed by Connecticut lately, but reached 30 wins third fastest in program history. The Lady Vols, the only team to make every NCAA tournament, start four sophomores and a junior. Five players boast double-figure scoring averages. This is the Lady Vols' 20th No. 1 seed.
Dark horse: Georgetown (25-6) has enjoyed a historic season, reaching 20 wins faster than any team in program history and winning a program-record 25 games. The Hoyas' 13 Big East wins are more than the past two seasons combined. Despite its 17-year NCAA tournament absence, Georgetown has enjoyed success in the postseason. Last year, the Hoyas won three games in the WNIT to reach the quarterfinals, the most successful postseason run in program history.
Best first-round matchup: Dayton (24-7) is making its NCAA tournament debut, while TCU (22-8) is in the field for the ninth time in the last 10 years. The Flyers, who finished tied with Temple for second in the Atlantic 10, have wins over Michigan State, Georgetown and Purdue, while the Horned Frogs beat Fresno State and Texas A&M.
Player to watch: Baylor's Brittney Griner is better known these days for the punch she threw in the game against Texas Tech than her dunks or blocks. The Big 12 freshman of the year was suspended two games for the incident. At 6 feet 8 with a 7-4 wing span, Griner is a force around the basket, averaging 19 points, 8.7 rebounds and 6 blocks per game. She has three triple-doubles this season and has dunked four times.
Fun facts: Hartford earned the first at-large bid by an American East team in 10 years and just the third overall. . . . Jenna Plumley, the Southland Conference player of the year, was the starting point guard at Oklahoma before transferring to Lamar. The junior from Red Rock, Okla., is making her third NCAA appearance, while the Lady Cardinals are making their first appearance since 1991. . . . Hampton Coach David Six had the interim tag removed from his title after leading the Lady Pirates to their first NCAA tournament in six years.
-- Kathy Orton and Melissa Rosenberg