Game delays, late starts keep LSU under wraps

LSU coach Sue Gunter calls her Lady Tigers "the invisible seed.''

LSU, which earned the top seed in the NCAA West Regional -- the school's highest seeding ever -- plays Wisconsin-Green on Bay Monday night in a second-round game at Oregon's McArthur Court.

The West Coast time zone, the late start of the games and a delay of Saturday night's first-round game have kept the spotlight
off the Lady Tigers (28-3).

"I haven't heard LSU mentioned at all,'' Gunter said. "We're like the invisible seed.''

Forward Ke-Ke Tardy said the lack of coverage is no different from the rest of the season, when she'd often see extensive
coverage of Tennessee, but just a blurb about LSU.

"I think this team has a chip on its shoulder,'' she said.

Thomas, Jordan sport similar styles in Midwest
A great scorer and rebounder, with plenty of versatility. A player able to dominate offensively inside or jump out to the perimeter to knock down a 3-pointer.

Mississippi State's LaToya Thomas or New Mexico's Jordan Adams. Take your pick, the profile fits both.

Monday night's second round game in the Midwest Regional between No. 3 seed Mississippi State (24-7) and No. 6 New Mexico (23-8) might come down to which one wins the battle in the middle.

The 6-foot-2 Thomas, an All-American and leading scorer in the SEC for four straight years, scored 22 points, hit 9 of 14 shots
and pulled down 13 rebounds Saturday in the Lady Bulldogs' 73-47 win over Manhattan.

Adams scored 27 points, hit 10 of 16 shots and blocked 8 shots in the Lobos' 91-85 overtime win over Miami Saturday. The 6-foot-3
center has 336 career blocks and needs one more to become the school's all-time career leader in both men's and women's
basketball. The eight blocks against Miami tied her with former New Mexico men's player Luc Longley.

"She reads and reacts well,'' Mississippi State coach Sharon Fanning said Sunday. "She can drive, post, shoot the three and she
can pass to the weak side.''

A carbon copy of New Mexico coach Don Flanagan's scouting report on Thomas.

"She picks and chooses her spots,'' Flanagan said of Thomas, who averages 25.5 points a game. "She can post you up, take you
outside. Anybody that can play all of the positions is difficult to defend.''

Flanagan and the Lobos have gone against Thomas once before and lost. She had 27 points and 10 rebounds as a sophomore two years ago in Mississippi State's 66-59 win over New Mexico in Albuquerque.

New Mexico, a No. 6 seed, will host Monday's game, and the Lobos' fans are among the best in the country.

"We realize the noise factor and the need to stay focused and able to communicate out there,'' Fanning said, adding that she
plans to use plenty of hand signals from the bench Monday night.

"They're definitely rowdier than the Tennessee fans,'' Thomas said.

Predetermined sites still a hot topic
The NCAA's decision to use predetermined sites for the first and second rounds of the tournament has gotten mixed reviews.

If you're one of the 16 schools selected to host the first two rounds, there are few complaints.

But North Carolina sees serious flaws in the system. The Tar Heels, the No. 3 seed in the Mideast Regional, would have been at
home for the first two rounds under the old format, which awarded home court to the 16 highest seeded teams. Instead, they had to fly
to Colorado.

Tennessee and Stanford could have home-court advantage all the way to the Final Four, since both are host not only to first- and
second-round games but also to regionals.

"I have been vocally against predetermined sites,'' North Carolina coach Sylvia Hatchell said. "I'm not for them, I've never
been for them. My personal opinion is: How fast can we change to something else?

"I'm sure at the convention this year at the Final Four that will be the No. 1 topic."

For the first time this year, schools submitted bids to host the first two rounds.