Category archive: NCW

Total Access with Rebecca Lobo

March, 12, 2012
03/12/12
2:55
PM ET

Our Selection Monday show is just hours away, and our crew is getting ready!

ESPN basketball analyst and KodakCam artist extraordinaire Rebecca Lobo checks in with fellow analyst Carolyn Peck. Which teams deserve a No. 1 pick? Which schools have the best uniforms? Which coaches have the best style? The analysts dish from where all the magic happens: the ESPN makeup room:

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NCW

Some updates after Sunday's conference tournament games:

NOTABLE

• Delaware (Colonial) and Green Bay (Horizon) won their respective tournament championship games, removing any bid-stealing possibilities on the final day of conference tournaments.

• Creighton (Missouri Valley), Liberty (Big South) and Sacred Heart (Northeast) also held their spots in the field with tournament titles.

• Kentucky holds onto the final No. 2 seed. The Wildcats had more quality wins (11) than Miami (five) or Delaware (five), had a better SOS than both, and won a regular-season title in the second-rated conference.

• Texas remains the last team in. The Longhorns are no slam dunk, but the decision came down to fact they have more wins against other teams under at-large consideration (seven) than North Carolina (three), Michigan (four), Southern California (four), James Madison (one), Oklahoma State (five) and Kansas (six). Of course, there a number of other factors to consider, but this was the deciding measurement. Victories over Michigan State, California and Virginia were a collection of nonconference wins none of the other teams have.

LAST FOUR IN

Temple
Iowa State
Michigan State
Texas

FIRST FOUR OUT

North Carolina
Michigan
Southern California
Oklahoma State

NEXT FOUR OUT

Kansas
James Madison
Wake Forest
Arizona State

CONFERENCE BREAKDOWN

Big East (8)
SEC (8)
Big Ten (6)
Big 12 (6)
ACC (5)
Atlantic 10 (3)
Pac-12 (2)
WCC (2)
Sun Belt (2)

Automatic qualifiers
Saturday's update
Friday's update
Wednesday's update
Tuesday's update

Some updates after Saturday's conference tournament games:

NOTABLE

• Eastern Michigan (MAC), Hampton (MEAC), UC Santa Barbara (Big West), Navy (Patriot), Idaho State (Big Sky), San Diego State (MWC), Albany (America East), Prairie View (SWAC), UTEP (C-USA), Fresno State (WAC), Stanford (Pac-12) and Baylor (Big 12) all earned automatic NCAA bids on Saturday.

• James Madison took itself out of at-large consideration with a loss in the CAA semifinals.

• Creighton replaced Missouri State as the MVC representative by beating the Lady Bears. The Bluejays meet Drake on Sunday for the MVC's only bid.

• Drexel and Detroit could steal bids on Sunday. Delaware (CAA) and Green Bay (Horizon), the favorites in the those respective games, would be at-large entrants.

LAST FOUR IN

Temple
Iowa State
Michigan State
Texas

FIRST FOUR OUT

North Carolina
Michigan
Southern California
Oklahoma State

NEXT FOUR OUT

Kansas
James Madison
Wake Forest
Arizona State

CONFERENCE BREAKDOWN

Big East (8)
SEC (8)
Big Ten (6)
Big 12 (6)
ACC (5)
Atlantic 10 (3)
Pac-12 (2)
WCC (2)
Sun Belt (2)

Automatic qualifiers
Friday's update
Wednesday's update
Tuesday's update

Texas A&M's Kelsey Bone talks about how well Baylor played as a team in the Big 12 title game.

Texas A&M's Sydney Carter talks about why opposing guard Odyssey Sims is so effective.

Baylor coach Kim Mulkey talks about how sophomore point guard Odyssey Sims has improved her game.

Baylor's Odyssey Sims and Brittney Griner talk about their Big 12 title and focusing now on the NCAA tournament.

Some updates after Friday's conference tournament games:

NOTABLE

• Kansas State lost to Baylor in the Big 12 semifinals, but it doesn't affect the Wildcats' place in the field. They are No. 33 overall on the board, the first No. 9 seed.

• Iowa State, which lost to Kansas State in Thursday's Big 12 quarterfinals, remains among the last four in.

• Kansas, which lost to Texas A&M in the Big 12 quarterfinals Thursday, remains among the next four out.

• Texas A&M's win over Oklahoma in the Big 12 semifinals leaves both teams unchanged. The Aggies are a No. 4 seed playing in College Station. The Sooners are a No. 8 seed playing in Norman.

• Southern California lost to Washington State in the Pac-12 quarterfinals, which dropped the Trojans on the board and eliminates them from the field.

• Upsets in the Big West put UC Santa Barbara in as the conference representative for now.

• Bowling Green's loss in the MAC semis knocks out the Falcons. They are replaced by Eastern Michigan in the field as the No. 13 seed, still playing in Bowling Green.

LAST FOUR IN

Temple
Iowa State
Michigan State
Texas

FIRST FOUR OUT

North Carolina
Michigan
James Madison
Southern California

NEXT FOUR OUT

Oklahoma State
Kansas
Wake Forest
Arizona State

CONFERENCE BREAKDOWN

Big East (8)
SEC (8)
Big Ten (6)
Big 12 (6)
ACC (5)
Atlantic 10 (3)
Pac-12 (2)
WCC (2)
Sun Belt (2)

AUTOMATIC QUALIFIERS

Arkansas-Little Rock (Sun Belt)
BYU (WCC)
Connecticut (Big East)
Florida Gulf Coast (Atlantic Sun)
Dayton (Atlantic 10)
Marist (MAAC)
Maryland (ACC)
McNeese State (Southland)
Princeton (Ivy)
Purdue (Big Ten)
Tennessee-Martin (OVC)
Tennessee (SEC)
Samford (Southern)
South Dakota State (Summit)

Texas A&M's Kelsey Bone talks about taking on fellow Houston native Brittney Griner and Baylor in the Big 12 championship game.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- On Saturday, Texas A&M will play in its fifth consecutive Big 12 women's championship game. It will also be the last one for the Aggies.

They are leaving for the SEC after this school year, a decision Texas A&M coach Gary Blair wishes hadn't been made. He has loved his time in the Big 12 -- the rivalries that have been built in women's basketball because of the elevation of the program, and the friendships as well.

However, money, ego and bad blood trumped tradition and geographic common sense, and the Aggies are on their way out. But before they go, there will be at least one more showdown between Baylor and Texas A&M, the schools that have played in two previous Big 12 finals.

Baylor won both of those. In fact, the Lady Bears have won 10 of their past 11 games against the Aggies. The exception, though, was really the biggest: last season's Elite Eight matchup in Dallas, which Texas A&M won 58-46 on its way to the NCAA championship.

"I think the committee will agree that these two teams should not have to be in the same region," Blair said of the upcoming NCAA tournament. "Last year, it worked to our advantage. This year, I would rather go see [Sydney] Colson in Poland than go to Baylor's region again."

Colson, who is playing professionally overseas, was the Aggies' high-energy, big-personality point guard last season. That job has been more by committee this season, with freshman Alexia Standish and junior Adrienne Pratcher filling the role a lot, along with combo guard Sydney Carter.

In Friday's 79-66 victory over No. 2 seed Oklahoma in the Big 12 tournament semifinals, No. 3 seed Texas A&M also got a lift from another guard, senior Skylar Collins. She had 15 points as one of four Aggies who scored in double figures, led by Kelsey Bone with 16.

Bone and the Aggies will have their hands full Saturday (tipoff is noon ET) with Baylor's Brittney Griner, who scored 45 points in the Lady Bears' semifinal win over Kansas State. But Bone, who played her freshman season at South Carolina and sat out as a transfer last season, said Saturday's matchup should not be viewed as a one-on-one battle of premier centers. Texas A&M will use all its depth at center/forward -- including Bone, Adaora Elonu, Karla Gilbert, Kelsey Assarian and Kristi Bellock -- to counter Griner.

"They are a great defensive team, and Brittney doesn't just control the paint. She controls the whole floor," Bone said. "Everybody on our team has to do their job against them."

Griner and Bone are both from Houston, but didn't face off until they were in high school, when they played twice. Bone played much more often in her prep/AAU days against two other post stars from the Houston area: Nneka and Chiney Ogwumike, who on Friday led Stanford into Saturday's Pac-12 final.

"I still remember the first time Brittney and I played against each other, because it wasn't that long ago," Bone said. "There's a lot of hype that surrounds the two of us when we go against each other. But it really doesn't come down to us when we play each other at this level. In high school, it kind of did.

"But at this level, it comes down to the whole cast of players. Brittney is going to get her points. We have to contain Odyssey [Sims] a little more, Destiny [Williams]. If we can do that, we stand a chance. Brittney and I are going to battle, but it will be decided by the entire team that's the best on that day we meet."

That said, Bone acknowledges that it's neat to have this kind of marquee matchup with Griner.

"That's what you play for," Bone said. "I've been playing since I was 10, and growing up, I always saw UConn and Tennessee. There are other rivalries now. And for Brittney and I both to be playing for Texas schools and representing Houston -- that's fun. It's good for the game."

Texas A&M's Adaora Elonu talks about the Aggies playing in their fifth consecutive Big 12 title game.

Stanford's Nneka and Chiney Ogwumike are at it again! Their latest song has hit the air/video waves just days before Selection Monday. Check it out (video courtesy of Cardinal Channel):

For more on Stanford women's basketball, check out espnW's Total Access series by Michelle Smith.

Baylor coach Kim Mulkey talks about the differences between Thursday's runaway72-48 victory over Texas Tech and the two previous games the teams played this season that were close.

Odyssey Sims talks about how well prepared Baylor was to face Texas Tech in the Big 12 quarterfinals on Thursday.

Texas A&M senior guard Sydney Carter talks about the Aggies' Big 12 tournament-opening victory over Kansas and how she has helped tutor freshman Alexia Standish, who had 25 points versus the Jayhawks.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- There was a lot of familiarity in how Thursday's Big 12 tournament quarterfinals played out. The three teams who've all been to the Final Four in the past two seasons -- Baylor, Oklahoma and 2011 national champ Texas A&M -- advanced to Friday's semifinals, where they'll be joined by Kansas State.

Meanwhile Kansas, which hasn't been to the NCAA tournament since 2000, is left to sweat it out until Selection Monday with a glimmer of hope at 19-12.

We've been here before, right? Oh, yeah. This is my 16th Big 12 tournament, and the narrative of the past several years hasn't changed that much. What's different, though, is now there are just 10 teams, two of whom are departing after this season.

Texas A&M and Missouri will head to the SEC, and the Tigers have officially played their last game as a Big 12 team. They gave Oklahoma a scare for a little more than a half, but the Sooners rallied for a 70-59 victory. The No. 10 seed Tigers' season ends at 13-18, and so concludes an era.

Missouri was a successful team in the old Big Eight, winning the league tournament title four times. But in the Big 12 era, which began in 1996-97, the Tigers never even made it to the league tourney final. Now they will try their luck in the SEC. It's going to be quite a challenge.

No. 2 seed Oklahoma, meanwhile, bounced back from a very surprising home loss to Kansas to end the regular season. Next up for the Sooners is Texas A&M, which also lost its regular-season finale. The Aggies fell at Texas -- "It hurt my soul to lose to them twice this year," said Texas A&M senior guard Sydney Carter -- and came into this tournament looking to find their championship selves.

They encountered a Kansas team that really needed a win for its NCAA hopes, but didn't get it. The Aggies pulled away down the stretch, 78-63. Texas A&M did it without senior Tyra White, who's dealing with a foot injury. She had started all but two games in the past three seasons, and Texas A&M coach Gary Blair dreaded playing without her.

"It killed me; I was in a horrible mood," Blair said. "[But] somehow, I believed in our kids. We had great guard play today."

Indeed they did, as freshman guard Alexia Standish scored a team-high 25 points and Carter added 18 points, seven rebounds and eight assists (with no turnovers). Center Kelsey Bone had 16 points and forward Adaora Elonu 13. That's what Blair always wants to see from the Aggies: four players in double figures.

Will they be able to do that against Oklahoma, especially if White is still unable to play? The Aggies split their regular-season meetings with the Sooners, winning 75-58 at home in January, and losing 64-55 in Oklahoma in February.

Texas A&M will be trying to make its fifth consecutive Big 12 final, having won the title in 2008 and '10, and finishing runner-up in 2009 and last year. Both those championship-game losses were to Baylor, which is trying to win its fourth Big 12 tournament title.

Baylor, the undefeated No. 1 seed, pounded No. 9 seed Texas Tech 72-48 Thursday, preventing the game from being anything like the two close contests between the two teams during the regular season.

Friday, the Lady Bears face No. 5 seed Kansas State, which topped No. 4 Iowa State 67-63 in Thursday's best game at Municipal Auditorium. Jalana Childs set a K-State school record for a Big 12 tournament game with 31 points. She also had 10 rebounds. She and the Wildcats will need all that and then some against Baylor, which beat K-State 76-41 and 70-41 in their two meetings this season.

Texas Tech coach Kristy Curry talks about what it took to beat Texas, and why the Lady Raiders have played Baylor well in their two previous meetings his season.

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