Louisville snatched the final No. 1 seed in the NCAA women’s basketball tournament bracket, but it was No. 2 seed Baylor that most scribbled in to advance.
That doesn’t faze Hailey Van Lith.
“We don’t need the people picking the brackets,” the sophomore point guard told reporters on Friday. “We don’t need Barack Obama’s bracket, we don’t need Jimmy Fallon. We don’t need none of that, OK?”
No. 1-seeded Louisville will play in its fifth consecutive Sweet 16 when it faces No. 4-seed Tennessee in the Wichita region on Saturday (4 pm ET on ESPN2). That’s already busted the bracket of NBC late-night host Fallon. Two more wins to reach the Final Four will bust the former president’s bracket and that of many who filled one out this month.
“I mean, we’re kind of like the Bad News Bears,” Van Lith said. “We upset everyone’s bracket, we piss people off that we’re good. Everyone gets mad when we beat teams. You learn to love that about it. It’s unfortunate that it has to be that way.
“We got our fans back home, and that’s all we care about. We are going to ride or die for them, they’re going to ride or die for us. That is all we need.”
Celebrity brackets omit Louisville
No. 1 Louisville (27-4) lost in the ACC tournament quarterfinals to Miami on a buzzer-beater, putting its No. 1 seed in jeopardy if Baylor could pull out another Big 12 championship. That didn’t happen, but they were put in the same region by being the No. 4 and 5 overall ranked teams by the selection committee. And many thing Baylor to come out of it.
“It’s still one of these where our kids follow what’s going on,” Louisville head coach Jeff Walz told reporters. “When the draw came out, the bracket came out, everybody picked Baylor to advance on, which is good. That’s kind of the way our kids like it.”
Fallon put down a massive upset of No. 9-seed Gonzaga over Louisville in the second round. Louisville was the only No. 1 seed not in his Final Four with Gonzaga replacing the Cardinals. He’s also been called out for his men’s bracket.
Obama went nearly straight chalk for the Elite Eight with the exception of No. 3 Iowa State. His Final Four is No. 1 South Carolina, No. 1 Stanford, No. 2 UConn and No. 2 Baylor.
They were mentioned by name by Van Lith, but they’re far from the only ones. Candace Parker put in Baylor as did Sydney Colson (who also put “Conntucky” as the winner of Kentucky-UConn in her bracket).
No. 10-seeded South Dakota upset Baylor in convincing fashion in the second round last weekend to miss its first Sweet 16 in more than a decade.
Louisville, ACC roll into Sweet 16 field
Louisville is one of four ACC teams in the Sweet 16 that begins Friday. The Big 12 has four teams in the field, while the SEC and Big 12 have two each.
“For some reason, at the beginning of the year, our league’s not given the credit that it deserves,” Walz said. “Even with Top 25 polls, I’m a Top 25 voter, if you don’t start off in the Top 25, it’s hard to get up into it sometimes.”
Louisville cruised by No. 16 Albany, 83-51, in the first round and No. 9 Gonzaga, 68-59, in the second round. Van Lith is shooting 50% both overall and from 3-point range for a total of 42 points over the two games. The Cardinals rank 20th in offensive rating (104.3) and hit on average 45.8% of their shots (eighth). Defensively, they rank eighth and allow 55 points per game.
In the other ACC action, No. 1-seed NC State will face No. 5-seed Notre Dame in Bridgeport. And No. 5-seed North Carolina will have to play No. 1 overall seed South Carolina.