LINDA WERTHEIMER, host:
With all the talk of the NCAA Tournament and basketball's big dance, there are actually two college tournament's going on during March Madness - men's and women's. The women's bracket was announced last night and Christine Brennan of USA Today is here to talk about it.
So, Christine, one word, UConn, the Huskies are on a 72-game winning streak. Who do they play, what do their prospects look like as they start their big run to the second consecutive title?
Ms. CHRISTINE BRENNAN (Reporter, USA Today): Well, Linda, this - you could call this UConn Invitational, as opposed to the NCAA Tournament, I'm afraid, although it's great for UConn.
Number one ranked, of course. They got a number one seed. They play Southern from Louisiana out of the Southwestern Athletic Conference. Southern has lost eight games this year. I don't think UConn has lost eight games in this century. Well, they have. But later on UConn could face Ohio State or Florida State. Ohio State out of the Big 10, Florida State out of the ACC, to try to get to the Final Four.
But I'll tell you, they're trying to do something that no team has ever done in women's basketball, and that is have two consecutive undefeated seasons. And the last time that happened in the men's game was UCLA back in the early '70s. So this is quite a run for Connecticut.
WERTHEIMER: Yesterday, NPR's Mike Pesca said that the UConn women have not come close to losing this year. So how good is UConn?
Ms. BRENNAN: They are excellent. They may well be the best women's basketball team we have ever seen. I say that because ostensibly this is a time of great talent and great dominance in women's sports. You would hope that every women's sport is getting better day by day.
And so if that's the case - and I'm not sure if it is - but if that's the case, then UConn being so good, they have not been tested. They have not had any team bet within single digits of them in this streak, which goes almost, now, two full seasons.
When you think about it, Stanford's the number two team in the country. And they lead UConn by two points at halftime in a game in December, regular season game, ended up losing by 12 points. And Stanford's the second best team in the country and couldn't even get within 12 points.
So I think that's what you're dealing with at this point. But we'll see. That's, of course, why they play the game.
WERTHEIMER: Are they too good?
Ms. BRENNAN: It's a good question. I asked this in a column the other day. You know, when you consider that there are hundreds of thousands of girls in this country playing basketball - girls and women playing this sport - and Title 9 has now been working its magic for nearly 40 years.
How is it possible that there's only one team in college basketball, women's college hoops, that can be this good? That no one out of the 331 - there are 331 other Division I schools playing women's basketball - and not a one of them can get within 10 points or 12 points of UConn.
So I guess the question is - dominance is great, we care about dynasties, but on the other hand, does this render almost everyone's bracket kind of, well, you know, who cares, because we know UConn's going to win. As I said, you know, we never know. But I do think that is the question. And women's basketball is dealing with that right now - the good and potentially the bad, of UConn.
WERTHEIMER: Does anybody give them a game? Who would it be?
Ms. BRENNAN: Well, I think you're looking you're looking at the top four seeds. And we haven't mentioned the others. Stanford, of course, is one of them. And Nebraska, which was undefeated until they lost in their conference tournament just the other day to Texas A&M - another name to watch. Texas A&M on a streak.
But I would say then, the old standby, Linda, is Tennessee. Tennessee, of course, has won eight national titles. Pat Summitt going against Geno Auriemma of UConn. If that happens, Tennessee and UConn would face each other in one of the semifinal games. That's how the brackets stack up. So you might see UConn and Tennessee. And Tennessee has not played UConn during this streak. That's interesting to watch as well.
WERTHEIMER: Christine Brennan of USA Today, thanks very much.
Ms. BRENNAN: Thank you.
(Soundbite of music)
This is NPR News.
NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.