News With Commentary by TSL Staff
March 11, 2001
Tech Women Seeded 7th in Mideast Regional
The Virginia Tech women's basketball team is seeded seventh in the NCAA Tournament Mideast Regional. Tech will play the 10th-seeded Denver Pioneers Friday in the first round of a four-team sub-regional that will be held in Lubbock, Texas. The host team is 11th-ranked and 2nd-seeded Texas Tech, who will play 15th-seeded Pennsylvania in the first round.
While the Texas destination is a disappointment for local Tech fans who would have preferred a closer venue (such as N. C. State, Duke, or even Tennessee or Vanderbilt), the 7th seed is in line with Tech's RPI rating of 25th.
Denver (24-6, RPI rating of 40) received an at-large bid after finishing second in the Sun Belt Conference Tournament. The Pioneers lost to #6 Louisiana Tech in the tournament championship. They feature All-America candidate and Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year Misa Pavlickova, who averages 17.7 points and 9.6 rebounds a game. It is Denver's first-ever trip to the NCAA Tournament.
The Big East placed five teams in the tournament. Notre Dame and UConn are both #1 seeds, in the Midwest and East Regionals, respectively. Rutgers is a #4 seed in the West, and Villanova is a #5 seed in the East. Villanova finished one spot behind the Hokies in the Big East and lost to Tech twice this year, but the Wildcats have an RPI rating of 14th, which is probably the primary driver behind their 5th seed.
For the Hokies, it is their fifth-ever NCAA bid, and all five have come in the last eight seasons. Tech went to the NCAA's under former coach Carol Alfano in 1994 and 1995, and under current Coach Bonnie Henrickson in 1998, 1999 (Sweet 16), and 2001.
In 1994, the Hokies lost to Auburn in the first round, 60-51. In 1995, they defeated St. Joseph's 62-52 in the opening round and then were hammered by eventual champion UConn 91-45 in the second round. In 1998, the Hokies knocked off #23 Wisconsin 75-64 and were then eliminated by # 12 Florida, 89-57.
In 1999, the Hokies made the tournament's "Sweet 16" by defeating St. Peter's 73-48 Auburn 76-61 in Cassell Coliseum (teams seeded in the top 4 get to host sub-regionals, and Tech was seeded 4th that year). Tech was eliminated in the NCAA East Regional semifinal by #2 Tennessee 68-52.
This will be the first-ever meeting between Tech and Denver. At the time of this writing, Friday's game time was yet to be determined.