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In NCAA Women's Bracket, UConn Is Easily The Top Seed


The 64-team field is set for the women's Division I college basketball tournament, or maybe we should say 63 teams and UConn. The University of Connecticut Huskies are the two-time defending national champions. Last night, the selection committee made them the top overall seed in this year's tournament, which starts on Friday. NPR's Tom Goldman is asking if every other team is really just playing for second.

TOM GOLDMAN, BYLINE: ESPN's hour-long selection show last night was filled with entertaining shots of euphoric teams learning they're in the tournament, discussions about which lower seeds could make a deep run. Keep an eye on Iowa and Oregon State. But it was all prelude to one inescapable question from co-host Kara Lawson.


KARA LAWSON: Can anybody beat UConn?


UNIDENTIFIED ANNOUNCER: Connecticut never got one in the air and Stanford has won it in overtime.

GOLDMAN: Stanford beat UConn last November in the second game of the season, which seemed to enrage the Huskies. Since then, they've won 31 straight by an average of 43 points. And yet former UConn beat reporter Jeff Goldberg is saying there's a chance.

JEFF GOLDBERG: Connecticut may at times look like they're perfect, but they're not perfect.

GOLDMAN: And Goldberg knows perfect. When he started reporting on the Huskies for the Hartford Courant in the early 2000s, they won the first 70 games he covered. But he says he saw them lose when they weren't supposed to. It'll take a lot for that to happen during this tournament, an injury or foul trouble involving a key player or, says Goldberg, an opponent that believes - like one of the tournament's other number-one seeds, South Carolina, which lost to UConn by 25 last month.

GOLDBERG: You now know what it takes to beat a team like UConn. And South Carolina gets another shot at them, I wouldn't count them out.

GOLDMAN: Despite UConn's dominance, Goldberg says there still are plenty of reasons to watch the tournament, including potential drama between two bitter rivals - UConn and Tennessee. They chose not to play each other for the past eight years, but they could meet in the final four if Tennessee, a number-two seed, makes it that far. UConn almost certainly will be there waiting. Tom Goldman, NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.