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NCAA 1st Round Preview: #15 Hampton
Durham Pod: LSU and Hartford Capsules
NCAA Preview: ACC Teams
By Rob Clough
March 18, 2010

Looking at the Five Other ACC Teams in the Big Dance

Here's a quick rundown on the ACC teams other than Duke in the 2010 NCAA tournament, including seeding, region, and overall chances.

Jacinta Monroe
FSU needs a healthy Jacinta Monroe for a deep run.

Florida State

Seeding: #3 Dayton
First Round Matchup: Hosting Louisiana Tech in Tallahassee

Overall Chances: That will come down to the health of Jacinta Monroe. Assuming she's close to full strength, the Seminoles have a chance at a deep NCAA tourney run. Their combination of strong post defense, offensive versatility, three point shooting and experienced point guard play makes them a team that can adjust to a number of different styles. Their depth helps proof them against foul trouble and fatigue. FSU on occasion can get a little shaky mentally, especially when teams press them heavily.

I don't expect them to have much trouble in the first two rounds, given that they're hosting. Louisiana Tech is a good team that just barely won their conference tournament. Neither St John's nor Princeton has enough firepower or balance to beat FSU at home. After that, FSU will be hard-pressed to beat Ohio State in Dayton. Monroe and point guard Courtney Ward would have to be at the absolute top of their games to make that happen. If they can clear that hurdle, then UConn will likely await them. FSU gave them a bit of a challenge earlier in the year, but I don't see them knocking off the Huskies now.

Georgia Tech

Seeding: #6 Kansas City
First Round Matchup: vs. Arkansas Little-Rock in Norman, OK

Alex Montgomery shoots over Duke's Allison Vernerey
Will Alex Montgomery (right) step up for Tech?
Overall Chances: Georgia Tech is a grind-it-out team that will be competing in a grind-it-out tournament. Their physical style and pressing defense will be very difficult for many opponents to prepare for. Brigitte Ardossi is a tough, unique player who is hard to defend and scout. The real key for the Jackets will be Alex Montgomery; if she can provide a perimeter presence for her team, Tech will be in a position where they have enough offense to ride out their first round game. The Jackets will have to be careful that their physical style doesn't earn them a number of quick fouls.

Tech will be up against a fine ALR team that came within 2 points of winning their conference tournament after going 17-1 in the regular season and 26-6 overall. The Jackets will be looking to shut down 6-1 forward Chastity Reed, who averaged 25 ppg on the season. Still, ALR doesn't have a lot of size nor a ton of scoring punch other than their top three, so Tech is in great shape against them. As long as they can contain Reed, I expect Ardossi and center Sasha Goodlett to clean up inside. If the Jackets can somehow beat Oklahoma on their home floor (very doubtful), they actually have a chance to go pretty far. Notre Dame is a solid team, but not one that necessarily matches up well with Georgia Tech. If Alex Montgomery is playing at her full potential and they get a little support from the other guards, then Georgia Tech has a shot at being a tournament dark horse.


Seeding: #5 Dayton
First Round Matchup: vs. Wisconsin-Green Bay in Ames, IA

Monica Wright
Monica Wright is a superstar but Virginia can't succeed as a "one woman team."
Overall Chances: Virginia is always tough to predict because you never know how the frosh and sophs are going to play on any given night. Senior star wing Monica Wright gives the Hoos a puncher's chance against any opponent, however. Teams will be looking to load up on her: double-teams, face-guarding, whatever it takes to prevent her from going crazy. When Wright gets into rhythm with her jump shot, there's simply no stopping her short of taking the ball out of her hands. Wright's defense will also be a shock to a number of opponents, and I expect her to generate a lot of offense through her defense.

The Phoenix of Wisconsin Green-Bay will be an enormously challenging first round opponent. They began the year at 16-0 (knocking off the likes of DePaul, Wisconsin, Marquette and Northern Iowa) and finished at 27-4 before losing in their conference tournament. The Phoenix have tremendous balance on offense and discipline on defense, and will likely make Wright work for everything. If the Hoos make it past that hurdle, they will likely face Iowa State on its home court. Having defeated Baylor and Oklahoma on this floor, they will certainly be ready for Virginia. If Wright scores 40+ points and gets her team past that challenge, Virginia will be rewarded with a game against UConn. That will certainly be where their season ends. Simply getting to the Sweet Sixteen would be a great achievement for this team.

NC State

Seeding: #9 Kansas City
First Round Matchup: vs. UCLA in Minneapolis

Marissa Kastanek
NC State and freshman Marissa Kastanek (23) hope to build on their ACC Tournament success.
Overall Chances: State is the classic scrappy, overachieving team. They may well have one more win left in them this season against a team that matches up poorly with their all-perimeter attack. Honestly, this is all gravy for a bridge team making it back to the NCAA tournament in coach Kellie Harper's first season. Snagging a win would simply make this remarkable season just a little sweeter. UCLA was a very distant second-best team in a down PAC-10, playing well down the stretch to earn an at-large bid. They had some solid wins but nothing out of the ordinary, and State actually played a better overall schedule. NC State already went on the road and beat USC, who beat UCLA once, so they have a solid shot at the Bruins on a neutral floor. UCLA doesn't have a lot of size and gets by on tough wing players and multiple players who can score. In other words, these are two very evenly matched teams, and a good shooting game by the Wolfpack could vault them into a second-round matchup with Nebraska. The Huskers have been tough all year, but they will be playing a neutral court. I don't think State has the guns to beat them, but they will certainly fight them to the end.


Cetera DeGraffenreid
Cetera DeGraffenreid will need to fill it up for the Heels to keep up with Gonzaga.
Seeding: #10 Sacramento
First Round Matchup: vs. Gonzaga in Seattle

Overall Chances: When the Heels are motivated and on the same page, they are a formidable opponent. They could be a nightmarish second round opponent for a high seed--that is, if they can get by the first round. UNC's team speed will be a shock to the system for many teams, as will their size and depth. A smart opponent will exploit their lack of cohesion at both ends as well as their parade of turnovers, but that will take a great deal of focus and will. Gonzaga is a disciplined team that loves to run and play in the open floor as much as the Heels. The Zags average 80 ppg and have four double-digit scorers. UNC will need to rely on its size to cut off Gonzaga's penetration and keep them off the foul line.

Given that this game is in Seattle, the Heels will also be going up against a hostile crowd. The Zags have won 18 games in a row after a close loss to Texas A&M. The Aggies would likely be UNC's second-round foe if they beat Gonzaga, and they are a physical group that would try to manhandle the young Heels. If the talented but flaky Heels won that game, they'd likely face either Xavier and its twin towers or a disciplined Vandy club. UNC has the talent to go as far as they want, but they have to be able to put together 40 good minutes if they want to beat anyone.

NCAA 1st Round Preview: #15 Hampton
Durham Pod: LSU and Hartford Capsules

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