Now or never for UConn

Connecticut's four seniors have never been to the Final Four. To get there before their college careers end, the Huskies must potentially get past Big East rival Rutgers in the Greensboro Regional.


The No. 1 seeded Huskies (32-1) will open against No. 16 Cornell on Sunday in Bridgeport, Conn.

The other No. 1 seeds are North Carolina, Tennessee and Maryland.

Connecticut, ranked atop the AP poll for 12 of the final 13 weeks, is trying to get to the Final Four for the first time since 2004. The Huskies lost to LSU in the regional final last season.

If the Huskies don't get to the Final Four -- April 6-8 in Tampa, Fla. -- it will be the first Connecticut senior class in 20 years not to have played in at least the national semifinals.

No. 2 seed Rutgers handed Connecticut its lone loss during the season, beating the Huskies on Feb. 5 in a Big East matchup. Rutgers lost in the national championship game last season to Tennessee.

Defending champion Tennessee is the top seed in the Oklahoma City Regional. The Lady Vols' bid for back-to-back national championships begins Sunday against Oral Roberts.

North Carolina earned the top seed in the New Orleans Regional. The Tar Heels open on Saturday against No. 16 Bucknell. The Tar Heels ran through the Atlantic Coast Conference undefeated. Their only two losses of the season came against Tennessee and Connecticut.

LSU has reached the Final Four the past four seasons.

Despite losing in the ACC Tournament semifinals to Duke, Maryland is the top seed in the Spokane Regional. The Terrapins will face Coppin State in the first round on Sunday.

"I tell you, we're ecstatic," said Maryland coach Brenda Frese of the No. 1 seed. "We obviously feel like you play the entire season for this moment. The fact that our non-conference schedule really prepared us for now, to play in one of the toughest conferences, to go 30-3.

"I think it's a tribute to our team and to our program, just how hard we worked throughout the course of the entire season."

Frese delivered twin boys in late February, but she is back as the Terrapins seek their second national championship in three seasons.

Stanford is trying to become the first Pac-10 team to make the Final Four in a decade.

"We have a great team, great leaders," Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer said. "We have great players. We're really excited."