The world knows UConn is the favorite. But the Huskies’ edge is less than most might think.
ESPN’s brand-new Basketball Power Index (BPI) for women’s college basketball gives Geno Auriemma’s team a 37 percent chance to win this year’s NCAA tournament,nfl jerseys cheap authentic one year after the Huskies came up short in the Final Four. (You can read a little bit about the methodology behind our model here).
That would be overwhelmingly favorable odds for virtually any other team in any sport but for UConn? In women’s basketball? It’s … just 37 percent?
That’s more than double the next team’s chance to win — Notre Dame at 16 percent — but it probably doesn’t dull the shock value for the many who figure the Huskies hanging another banner this year is essentially a foregone conclusion.
So why is our model, relatively, down on the Huskies?
Mainly: their draw. Though the top overall seed in this year’s field after a thus-far undefeated season earned the Huskies the top rank in Strength of Record, Auriemma’s team somehow managed to land reigning national champion and BPI’s sixth-ranked team South Carolina in its region. While UConn has virtually no chance of losing its first couple of games, its road gets considerably tougher at the Elite Eight stage. The Huskies have “only” a 78 percent chance of beating the Gamecocks, and waiting for them in the Final Four is likely Notre Dame,nike nfl jerseys cheap the second-best team in Division I, per BPI.
Though there’s a solid chance that the Irish and Huskies would have squared off no matter where they were located in the bracket, being on the same side of the Final Four puts the likelihood of them meeting at 42 percent. It would be the fifth time they have met in the national semifinals, with Notre Dame winning three of the previous four meetings.