It's going to be a long season here at Spokane women's basketball central because there are four rounds, two weekends of the NCAA Tournament in Spokane.
The first weekend includes Gonzaga as a host site and if all goes well the Bulldogs should be playing there.
The second weekend marks the third time the regional has come to the Arena with Washington State as the host. You might remember the first two, when the Huskies won their first game but were denied a trip to the Final Four by Jackie Stiles; and when Stanford and Maryland put on one of the great games ever in the Arena, men or women.
So read on. (And to prepare for the 8 p.m. Tuesday Gonzaga men's game, settle in early to watch No. 1 UConn and No. 2 Baylor battle in the first women's basketball marquee game of the season.)
The games at The Kennel will resemble the ones Gonzaga played in at UW the last two years. Because the women's tournament has 16 first-round sites to the men's eight, we only get 3 games and they have to be compatable for one bracket, not two.
So, the seeds for GU will be 1-16 & 8-9 or 2-15 & 7-10; or 3-14 & 6-11; or 4-13 & 5-12. Most likely you're going to see the 4-5-12-13. Not going to be too many happy single diget seeds getting sent to Spokane if Gonzaga is a home double-digit seed.
The second thing to remember is that the survivor from Spokane/Gonzaga/Kennel doesn't have to get funneled into the Spokane regional. That winner could just as easily get shipped to Dallas, Dayton or Philadelphia.
However, if all goes to form, in theory a 1-2-3-4 seed would arrive here. The likely big name would be Stanford as a 1 seed. But I just got off the phone with Stanford coach Tara Vanderveer and that has nothing to do with the Cardinal game at Gonzaga Sunday afternoon. The third-ranked Cardinal is hosting a first weekend series, so they aren't GU bound and obviously they've been up here for the most recent regional and in the area annually to play at Washington State, so it's not like they're strangers.
Now, if you're not confused, or maybe even if you are, look at ESPN.com women's bracketologist Charlie Creme's first projects for Gonzaga and the Arena.
Questions, suggestions or projections, let us know. We can cover a lot of ground in the next four months.