[spreadsheet 0AoHsej_RKFvMdENkTThXOThNU1cyNVZUeEhQU0tsYkE 600 1100 ]
1. Washington – NW conferences and regionals are probably going to be less exciting than one might think. With three bids to Boulder, UW and Oregon get almost three full months to peak for Nationals.
2. Iowa State – As good as they looked in the final of Centex, they also blew 5-point leads to Virginia and UBC, and needed a universe-point break to beat UCF in their prequarter. Still, in the junk zone throwdown against Oregon, we believe these girls would come out on top.
3. Michigan – They have finished in top places at tournaments across the whole season, and have had great games against other top teams. Expect to see Flywheel make it far in Boulder, especially since the formatting of Nationals small roster fatigue is less of an issue.
4. Sonoma State – The surprise team of this season has consistently been at the top of competitive tournaments, and get our pick to win the SW Region.
5. Oregon – They’ve had one bad day all year. They’re going to be an unknown to most of the top teams at Nationals, which should give them an advantage. They could easily face UW 4 times at conferences/regionals.
6. Cal – A close second in the Southwest – they have the most recent wins against other top SW teams, but their poor performance at Centex indicates they are less likely to take down Sonoma State when it matters.
7. UNC – we’ve seen the impact of what losing Lindsay Lang does to these girls. If she stays healthy and the rest of the strong UNC roster does their thing, the Pleiades should be sitting pretty in Boulder.
8. UCSB – You can see the impact of coaching on teams like UW, Oregon, and Iowa State. UCSB hasn’t shown an ability to make in-game adjustments, leading to getting blown out in big games. However, UCSB has shown the most improvement over the season, and has ended up in the finals of top tournaments twice. Their win over UCLA at Centex clinches their #3 spot in the Southwest.
9. UCLA – BLU has been dancing around the top of the SW all season, but while other teams seem to be improving, UCLA has shown less of that. While Sabrina “Kodiak” Fong is a beast to deal with and Kelly “Sapphire” Wiese can take down anyone in the air, their roster seems to have not developed as much as BLU would have liked. That being said, UCLA is the big unknown at Southwest Regionals – they could either take fourth in the region as we predict, or surprise everyone and take the first spot to Nationals. Here’s hoping we don’t see a repeat of last year, but with 5 bids, I think they’re safe.
10. UBC – They probably have the strongest SOS in they country. Not a lot of big wins, but they’ve played all the top teams close. Their close game against Iowa State at Centex is exceptionally impressive.
16. Stanford – Superfly proved they deserved to be in the Nationals conversation by single-handedly earning themselves a bid at Nationals. The race for that fifth bid will be tough at Regionals, but we expect Stanford to come away with it.
17. Minnesota – This team moves up to our rankings for their wins at Chicago Invite – look for them to make some noise at the North Central Regionals.