How far they've come.
Nebraska became just the second team to earn a No. 1 seed the year after not making the NCAA tournament when its 30-1 record landed it the top spot in the Kansas City Regional.
"To put Nebraska on the map in the women's basketball world with teams like UConn -- never would you imagine little old Nebraska would be up there," senior forward Cory Montgomery said Monday night to the local media gathered in Lincoln.
The Huskers will stay relatively close to home, opening play in Minneapolis against Northern Iowa, before a likely meeting with the winner of an intriguing UCLA-North Carolina State matchup.
This whole season has been new territory for Nebraska but the pressure really gets intense now. The Huskers withstood an unbeaten run through the Big 12 regular season and set a conference record with 30 straight wins before they lost to Texas A&M in the conference tournament semifinals Saturday.
Notre Dame is the No. 2 seed in this region, the Irish, perhaps, underrated as a Final Four contender because of their decisive losses to UConn earlier this season.
Maryland, USC, Syracuse Among Those On Outside Looking in
But the Irish, who have been in 15 straight NCAA tournaments, have a 7-5 record against Top 50 (RPI) opponents and will be playing the first two rounds at home in South Bend.
"We got the seed we thought we deserved and we are just excited to play at home," Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw told local media after the brackets were revealed. The Irish open play against Cleveland State on Sunday.
Oklahoma is a dangerous No. 3 seed here, a team with Final Four experience, a host bid for the first two rounds and momentum after a run to the title game in the Big 12 Tournament.
"I love the fact that we are staying in the Midwest," Oklahoma coach Sherri Coale said after the selection Monday. "I like that if we play well enough to win two at the Lloyd Noble Center, we can go to Kansas City."
Regional Final Site: Sprint Center, Kansas City, Missouri.
The Winner: Nebraska. The Huskers are coming off the semifinal loss in the Big 12 Tournament to Texas A&M -- their only loss of the year to drop the Huskers to 30-1 on the season. But that loss didn't cost Nebraska its No. 1 seed, and it might be a timely rallying point for Kelsey Griffin (above right) and company.
Bracket Buster: Oklahoma. Last year, the Sooners were a Final Four team. But the Paris twins are long gone. Whitney Hand is out for the season with an ACL injury and still Sherri Coale's team has succeeded. Danielle Robinson is the engine, a dynamic point guard and a top-notch floor leader and Amanda Thompson has become a standout forward. It doesn't hurt that the Sooners are hosting two games at home in Norman.
Ripe for the Taking: Georgia Tech. The Yellow Jackets earned their fourth straight NCAA bid and the highest seed in program history at a No. 6. But this team struggled late in the season in the ACC schedule, falling in four of its last seven games, including losses against Florida State, Duke (twice) and North Carolina State. In a down year for the ACC, Georgia Tech's best win was a 64-57 win over North Carolina on Feb. 26.
The Matchup to Watch: UCLA vs. North Carolina State, first round. This will be the Pat Summitt Alumni Classic, pitting former Tennessee players Nikki Caldwell and Kellie Jolly Harper, two of the up-and-coming coaches in the game. Caldwell has taken UCLA to the tournament in her second season. Harper, who had the unenviable task of following the legendary Kay Yow, has returned the Wolfpack to national prominence.
The Player to Watch: Griffin, Nebraska. For all she's done for the Huskers this season, it's hard not to root for the Alaska native, who has endured a series of injuries and personal setbacks to become the feel-good story of the season. The fifth-year senior must avoid the foul trouble that cost her team so dearly in the Big 12 semifinal against Texas A&M, but when she's on the floor, Griffin gives Nebraska a chance to go a long, long way.
Bracket Notes: UCLA was the No. 2 team selected out of the Pac-10, which got only two teams in the tournament field for the first time since 2001-2002 ... Liberty has won 13 conference titles in 14 years ... Vermont upset Hartford to win the America East tournament title ... Northern Iowa is one of the five teams making its first tournament appearance.