Vandy women get #8 seed in NCAA

The Vanderbilt women didn't have to wait long for their invitation to the Big Dance. Less than five minutes into the Selection Show, the Commodores learned that they're a #8 seed facing #9 seed Louisville in the first round on Saturday in Memorial Gym. A win would set up a likely rematch with the top-seeded North Carolina Tar Heels on Monday.

"We knew we could be anywhere from a 6 to an 8 seed," said Vanderbilt Head Coach Melanie Balcomb after learning about her team's placement in the bracket.

"I think the big thing have to focus on is your match-up, who you're going to play, In a tournament like this, it doesn't matter what your seed is. You have to play all great teams. You can't focus on that. You have to focus on what you can control and that's getting prepared for your game."

In that first game, the Commodores will face a familiar opponent. In Balcomb's four seasons at Vanderbilt, her teams have played Louisville twice. In her first season, the Cardinals beat the Dores 92-82 in Freedom Hall. The following year, Vanderbilt got revenge with a 73-68 victory in overtime in the Vanderbilt Thanksgiving Tournament.

The Louisville-Vanderbilt game will be the nightcap of a day of hoops action at Memorial. Under the NCAA's "pod" system, Nashville is one of eight sites hosting first and second round games. Each site features two subregionals of four teams each.

During the day, four teams from the San Antonio region take the court. At 11 a.m., #8-seeded Minnesota meets #9-seeded Washington. Afterwards, at approximately 1:30 p.m. #1-seeded LSU plays #16-seeded Florida Atlantic.

The evening sessions features four teams from the Cleveland region. First on the docket will be #1-seeded North Carolina versus #16-seeded Florida Atlantic at 7 p.m. Following that game, the Commodores meet Louisville at approximately 9:30 p.m.

A Vanderbilt victory over Louisville coupled with a North Carolina victory would set up a rematch of the December 22 game between the Tar Heels and the Dores. In that game, UNC jumped out to a big first half lead and ended up winning 87-67.

The fact that the teams met earlier in the season gives the Commodores the luxury of focusing exclusively on their first game of the tournament against the Cardinals.

"It's a positive in that we've already played them," Balcomb said. "We've got a scouting report, and we already have a tape. So we're just going to focus on Louisville."

With two #1-seeds in town this weekend, Nashville is in a unique position among the host sites.

"There's going to be great basketball here, and I would really love for people to come out and really appreciate the women's game for what it is," said Balcomb, "and they're going to have a great example of some great teams at the highest level in our sport."

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