Filed by Darren Epps
DAYTON, Ohio -- I've got a feeling my tour of Ohio will continue into next week. And I'll actually go to a major city with giant buildings and everything.
I've been to Columbus, Bluffton and Dayton already, and I'll go ahead and predict that Cleveland will join the list.
Entering the tournament, I thought those three pesky ACC schools -- Duke, Maryland and North Carolina -- could bounce the Lady Vols. I even predicted a Tennessee loss to Maryland in the Dayton Regional final. The matchups against teams with that kind of athleticism just aren't good. Maryland beat the Lady Vols last year, and North Carolina and Duke cruised against them this season.
Here's the good news for Tennessee: Two of those teams are gone. Ole Miss ousted Maryland, which I believe gives Tennessee a tremendous shot at advancing to the Final Four. Duke, a potential matchup for the national title game, is gone. That should open up the bracket for Connecticut to make a championship game appearance.
And North Carolina, which would play Tennessee in the Final Four, didn't look good at all against Notre Dame in Pittsburgh. Some think those girls are tiring from playing at such a frenetic pace all the time. So even with all the upsets rocking this tournament and all the unfamiliar teams playing well, I'll just say it -- the championship game could be a very familiar matchup.
Tennessee vs. Connecticut.
E-mail Darren Epps at firstname.lastname@example.org