Commentary

What will happen in the '09 tournament?

Originally Published: January 2, 2009
By Mechelle Voepel | Special to ESPN.com

OK, if we actually take Bracketology at this time of the year seriously … then here is exactly how the women's NCAA tournament will unfold. Well, at least the part about UConn winning the title, that is.

[+] EnlargeBucky Badger
David Stluka/Getty ImagesWatch out, Pat Summitt. Bucky Badger just might have a raccoon costume in his locker.

First-round highlights:

UConn vs. Harvard: Coach Geno Auriemma goes into paranoid mode after UConn beat writers jokingly remind him of the Crimson's famous upset of No. 1 Stanford in 1998's NCAA first round. Auriemma orders assistant Chris Dailey to plot a Watergate-like break-in of Harvard coach Kathy Delaney-Smith's hotel room to find her scouting report on the Huskies. Instead, Dailey puts him in a straitjacket until game time. Auriemma sweats profusely throughout as UConn wins by 68 points.

Stanford vs. Cal Poly: To promote the academic luminosity of these universities, the NCAA sponsors a MacGyver-type contest to accompany the basketball game. Students from the schools compete to build the most "interesting" thing out of what they find in random dumpsters near the arena. Stanford wins the game, but Cal Poly wins the contest. The NCAA regrets involvement after officials from the FBI, CIA, NASA and the Department of Homeland Security arrive at the scene.

Rutgers vs. Richmond: The Scarlet Knights win 18-15 in the lowest-scoring game in NCAA tournament history. Reporters lament that the Spiders' 3-pointer at the buzzer kept this stinker from being called the "War of 18-12." Rutgers coach C. Vivian Stringer says she's still not pleased with her team's defense.

Georgia Tech vs. Wisconsin-Green Bay: Since his Michigan team didn't make the field, coach Kevin Borseth comes to watch his old team, the Phoenix. After UW-Green Bay's upset attempt is thwarted, Borseth crashes the news conference and reprises his February 2008 meltdown, this time tossing his shoes in frustration about his ex-team giving up too many offensive rebounds. Some reporters duck as well as President Bush did, some don't.

Second-round highlights

Kim Mulkey-Robertson
AP Photo/Ed ReinkeSome fans thought Kim Mulkey's outfit in the 2005 NCAA title game was reminiscent of La. Tech's blue. Imagine what they'd say about faux snakeskin pants.

Kansas State vs. Maryland: Wildcat guard Shalee Lehning's octuple-double (12 points, 15 rebounds, 13 assists, 11 steals, 10 charges drawn, 14 floor burns, 78 hand claps, 16 autographs signed during game) is not enough to stop the Terps, who get "just" a triple-double from Kristi Toliver.

Ohio State vs. Florida: The Buckeyes make it out of the second round, resulting in coach Jim Foster tearing his ACL after attempting a series of cartwheels.

Wisconsin vs. Tennessee: In an effort to distract coach Pat Summitt, Bucky Badger dresses instead like a raccoon. Summitt again dislocates her shoulder while taking a swing at him. Candace Parker comes out of the stands to help Summitt pop her shoulder back in, and the Orange Crush cruise to their 28th consecutive Sweet 16.

Duke vs. South Dakota State: Ignoring the Michigan State fans waving signed contracts and dressed as airport police officers, Duke coach Joanne P. McCallie blows kisses to the crowd at East Lansing, Mich., before and after the Blue Devils' victory.

Sweet 16 highlights

Cal vs. Duke: In a pregame session with media, Bears coach Joanne Boyle says she has not thought "even once in the last minute and a half" about turning down the Duke job in 2007. After her Cal team blows its second 26-point lead of the season and falls to the Blue Devils, a distraught Boyle says she might become a nun like former tennis star Andrea Jaeger.

UConn vs. Maryland: Auriemma falls for an early April fool's gag that Elena Delle Donne is transferring to play hoops for the Terps; he inspires his Huskies to win by 25.

Stanford vs. Tennessee: The Cardinal faithful say, "Crap. Here we go again."

North Carolina vs. Ohio State: Buckeyes players spend too much time looking over in puzzlement at the huge gold shoulder patches on Sylvia Hatchell's jacket. Meanwhile, the Tar Heels don't pay any attention to their coach and win by 12.

Elite Eight highlights

[+] EnlargeGeno Auriemma
Elsa/Getty ImagesGeno Auriemma, who last won an NCAA title in 2004, just might be months away from making a big addition to UConn's trophy case.

UConn vs. Baylor: Both Auriemma and Kim Mulkey show up on the sidelines in faux snakeskin pants. Auriemma changes to a kilt at halftime and affects a Scottish accent throughout the postgame news conference. Huskies players say, "Coach is a little stressed. We don't ask."

Texas vs. Tennessee: Summitt has her team watch tape of Tennessee's 1999 East Regional final loss to Duke. The Longhorns pay the price for coach Gail Goestenkors' past transgression of stopping the four-peat attempt.

Virginia vs. Duke: The Cavaliers, fresh off an upset of Texas A&M, get 56 points from Monica Wright in a 58-57 loss to the Blue Devils.

North Carolina vs. Auburn: The Tar Heels win to set up a St. Louis showdown with archrival Duke. Hatchell says, "I can't imagine the Final Four could have a higher-profile matchup."

Final Four highlights

UConn vs. Tennessee: Complete. Total. Hysteria.

Duke vs. North Carolina: The other game that night.

UConn vs. North Carolina: Huskies force 42 Tar Heels turnovers, finish a perfect season and win the program's sixth NCAA title. In the postgame media swarm, Auriemma says he has arranged to coach at UConn "until the very last day of my life." Tennessee soon sends out a press release announcing Summitt has been given a contract extension to continue coaching the team in the afterlife.

Mechelle Voepel is a regular contributor to ESPN.com. She can be reached at mvoepel123@yahoo.com.

Mechelle Voepel joined ESPN.com in 1996 and covers women's college hoops, the WNBA, the LPGA, and additional collegiate sports for espnW.