Commentary

64 teams we like heading into 2007-08

Updated: November 7, 2007, 10:12 AM ET
By Charlie Creme | Special to ESPN.com

Editor's note: Charlie Creme will project the 2008 NCAA Tournament bracket throughout the season, beginning in December.

It's never too early to take aim at March. Here's your 2008 NCAA Tournament field four and a half months in advance:

CREME'S CROP
RANKING CREME'S COMMENT
1. Connecticut As if Geno Auriemma didn't need anymore motivation. Tennessee's decision to drop the annual meeting between the two powers might have lit an even hotter fire under the Huskies coach.
2. Tennessee It's hard to find fault with a defending national champion with four starters back. But the Lady Vols might want to rebound better than last season -- and finding a consistent perimeter shooter is the big task of November and December.
3. Maryland No one would be surprised if the Terps won an NCAA title for the second time in three years.
4. Oklahoma Opening with Maryland and Tennessee means we'll know a bunch about the Sooners before Thanksgiving. In particular, watch sophomore point guard Jenna Plumley's performance.
5. LSU The Lady Tigers' players demonstrated unbelievable resolve last March -- and now have the leadership to match.
6. Rutgers Is there a team in the country more ready to just get back on the court?
7. Georgia Few programs have been as consistent, but the Lady Bulldogs are still likely relegated to third place in the SEC.
8. Stanford Candice Wiggins has done just about everything except get to a Final Four.
9. North Carolina The Tar Heels without Ivory Latta will take some getting used to.
10. George Washington One of the most experienced teams in the nation, the Colonials will still play most of the season under the national radar.
11. Duke Abby Waner's ability to elevate to the next level will determine if this new era of Blue Devil basketball is a continuation or a transition.
12. Arizona State The Sun Devils are guard-dominated, and with the level of talent on the perimeter, that's a good thing.
13. Texas A&M Franklin, Starks, Atunrase, and Gant give the Aggies more options than anyone in the Big 12.
14. Ohio State With Jessica Davenport gone and Marscilla Parker returning, the Buckeyes will be more outside-in this season.
15. Cal Devanei Hampton and Ashley Walker might be the best interior duo in the country.
16. Louisville Not many players have a wider gap between talent and publicity as Angel McCoughtry.
17. Michigan State If players truly do make the biggest improvements between their freshman and sophomore seasons, then Allyssa DeHaan will scare people this year.
18. Purdue With so much to replace and a difficult early-season schedule, don't give up on the Boilermakers too soon.
19. Texas Even with all of Gail Goestenkors' success at Duke, that Longhorn sideline is going to look strange for a while without Jody Conradt on it.
20. Florida State It won't be able to replace the consistent scoring of Alicia Gladden, but coach Sue Semrau has this program on the rise.
21. Baylor Angela Tisdale's ability to become more of a scorer will determine if the Lady Bears can hang in there with Oklahoma and Texas A&M.
22. NC State Last spring's feel-good story -- coach Kay Yow's battle with cancer -- could very well be this season's most inspiring saga as well.
23. Notre Dame The Irish greatly overachieved last season. They won't have to do that again to reach the NCAA Tournament.
24. Virginia Coach Debbie Ryan goes into the Hall of Fame in 2008, but she'd probably like a return to the NCAA Tournament just as much.
25. West Virginia The Mountaineers have seven seniors and return all five starters from the most successful team in school history. But as 2007-08 begins, all eyes will be on the return of Meg Bulger from two major knee injuries.
26. Pittsburgh Marcedes Walker might well finish this season as the best player in school history.
27. Xavier One returning starter is enough when it's sophomore Amber Harris.
28. Western Kentucky The Lady Toppers should go from last year's WNIT to this month's Preseason WNIT to the 2008 NCAA Tournament.
29. Vanderbilt SEC tournament champs might be a tough honor to repeat, but Vandy should be back in March.
30. Auburn With all five starters back and an entire roster nearly intact, the Tigers should be back in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2004.
31. Old Dominion A 17th consecutive 20-win season shouldn't be a problem.
32. Kentucky New coach Matthew Mitchell hopes his Wildcats can live up the expectations that eluded them last season.
33. Middle Tennessee State It will be hard to top the 30 wins and No. 5 seed of a year ago, but the Blue Raiders should be back in the NCAA Tournament.
34. Illinois New coach Jolette Law inherits a good situation with five starters back and a real shot at the postseason.
35. Wyoming The WNIT championship was great for the program, but it won't be good enough for the MWC favorites in 2008.
36. Iowa State Alison Lacey will be one of the most-watched players in the Big 12 as the replacement for one of the Cyclones' most popular player, Lyndsey Medders.
37. Temple The Owls have lost back-to-back A-10 Players of the Year (Candice Dupree and Kamesha Hairston) the past two seasons, but Lady Comfort and LaKeisha Eaddy should be more than enough to get them back to the NCAA Tournament for the fifth straight season.
38. Mississippi State The Lady Bulldogs might have avoided their fourth straight NCAA Tournament absence had it not been for a late-February collapse.
39. TCU All-American candidate Adrianne Ross hopes to lead the Frogs back to the NCAA Tournament and improve upon last season's first-round loss.
40. Marquette Krystal Ellis is one of the Big East's best players -- and she'll have to be all season with so many new teammates.
41. Oklahoma State The Cowgirls' huge breakthrough last season shouldn't be a surprise this time around.
42. DePaul Much will be asked of senior guard Allie Quigley for the Blue Demons to survive a deep Big East.
43. Wisconsin The Badgers might have the Big Ten's best player in senior Jolene Anderson -- and hope to get back to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2002.
44. Montana The Lady Griz felt robbed by the selection committee last season. They now know they must win the Big Sky tournament because none of the rest matters. Scheduling up a bit more in the nonconference would help that situation.
45. Ball State The Cardinals, led by Julie DeMuth, would like to make a MAC regular-season title stick this time around.
46. Tulane The defending champion Green Wave are the choice in a Conference USA with no clear-cut favorite.
47. Chattanooga The Lady Mocs are once again a heavy favorite to win the Southern Conference. Chattanooga has missed just one NCAA Tournament in the past seven seasons.
48. Hartford With Danielle Hood and Diana Delva back, the Hawks should continue to dominate the America East.
49. San Diego Amanda Rego led the nation in assists and the WCC in steals. Now she would like to lead the Toreros one step beyond last season's WNIT berth.
50. Boise State The Broncos reached the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 13 years and now will look to make it two in a row.
51. Wisconsin-Green Bay Under first-year coach Matt Bollant, the Phoenix win the in-state battle over Wisconsin-Milwaukee for their 10th straight regular-season Horizon League title.
52. Illinois State The Redbirds have the MVC's best player in junior guard Kristi Cirone -- and that will be the difference in a tight race with Drake.
53. Liberty Radford took the Lady Flames out of the Big South tournament last March, and the two should battle for the title this season.
54. Southeast Missouri State Missy Whitney and three more returning starters make the Redhawks a good bet for a third straight trip to March Madness.
55. Marist Last March's Cinderella story should be back for another run at the Sweet Sixteen.
56. UC Riverside Highlander coach John Margaritis has something working at Riverside. His club is the favorite to make its third straight tournament. And with the entire roster returning, building on a school-record 21 victories isn't out of the question.
57. Long Island The Blackbirds were one of many victims of a crazy conference tournament season, but sophomore guard and Fiji native Valerie Nainima, a sophomore guard, hopes to correct that slipup.
58. Bucknell The defending Patriot League regular-season champion Bison have more than hope to reach this NCAA Tournament. They also have Player of the Year Hope Foster.
59. Stephen F. Austin The Ladyjacks' return to the NCAA Tournament won't be easy in a wide-open Southland Conference.
60. Jacksonville Senior Ashley Williams hopes to lead the Dolphins to their first conference title.
61. Oral Roberts The Golden Eagles lost mainstay Elisha Turek, but return junior Jenny Hardin and are the favorites in the newly named Summit League (formerly the Mid-Continent).
62. Coppin State Last season's 18-0 MEAC mark will be tough to match, but the Eagles just hope another league tournament upset isn't in their future.
63. Harvard Unlike 2007, the Crimson shouldn't start the season 1-10. Like 2007, the Crimson should win the Ivy.
64. Prairie View A&M One year after the program's first winning season and NCAA berth, the Lady Panthers are now the SWAC favorite.

Charlie Creme has been projecting the women's NCAA Tournament bracket for ESPN.com for four seasons. He can be reached at cwcreme@yahoo.com.

Charlie Creme | email

Women's College Basketball
Charlie Creme projects the women's NCAA Tournament bracket for ESPN.com.