Some highly ranked teams are singing the blues themselves, long before they expected to hear them sung in New Orleans at the NCAA women's Final Four.
Top-ranked Penn State, No. 5 Purdue and No. 8 LSU were sidelined by a trio of upstarts as the NCAA women's tournament cut down to its Sweet 16, determined on Sunday. Second-ranked Virginia and No. 13 Connecticut reached regional semifinals, but not without a few anxious moments.Only in the West did all four top seeds advance.
The Southeastern Conference showed its strength with four teams - No. 3 Georgia (27-3), No. 4 Tennessee (26-5), No. 6 Auburn (25-5) and unranked Vanderbilt (19-11) - advancing, while the Atlantic Coast Conference had three teams still alive with the Lady Cavaliers, No. 7 North Carolina State (26-5) and No. 21 Clemson (21-10).
In the East Regional semifinals at Philadelphia on Thursday, Clemson will meet James Madison (26-4) and North Carolina State faces Connecticut (27-4).
In the Mideast, Tennessee will host a mini SEC tournament with the Lady Vols taking on Western Kentucky (29-2) and Auburn meeting Vanderbilt.
The Midwest Regional, at Austin, Texas, will feature top-seeded Virginia against Oklahoma State (27-5) and Arkansas (28-3) against surprising Lamar (28-3).
Finally, in the West, Pac-10 rivals Stanford (24-5) and Washington (24-4) meet in one semifinal, while Georgia takes on Long Beach State (24-7) in the other at Las Vegas.
Tennessee earned the right to stay on its floor, Saturday night, with a 55-47 win over Gateway winner Southwest Missouri (26-5). The Vols' semifinal opponent, Western Kentucky, shut down Metro champion Florida State (25-7) in the last minute, 72-69.
Vanderbilt upset second-seeded Purdue on Sunday 69-63.
On Sunday, Virginia, the top seed in the Midwest Region, needed an inside basket by Heather Burge on an assist from Dawn Staley with four seconds left to beat Stephen F. Austin.
Also on Sunday, LSU (24-7), the Southeastern Conference tournament champion, lost at Lamar, 93-73, as Barbara Hickey came off the bench to score 16 points.
In the West, No. 18 Long Beach State (24-7), which has won 17 straight since dropping out of the top 25 at midseason for the first time since 1978, advanced with an 83-58 win over Southern Cal (18-12).
Georgia advanced by eliminating No. 17 UNLV, 86-62, to prevent the Rebels (25-7) from reaching their own court for the West finals.
Defending NCAA champion Stanford advanced with a 91-67 rout of Cal State-Fullerton, while Washington dispatched No. 23 Iowa 70-53.
The region semifinals will be Thursday, with the finals, all televised on ESPN, on Saturday.