No surprise, USF’s title hopes run through Connecticut

After falling to UConn in the AAC tournament finals last week, it appeared all but certain that USF had seen the three-time defending national champions for the last time this season.

Then the NCAA brackets were revealed.

The USF women’s basketball team was selected for the NCAA tournament on Monday for the fourth time in program history. Earning a sixth seed, the Bulls (23-9,14-4) will meet 11th-seeded Colorado State in a first round matchup in Los Angeles at 9 p.m. on Friday.

If the Bulls are able to get past Colorado State (31-1, 18-0), a date with the No. 1 overall team in the Bridgeport Region, the UConn Huskies, is almost assured despite facing off against the Huskies three times already this season this season.

“I didn’t think we’d have to wait until the last region, that’s for sure,” said  head coach Jose Fernandez after his team was one of the last announced in the field of 64.

“I’m very surprised that we got sent to the Bridgeport (Connecticut) region. There are only two teams from the American Athletic Conference, and you put them in the same region. Last year, we were in Connecticut’s region as well, so, that’s the only thing.”

While the Bulls have made an appearance in the big dance three of the last four years under Coach Fernandez, Connecticut continues to remain the gold standard of college basketball excellence. The Huskies have not missed the Sweet 16 since 1993, while the Bulls are looking to make it there for the first time in program history.

Although coming into the tournament with only two postseason wins all-time, and winless all-time against UConn, the Bulls are just excited for one more opportunity to make USF history.

“Eventually, we were going to have to play them to get to where we want to be,” said senior guard Courtney Williams of being placed in the same region as the defending champions.  “There ain’t no fear in our hearts, we’re going to play regardless.”