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OSU WOMEN'S BASKETBALL Buckeyes No. 1 seed, play Oakland, Mich.


Published: Mon, March 13, 2006 @ 12:00 a.m.


It was the first NCAA tournament top seed since 1993 for Ohio State.
COLUMBUS (AP) -- Ohio State has pulled off the first major upset of the 2006 NCAA tournament.
Surprising many, the Buckeyes grabbed a No. 1 seed on Monday night and will play Oakland (Mich.) in the first round of the NCAA women's tournament Sunday night in West Lafayette, Ind.
Ohio State coach Jim Foster fully anticipates that there will be complaints -- particularly from perennial powerhouses such as Tennessee and Connecticut -- that the Buckeyes (28-2) don't deserve a top seed.
"Robert Kennedy said that if you give a million dollars away, 20 percent of the people are going to come up with a reason not to take it," he said with a laugh. "So we'll just keep chugging along and let those 20 percent suffer as they will."
No. 2 in both polls
The Buckeyes are ranked No. 2 in both the media and coaches polls, have won their last 19 games, captured both the Big Ten regular season and tournament titles and have quality wins against second-seeded Oklahoma, fourth-seeded Purdue (twice) and eighth-seeded Boston College (on the road).
Critics will point out that Ohio State is only No. 7 in the RPI index, and that the Big Ten is ranked as the nation's seventh-best conference. In addition, the Buckeyes' strength of schedule -- because of a perceived down year in the conference -- is only 19th-best in the country.
Foster said it wasn't a certain trophy or a particular game that got the selection committee's attention.
"It's the body of work," he said, standing in his living room where he and his team watched the bracket announcement. "It's 19 games in a row, it's winning the Big Ten regular season, winning the conference tournament. How many teams did that? It's a pretty simple formula when you really, really sit down and look at it."
With players lying on the floor or slouched on chairs and couches, the tension built as the brackets from the Cleveland, Bridgeport, Conn., and San Antonio regionals were announced with no mention of the Buckeyes. But after Tennessee, Oklahoma and Connecticut were given No. 2 seeds it became apparent that Ohio State would get its first No. 1 seed since 1993.
Lost in title game
The Buckeyes made the most of that chance, going all the way to the national championship game before falling to All-American Cheryl Swoopes and Texas Tech, 84-82.
"I'm pretty excited about the No. 1 seed," said Ohio State leading scorer and two-time Big Ten player of the year Jessica Davenport. "People may have a different opinion about what they think is right, but we worked hard and we deserve it."
Should it beat Oakland (15-15), the only team in the 64-team field without a winning record, Ohio State would play the winner of ninth-seeded Notre Dame (18-11) and Boston College (19-11). The Buckeyes beat BC 66-61 in overtime Dec. 3 in Chestnut Hill, Mass.
The Buckeyes have had a week off since capturing the Big Ten tournament title last Monday with a 63-60 victory over Purdue. They will be making their 15th appearance in the NCAA tournament.


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