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Pre-season women's picks revisted

The prediction game, as I've been saying (and demonstrating) the past few weeks, is tricky business. Still, having stuck my neck out at the start of the 2006-07 season, it's time to be held accountable. So it is that I've gone back to blog entries of old to see what my thinking was regarding eight major Division I conferences. What I found is both good and bad.

On the plus side, my ability to figure out what teams would advance to the NCAA women's regional was pretty solid. As you'll see below, there were only two schools that I thought would get regional bids that failed to do so (Tulsa in Conference USA and Washington in the Pac-10). Meanwhile, there were only five teams that got regional bids that I did not forsee last September (San Francisco, Memphis, Washington State, N.C. State and Indiana).

When it came to picking conference champions, I was a little less clairvoyant, but not too bad. Four of the eight conference winners were correct (ACC, SEC, Pac-10 and WCC), with a near miss in the Big 12 (I had Texas A&M second to Oklahoma State when the reverse happened) and the same in the Big Ten (I picked Michigan State third to Purdue when the Spartans were first and Boilermakers second).

Coming down to individual conference players of the year, the toughest category to guess ... I mean predict, I was again right 50 percent of the time (ACC winner Amanda Blumenherst, SEC winner Taylor Leon, Big 12 winner Ashley Knoll and Big Ten winner Maria Hernandez). Worst one was picking Laura Cross of SMU to take the Conference USA POY award; Cross was out the entire season with an injury.


Predicted winner: Duke

Actual: Duke

Predicted POY: Amanda Blumenherst, Duke

Actual: Blumenherst

Predicted regional teams: Duke, Virginia, Wake Forest, North Carolina, Florida State, Maryland

Actual: All of the above, as well as N.C. State


Predicted winner:__ Georgia

Actual: Georgia

Predicted POY: Taylor Leon, Georgia

Actual: Leon

__Predicted regional teams:__Georgia, Florida, Vanderbilt, Auburn, Tennessee, Arkansas, Alabama, LSU, South Carolina

Actual: All of the above

Predicted winner:__ Purdue

Actual: Michigan State (picked third)

Predicted POY: Maria Hernandez, Purdue

Actual: Hernandez

__Predicted regional teams:__Purdue, Ohio State, Michigan State, Michigan, Northwestern

__Actual:__All of the above, as well as Indiana

__Big 12

Predicted winner:__ Oklahoma State

Actual: Texas A&M (picked second)

Predicted POY: Ashley Knoll, Texas A&M

Actual: Knoll

__Predicted regional teams:Oklahoma State, Texas A&M, Missouri, Baylor, Nebraska

Actual: __All of the above


Predicted winner:__ Arizona State

Actual: Arizona State

Predicted POY: Azahara Munoz, Arizona State

Actual: Anna Nordqvist, Arizona State

__Predicted regional teams:__Arizona State, Southern California, UCLA, Arizona, Stanford, California, Washington

__ Actual: __All of the above, except Washington is out and Washington State is in

Predicted winner:__ UNLV

Actual: TCU (picked fourth)

Predicted POY: Da Sol Chung, UNLV

__Actual:__Rachel Newren, BYU; Jodi Ewart, New Mexico

__Predicted regional teams:__UNLV, New Mexico, BYU, TCU

__ Actual: __All of the above

Predicted winner: SMU

Actual winner: Memphis (picked fifth)

Predicted POY: Laura Cross, SMU

__Actual:__Gerina Mendoza, UTEP

__Predicted regional teams:__SMU, Tulsa

__ Actual: __Yes on SMU, No on Tulsa; failed to predict Memphis


Predicted winner:__ Pepperdine

Actual: Pepperdine

Predicted POY: Eileen Vargas, Pepperdine

__Actual:__Misun Cho, Pepperdine

__Predicted regional teams:__Pepperdine

__ Actual: __Pepperdine, but also San Francisco