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Beverly Oden

Predicting the 2012 National Champ

By November 28, 2012

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It would not be the playoffs if we didn't make some arbitrary predictions. Yes, we're almost always wrong about them, but that's why we love sports. So of the top teams who do you think will take the title this year?

Obviously, as a Stanford alum I will be cheering for the Cardinal. But I'm not just being a homer here, I think these women are the real deal and they have some very successful years ahead of them with this roster. This team has a fire and a fight that we haven't seen from them in a while. They are tough to kill and they don't roll over. Their issue is their youth. They certainly don't play like youngsters but with mostly freshman and sophomores out on the court there is no telling how they will handle the pressure of the NCAA Tournament.

Stanford's late season loss to USC broke their 22-match win streak and I think that was the best thing that could have happened. Now they don't have to the pressure of keeping the streak going or the pressure of being the No. 1 seed. Stanford hasn't won a title since 2004 and hasn't been to the Final Four since 2008 so no one on the squad has experience on the big stage.

The safe bet is still Penn State. They have the experience and they have Russ Rose. They could very well win their fifth national championship in six years which would be unprecedented. Stanford won four titles in six years between 1992-1997, but besides that no one has even come close.

Though these would be great matches, I can't see Texas or Nebraska beating one of those top two teams so my prediction is a Penn State - Stanford final. The two teams met once before and Penn State won in five. But that was way back in August and Stanford has improved dramatically since then. I think they've become the better team. If they can control their nerves, I believe we'll have a great match on our hands and the Cardinal will win the title this year.

Who do you think will take home the trophy?

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