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Women's NCAA Basketball Tournament Bracket Picks: Stanford Cardinal Final Four & National Championship Contender

The Stanford Cardinal have to like their road to Indianapolis (and all four experts at ESPN seem to agree). They start out with two home games in Maples Pavilion in their own gym, both of which should be easy wins considering the home venue. Stanford's undefeated at home this season, and their point differential at Maples borders on the absurd (only two single digit victories, both in November). UC Davis and the St. John's/Texas Tech winner are fodder for the Cardinal's inevitable road to the Sweet 16.

If Stanford is to be upset in a return to the Final Four, it'll have to come in the final two rounds in Spokane. Kentucky and North Carolina would provide an intriguing matchup in the Sweet 16, but neither team is truly expected to contend with the Cardinal. Three potential opponents that could possibly give Stanford trouble in the Elite 8--the UCLA Bruins could be a tough team to beat four straight times (they gave them everything they could handle in the Pac-10 tournament), the Gonzaga Bulldogs played them tough in Palo Alto (and you can only imagine the difficulty the Cardinal would have with them on their homecourt in Spokane), and the Xavier Musketeers (a rematch of last year's Elite 8 thriller, but Stanford played them earlier this year and thoroughly blitzed them. These are all big challenges, but nothing Stanford basketball can't overcome.

Stanford is in pretty good shape when it comes to getting back to the Final Four. The only two teams they've lost to (DePaul Blue Demons and the Tennessee Volunteers) are on the other side of the bracket, and they wouldn't have to meet them until the national championship game.