Who? The Cardinal of Stanford.
What? It's a color. It's not a bird, a religious figure, or even a kind of direction. And the ever-changing Tree is not a mascot, but a member of The One, The Only, The Truly Incomparable Leland Stanford Junior University Marching Band.
Where? Palo Alto, California, which is a hotbed of technology development.
When? March 22nd, in Ames, Iowa.
Why? Stanford has consistently been in discussions for a 1 seed and was the regular season champion of a major conference. What do you think?
How? They were an at-large selection.
Surprise? Predicted to finish first in the conference, they took the regular season crown over Cal and Oregon State.
Record: 29-3 (17-1 Pac-12)
Good wins: Tennessee.
Bad losses: At Washington.
Who's running this show? Tara VanDerveer, since 1985.
Extra, Extra! The San Francisco Chronicle.
It's been the Chiney Ogwumike show for most of this year for Stanford. The senior forward has put up an average of 26.8 points and 12.3 rebounds per game while being in the sights of every defense Stanford has faced. Technically, they have no double-figure scorers beyond Ogwumike, but Amber Orrange was only four total points off hitting 10.0 for the season, so I'll count her; the junior guard is also the Cardinal's leading distributor with 4.5 assists per game. Senior Mikaela Ruef pulls in the boards, with 9.5 per game. But after that, pickings get mighty thin. The supporting cast is going to have to play like the cream of the crop for Stanford to avoid an early exit.
Random stat that caught my eye: Ogwumike's 61.0% shooting, single-handedly floating the team average above any other individual player. The Card's FG% drops six points without her numbers.