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    09/07/2011 10:47 PM
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Women's NCAA National Championship Baylor Bears vs. Notre Dame Fighting Irish Odds, Start Time, Free Pick

The NCAA Women's National Championship will take place tonight as the top-seeded Baylor Bears square off against fellow No. 1 seed Notre Dame Fighting Irish. The game is scheduled for an 8:30 p.m. start time and it will be televised nationally on ESPN. Currently the odds for this game have Baylor favored by 6 points with the total sitting at 136.5 points.

Free Analysis: It's been no secret that the Baylor Bears have been the best team in women's college basketball this season. The Lady Bears have the best player, best team and have been ranked No. 1 all season. A win tonight would give the squad a landmark 40th victory of the season. It certainly appears that anything short of a women's national title would be deemed a failure for Brittney Griner and her Lady Bears. But, at the same time, the Lady Bears are keeping everything in perspective, by NOT focusing on finishing undefeated or with a 40th win. They just want to win a national championship, which would be the second ever for Baylor. Notre Dame is standing in the way of all Baylor's dreams. The Fighting Irish are a team on a mission ever since losing in last year's championship to Texas A&M. They don't have Brittney Griner on their tea, but the Lady Irish are sparked by probably the nation's second-most dynamic player, All-American Skylar Diggins. Baylor and ND finished as the top two seeds in this year's tournament, giving the selection committee a bit of a nice pat on the back. Baylor is on the verge of something very special with this game, and playing in the national championship was expected, but finishing with a perfect record? Not so much, it appears. "40-0 was never really the goal," Griner said at a news conference Monday. "We have team goals each year and our goal was to win a national championship."If you lose, you can't win a national championship. You've got to go 40-0 now." What didn't start out as the goal originally seems to be the goal now. Griner also said that winning a national championship is the biggest thing on the check list for Baylor. They haven't won anything yet, even though it seems as if everyone has been crowning them champions the entire season. Notre Dame won 35 games to point this season and has been focused on getting back to this game all season long after falling to Texas A&M last season in the finals. ND is the prototypical team that has been flying under the radar this season, with everyone talking about Baylor since the season first tipped off. ND coach Muffet McGraw said Baylor does have a lot of pressure on themselves, but they've been able to live up to those expectations all season long. However, she still hopes the Lady Bears are feeling some of that pressure, which can only help her team tonight. "I think when you're undefeated you have a lot of confidence that you're playing with, but at the same time it's just a little bit of pressure of knowing that you've never lost. And when it gets down to the end of the game, you hope they feel that pressure," she said. With a win, Baylor would become just the seventh team to finish a season undefeated, joining Connecticut — which has done it four times, Tennessee and Texas. "Win or lose tomorrow we're going to head back to Waco," Baylor coach Kim Mulkey said. "Unfortunately, we're 39-0 and you don't want to lose that last game. We know that whoever beats us, just make sure that you didn't beat yourself. Make sure that team was better than you that night. If you do that, you can't fault your effort." The two teams met earlier this season in Waco and Baylor came away with a 13-point victory. Griner was pretty much unstoppable in that game, totaling 32 points and 14 rebounds, making 14 of her 18 shots with five blocks. Odyssey Sims had 25 points in that win for Baylor. Notre Dame is a great team, but Baylor's role players have stepped up this post season and helped push the team to the brink of glory.

Free Pick: I'm not going to bet on this game, and many books don't have a line for this game, so if you are going to bet on this, go ahead and make sure you shop around. I think that Baylor is going to win this game, but I'm pretty sure Notre Dame is going to be able to keep it close. Baylor won by 13 points when the two played earlier in the season and this line is less than half of that. Oddsmakers are looking for a close game and I think they are going to get that tonight.

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  • Journalist living in West Michigan. Inaugural "Who's The Man" contest winner at

Journalist living in West Michigan. Inaugural "Who's The Man" contest winner at

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