The West is getting downright wacky in the women's bracket, too.
In rounds where the favorites almost always prevail in the NCAA women's basketball tournament, Alabama-Birmingham and Rice added some spice to the proceedings. And both are doing it in the West Regional, which has produced some of the most stunning upsets on the men's side, including losses by top seeds Arizona and St. John's.
Alabama-Birmingham, a lowly No. 11 seed that lost its only NCAA tournament game prior to this year, stunned third-seeded Mississippi State 78-72 in Eugene, Ore., on Sunday night to advance to the round of 16.
The Lady Blazers (21-12) become the lowest-seeded team to reach the regional semifinals since 1996, when 12th-seeded San Francisco and 11th-seeded Stephen F. Austin both made it.
''This team is so amazing,'' said Holly Holland, who led UAB with 21 points. ''I'm so glad to be a part of it.''
UAB, which beat sixth-seeded Oregon 80-79 in overtime in the first round, pulled its second shocker of the tournament after 13th-seeded Rice beat fourth-seeded Cal Santa Barbara 67-64 Saturday night before a sellout crowd on UCSB's floor.
Rice (22-9), in the tournament for the first time, plays fifth-seeded North Carolina (19-12) in the second round tonight.
''We thought if we played our game, played good defense, we could pull it off,'' Rice coach Cristy McKinney said.
The favorites all survived in the other games Sunday as half the field for the round of 16 was filled. Big East rivals Connecticut, Rutgers and Notre Dame led the advance with outstanding defensive efforts.
Top-ranked Connecticut, the No. 1 seed in the East, held Clemson to 20.4 percent shooting and 10 field goals, the fewest ever in the tournament, in an 83-45 victory. That followed a 116-45 rout of Hampton in the first round.
''It was shocking,'' Clemson guard Krystal Scott said. ''Just getting across half court was tough.''
Rutgers, the No. 2 seed in the West, held St. Joseph's to its lowest point total since the 1982-83 season in a 59-39 victory in Piscataway, N.J. The Scarlet Knights (24-7) will play UAB next Saturday in Portland, Ore.
Notre Dame, seeded second in the Mideast, overwhelmed George Washington 95-60.
The only other regional semifinal pairing determined so far is in the Midwest, where second-seeded Penn State (28-4) will play third-seeded Iowa State (27-5) in Kansas City. Both won at home Sunday night, Penn State beating Auburn 75-69 and Iowa State defeating Illinois 79-68.
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