by Mike Potter
ACC champion Duke (27-5) is going to be one of the 64 teams on the board when the NCAA Women's Tournament field is announced tonight at 7 on ESPN.
N.C. State (20-13) and UNC (19-11) think they're in, but won't be sure until they see their names on the board tonight.
The Wolfpack and Tar Heels are two of about eight ACC teams who will be waiting with baited breath, first to make sure they're in the field and then to see where they're headed.
Duke and Florida State (26-5) are both hosting first- and second-round games, so it's a certainty the Seminoles are also going to get an invitation. It would also shock the women's basketball world if Georgia Tech (23-9) or Virginia (21-9) doesn't get the thumbs-up.
The Wolfpack, under their first-year coach Kellie Harper, and the Tar Heels, under veteran Sylvia Hatchell, likely sealed their invitations with recent wins.
State had to avenge a regular-season loss by beating Clemson in the first round of the ACC Tournament, and the Wolfpack got that done and added two more wins to boot.
The Tar Heels' signature victory was over Duke at Carmichael Auditorium on Senior Day - UNC's final game before the ACC Tournament - but they had to beat N.C. Central on Sunday to avoid seeing the bid slip through their fingers, and they got that done.
Whether Maryland (19-12), Wake Forest (18-13) or even Boston College (17-15) makes the cut is anybody's guess besides the sequestered folks on the selection committee. Common wisdom is that Miami (17-13) is headed to the WNIT or the new WBI.
Joanne P. McCallie's Duke team, which will likely be a No. 2 seed, will host its first-round games at Cameron Indoor Stadium on Saturday at noon at 2:30 p.m., with the second-round contest matching those survivors at 7 p.m. on March 22.
Tickets are available. Duke has won 12 straight NCAA Tournament games at home.