Geno Auriemma and his UConn Huskies are ready to begin their quest for a third straight national championship.

The Huskies earned the first overall seed in the women’s NCAA Tournament and placed in the Albany Region. They are looking for their 10th overall title, which would tie Auriemma with UCLA men’s coach John Wooden for most all time.

“This is why you coach,” Auriemma said of going for a third straight championship. “This is why you come to Connecticut if you are one of these players. Are we mature enough to handle it? We will find that out very soon.”

Though Connecticut is favored to three-peat, Auriemma said it isn’t a guarantee.

“The fact that everybody thinks it’s a done deal, that we’re going to win the whole thing,” Auriemma said, “those are probably people who have never coached, or haven’t coached in a Final Four or have won a national championship.”

Joining the Huskies as top seeds in the 64-team tournament that begins Friday are Maryland, South Carolina and Notre Dame.

Notre Dame and UConn, former Big East rivals, met in the national championship game last season as undefeated teams with the Huskies coming away with the victory. The pair played earlier this season in South Bend, Indiana, and the Huskies won by 18 points. UConn also beat South Carolina on Feb. 9 by 25.

The Huskies, who are led by Breanna Stewart, seem to be improving and have been rolling – winning games by an average of 42 points this season.

UConn will open on Saturday in Storrs, Connecticut, against St. Francis, Brooklyn, which is making its first tournament appearance.

The Terriers (15-18) are the 10th team to enter the NCAAs with a losing record.

The Irish are the top seed in the Oklahoma City Region.

Notre Dame has played in the past four Final Fours, but have come up short of a title each time. Baylor, Iowa and Stanford are the top seeds in the region that will try and derail the Irish.

The Gamecocks will face Savannah State in the first round, a team they beat by 62 points earlier this year.

Florida State, Arizona State and North Carolina will try and stop South Carolina in the Greensboro Region. Last season the Gamecocks lost to North Carolina in the regional semifinals.

“Obviously, last year left a sour taste in our mouths and if ever you want a chance to do it over, I’d like to do it over,” South Carolina Coach Dawn Staley said.

Maryland is the top seed in the Spokane Region.

The Terrapins became the second team to go unbeaten in the Big Ten, the conference they just joined this year. They will open up against New Mexico State on Saturday.

Undefeated Princeton, which is the 15th team to enter the NCAA Tournament unbeaten, is an eight seed – the highest in Ivy League history. The Tigers will face Green Bay. It’s the third time in five tournament appearances that the Tigers will play in the 8 vs. 9 game.

Other teams in Spokane include No. 2 Tennessee and third seed Oregon State.

All teams in the field would like to get to the national championship game April 7 in Tampa, Florida.

This season the women’s tournament moved its games up one day in the first two rounds and the regionals. The Final Four is still being played on Sunday (semifinals) and Tuesday (title game).

The NCAA also decided to go back to rewarding the top 16 seeds with home games in the opening two rounds for the first time since 2003.