Sunday’s Countdown to Columbus was like the winding of a fine watch. Four of the best teams in NCAA women’s basketball — No. 1 Connecticut, No. 5 Ohio State, No. 9 Louisville and No. 10 Stanford — took to the floor at Nationwide Arena. The doubleheader was billed as a warm-up for the 2018 NCAA Women’s Final Four, which will be staged at Nationwide March 30-April 1. Tick, tick, tick ...

UConn has been to 18 Final Fours, won 11 national titles and had six perfect seasons in coach Geno Auriemma’s 32 years in Storrs. His Huskies throttled Stanford 78-53 in the opener. The halftime score was 49-14.

“We’ve done a bunch of these,” Auriemma said of the Countdown, “and sometimes we come back and sometimes we don’t.”

See you in March.

Who will join UConn when spring springs? Stanford is a young team in a rebuilding phase. Louisville — which lost to UConn in national championship games in 2009 (too much Maya Moore) and 2013 (too much Breanna Stewart) — has some pedigree under coach Jeff Walz.

Ohio State?

The Buckeyes played catch-up all afternoon and never quite caught up. They lost to Louisville 95-90 in overtime before a supportive crowd of 9,711. Senior point guard Kelsey Mitchell, a two-time Big Ten player of the year, had 26 points. She has the sangfroid of an assassin, and these Buckeyes are very good when her shot is falling in the flow of some kind of offense. In any case, they have some work to do on the defensive end.

They have the seniors, and there is time yet.

Ohio State coach Kevin McGuff has done a fine job with the program since he took the helm in 2013. The Buckeyes are in the mix for the conference title on an annual basis. The next step — a deep tournament run — has eluded them.

When you speak of the women’s game, you start with UConn, and then if the Buckeyes can make it to Columbus for the Final Four at season’s end, McGuff’s program will be that much closer to joining the country’s elite.

Auriemma thinks it is possible.

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“A few years ago, when Kevin got the job, I remember saying I thought the two best jobs in the country were Ohio State and Texas, because that’s where most of the basketball players live,” Auriemma said.

(To my friends in Connecticut: Geno was not in any way saying that his job or his university is somehow lacking; he was merely answering a question about the relative difficulty of ascending to the upper echelon of the women’s game in 2017, as opposed to 30 years ago.)

“You’ve got a ton of players (in Ohio and Texas),” he said. “You’ve got two universities with more resources than anybody in America. Why wouldn’t you have great women’s basketball? So, (McGuff) was getting into a situation where, hey, they’ve got a tradition of being good, they’ve got everything they need to be good, and I think what he has done is capitalize on all the things that were available to him. That’s what he was brought in to do, and I think he has done a fabulous job.”

The job has an unfinished feel to it and, to that end, Mitchell professed that she and her fellow seniors — Stephanie Mavunga, Linnae Harper, Asia Doss and Alexa Hart — are on a mission. The mission can be plotted on a map of Columbus: Start on Lane Ave., take a right on High Street, another right on Nationwide Boulevard and make it back to the same floor where Louisville’s Asia Durr dropped 47 on them Sunday.

“We’ve got a whole lot of year left,” Mitchell said. “Like coach said, it’s the defensive end.”

They’ve got four months. Tick, tick, tick ...