Oregon women would be No. 1 seed if NCAA tournament started today
UConn, Mississippi State, Louisville and Oregon would be the No. 1 seeds if the women's NCAA Tournament were to begin now.
For the third straight year, the NCAA provided a snapshot of the tournament field, unveiling the top 16 teams as of Tuesday, in order. Those schools would potentially host the opening two rounds of the tournament, which begins March 16.
"This first one is really hard," said Rhonda Lundin Bennett, chair of the Division I Women's Basketball Committee. "You just are at the beginning of conference play and teams haven't really played anyone in their conference. It's a fun and great way for us to start thinking in that way. You put some of the game watching and research to work."
The Huskies would be the top team in the Albany Region. The Bulldogs would be the No. 1 seed in Kansas City. The Cardinals would be the top team in the Lexington Region and the Ducks in Spokane. This is the first time that the NCAA has revealed which regions the top teams would be in. In the final reveal, they will put all 16 teams in regions.
"Obviously there's a lot of basketball left to be played," Oregon coach Kelly Graves said. "But that would be something if we ended up in Spokane as the top seed. I have a lot of great history there from my time at Gonzaga."
Oregon was a little bit of a surprise as the fourth No. 1 seed as the Ducks already have two losses this season, although they came on the road to Louisville and Mississippi State. Both those teams are still undefeated.
"The thing that impressed us is their record," Lundin Bennett said. "They had four wins against the top 25 and they are 4-2 in the top 25 with the losses to two teams above them."
Tennessee and Notre Dame, who played Thursday night, were fifth and sixth in the reveal. Texas and South Carolina were the other No. 2 seeds.
Baylor, Ohio State, Florida State and UCLA were the three seeds.
Missouri, Texas A&M, Rutgers and Georgia rounded out the top 16 teams. Six of the top 16 are from the Southeastern Conference.
"We considered another seven or eight teams," Lundin Bennett said. "It was a pretty long list. The fact is, this is the middle of January. It's so early, you take a look at a lot of different teams."
The NCAA will have two more reveals of the top 16 teams before Selection Monday, which is on March 12. The NCAA Tournament begins that Friday. The Final Four will be in Columbus on March 30 and April 1. This is the second consecutive year that the women will have their national semifinals and finals on a Friday-Sunday format. Before last season, the Final Four hadn't used that format since 2002.