South Carolina, Baylor, Oregon top women’s NCAA reveal
NEW YORK (AP) — South Carolina, Baylor, Oregon and Maryland would be the No. 1 seeds if the women’s NCAA Tournament began Monday.
With two weeks to go until selection Monday, the NCAA revealed the top 16 teams to this point of the season. Most of the major conferences are set to begin their conference tournaments this week.
“We feel it’s a pretty close representation to selection Monday,” said Diane Turnham, chair of the women’s basketball committee. “Someone could lose early in their tournament and it could affect them, so you never want to say never.”
The snapshot of the top 16 teams in the NCAA Tournament field is the second and final one released this year. Those schools would potentially host the opening two rounds of the tournament, which begins March 20.
The top three teams didn’t change with the Gamecocks serving as the No. 1 seed in Greenville, South Carolina. The Lady Bears would be staying close to home in the Dallas Region. Oregon would also be near home, playing in Portland.
“You look at those three teams and there isn’t anything that occurred that we didn’t expect,” Turnham said. “They did everything they could do and should do to remain there. We think they are very close. They are three incredible teams. We’ll see how they perform in the tournament.”
Maryland is a new No. 1 seed and the Terrapins would head to Fort Wayne, Indiana, as the top team there. The previous fourth No. 1, Louisville, would be the second seed in Indiana.
“The thing that impresses us most of all is the fashion in which they’ve been beating people they’ve played in last 10 games,” Turnham said of the Terrapins, who have won by an average of nearly 30 points a game during that stretch.
Gonzaga and Arizona would be the three and four seeds in that region.
South Carolina would be joined by UCLA, N.C. State and Oregon State as the top four seeds. Baylor would have Stanford, Mississippi State and Iowa in Texas. UConn, Northwestern and DePaul would head to Oregon.
That would mean five Pac-12 teams would be hosting the opening two rounds.
Turnham said several teams are knocking on the door to be in the top 16.
The committee did its first top 16 reveal on Feb. 5. Northwestern is the only team that wasn’t in the initial reveal, while Indiana dropped out.
The bracket will be unveiled on March 16. The Final Four is in New Orleans this year with the semifinals on April 3 and the title game two days later.