The Latest: Georgia back in tournament under 1st-year coach
NEW YORK (AP) The Latest on Monday's women's NCAA Tournament selections (all times Eastern):
After a one-year absence, Georgia is back in the NCAA women's tournament.
The Lady Bulldogs (21-9) claimed a No. 8 seed in the Lexington Regional and will face Indiana in their opening game Saturday.
Georgia had a resurgence under first-year coach Joni Taylor, who took over after Andy Landers announced his retirement. The Lady Bulldogs made 20 straight NCAA appearances under Landers – and 31 overall – before missing out last season.
Taylor says Georgia is ''absolutely thrilled to be back in the NCAA Tournament.'' As she says, ''Georgia basketball is a name that is synonymous with March Madness.''
Georgia's 32nd NCAA appearance ranks second among all schools. Only Tennessee has received more tournament invitations.
– Paul Newberry
Florida State coach Sue Semrau is disappointed but not surprised that the Seminoles will not be hosting first- and second-round games at the Tucker Center.
Florida State hosted games last year as a No. 2 seed and ended up reaching the Elite Eight before losing to South Carolina. The Seminoles (23-7) are seeded fifth in the Dallas Region and will face Middle Tennessee State on Saturday in College Station, Texas.
''It's very disappointing but we still have a lot of work to do,'' Semrau said.
– Joe Reedy
No. 15 Mississippi State was disappointed and delighted all in the same moment when its name was announced.
But mostly delighted.
That's because Mississippi State will host the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament despite being the No. 5 seed in its bracket. No. 4 seed Michigan State will travel to Starkville, Mississippi, because its home arena was already booked for the Michigan high school state basketball tournament.
Mississippi State coach Vic Schaefer had hoped the Bulldogs (26-7) would earn a No. 4 seed, but hosting the first two rounds was much more important.
''A lot goes into a moment like this, but that's all it is – a moment,'' Schaefer said. ''Now we've got to get 10,000 people here on a Friday afternoon. I want the world to see what we've built at Mississippi State. That's my challenge right now.''
– David Brandt
Michigan State had to watch three of four brackets revealed before finally finding out it was a fourth-seeded team with a matchup against 13th-seeded Belmont on Friday.
''It was good to see our name on the screen,'' Spartans center Jasmine Hines said. ''It was tough to wait.''
Even though the Spartans were seeded high enough to host first- and possibly second-round games, it will have to go to Mississippi, where it might play Mississippi State on its home court. Michigan State could not stay at home because its Breslin Center will be used by for the state's high school girl's tournament.
''It's disappointing that our women's basketball team will be unable to host the first and second rounds of the 2016 NCAA Tournament,'' Michigan State athletic director Mark Hollis said in a statement.
– Larry Lage
Kentucky's journey toward its first Final Four berth could follow a very short path.
The Wildcats' best-case scenario came true when they were placed in the Lexington Region as No. 3 seed, which potentially means four home games. They will open at Memorial Coliseum Saturday against No. 14 seed UNC Asheville and aim to play the regional final down the street at 23,000-seat Rupp Arena, home of the successful men's team.
Players cheered the announcement with bow-and-arrow gestures made famous by Wildcats men's guard Jamal Murray.
''As long as we handle business at home, we'll be fine,'' junior guard Makayla Epps said.
The Southeastern Conference has its most teams in the NCAA Tournament in history.
The league sent a record-tying nine teams into the women's field, led by No. 1 seed South Carolina.
The SEC had put eight teams into the tourney four times — most recently in 2014 — but topped it Monday by matching the NCAA mark set by the Big East in 2011.
Joining the Gamecocks in the 64-team field were Kentucky (No. 3 seed), Texas A&M (4), Mississippi State (5), Florida (5), Tennessee (7), Georgia (8), Auburn (9) and Missouri (10).
The league has an all-time record of 383-202 in tournament play, including eight national championships by Tennessee.
Shortly after University Buffalo women found out they're going to open the tournament facing third-seeded Ohio State at Columbus on Friday, Bulls athletic director Allen Greene made an unusual request.
''Does anyone have a private jet?'' Greene said upon taking the stage at the team's Selection Monday party.
Greene's travel schedule just became full after the Bulls men's and women's teams earned tournament berths by winning the Mid-American Conference tournament titles on Saturday.
The men face third-seeded Miami at Providence on Thursday at 6:50 p.m. The women's game is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. on Friday.
– John Wawrow
For the first time since 1988, Duke, North Carolina and N.C. State all missed the tournament. The Blue Devils, who had been in the tournament the past 21 years, were on the bubble to get in.
Days after announcing the first Ivy League postseason tournament, the league earned the first at-large bid for either a men's or women's team with Princeton earning an 11-seed. The Tigers, who will face West Virginia, lost to Penn twice during the regular season – their only conference blemishes.
''I'm bursting with pride for my team and for this great University. Princeton just became the first team in Ivy League history to earn an at-large bid,'' coach Courtney Banghart said. ''That's something that will mean so much to me for forever. As an Ivy League alum, I share in the significance of this day with the many great scholar-athletes and coaches that are a part of this special league.''
Penn is a 10-seed and will face Washington in the opening round.
Tennessee has its lowest seed in NCAA Tournament history.
The Lady Volunteers (19-13) are the No. 7 seed in the Sioux Falls Region and will face No. 10 seed Green Bay (28-4) in a first-round game Friday at Tempe, Arizona.
Tennessee's previous low seed was a No. 5 seed in 2009. The Lady Vols lost an opening-round game to Ball State in Bowling Green, Kentucky, that season.
No. 16 Michigan State figured they'd get in after winning 24 games but the Spartans were getting restless as they waited at least 40 minutes to hear their name called during Monday's selection.
Michigan State coach Suzy Merchant had one son on her lap, one leaning on her left shoulder and her husband sitting to her right.
She still didn't look comfortable, though, as she rubbed her chin and sighed as the bracket was revealed on TV and she sat behind her team.
Merchant's players seemed anxious too, oohing and ahhing as the field was announced before finding out what Michigan State would be seeded and where it was headed in the NCAA Tournament.
– Larry Lage
The NCAA Tournament selection committee might have made a make-up call for St. Bonaventure.
A day after Bonnies men's coach Mark Schmidt and his players felt snubbed, women's coach Jim Crowley and Co. have earned their second tournament appearance, their first coming in 2012. St. Bonaventure will be the 10th seed and face Oklahoma State in a first-round matchup at Oregon State on Friday night.
The Bonnies women weren't sure if they would get in after losing to VCU in the Atlantic 10 Conference quarterfinals on March 4.
St. Bonaventure went 23-7 and 12-4 in conference play.
The Bonnies men's team was upset over failing to make the tournament despite a going 22-8 and finishing in a three-way tie atop the A-10 regular season standings.
Fifth-ranked Maryland figured to be a No. 2 seed and they knew they'd open the NCAA Tournament at home.
The only mystery for Maryland (30-3) was who its first opponent would be and which top seed would be in its region.
First matchup: Iona (23-11). No. 1 seed: Notre Dame (31-1).
Sitting in the front row of a crowded room overlooking their home court, the Terps yelled with delight when the TV posted their opening matchup Monday.
Maryland opens on Saturday afternoon. Should the Terrapins advance, they will face the winner of Penn-Washington.
— David Ginsburg
The No. 1 seeds are familiar names: UConn, South Carolina, Notre Dame and Baylor.
A different kind of season for Tennessee has led to a different type of atmosphere for the release of the NCAA Tournament brackets.
Tennessee traditionally has learned its postseason draw at a celebration that was open to the media. During former coach Pat Summitt's tenure, the Lady Volunteers often watched the announcement at her home. The event has been held either on campus or at the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame in Knoxville since Holly Warlick took over the program in 2012.
This year, the Lady Vols are watching the announcement in private at Pratt Pavilion, the team's practice facility. Warlick and two players are scheduled to speak to the media after the draw is released.
Tennessee (19-13) set a school single-season record for losses this year.
– Steve Megargee
University at Buffalo women's coach Felisha Legette-Jack arrived for the Bulls first-ever Selection Monday party wearing some Buffalo-Blue bling.
The fourth-year coach had an oversized ring on her right hand and another larger one hanging on a chain around her neck. It's a Bulls tradition to award the ring to a player who made the most hustle plays after each victory.
Injured senior Mackenzie Loesing decided to buy rings for all the players and coaches in honor of the Bulls winning the Mid-American Conference Tournament last weekend and getting an automatic berth in the tournament.
''Mackenzie thought we were all Buffalo Blings, so she got me the big one,'' the coach said about the large ring hanging around her neck.
Buffalo (20-13) entered the MAC tournament as the eighth seed, and became the lowest-ranked seed to win it.
– John Wawrow.
No. 3 South Carolina began its NCAA Tournament watch party with a shooting contest – won by coach Dawn Staley.
Staley swished through a one-handed half-court shot, then broke off into a championship run around the court at Colonial Life Arena to cheers of several hundred fans awaiting the Gamecocks' seeding and regional location.
''Look at that,'' Staley said, smiling as she was congratulated by the rest of team and coaches.
Staley competed with seniors Tiffany Mitchell and Tina Roy. Mitchell was the Southeastern Conference player of the year the previous two seasons and an all-SEC first-team selection this year.
– Peter Iacobelli
UConn isn't waiting to win its fourth straight national celebration to plan a victory party. The school announced Monday before the NCAA Tournament pairings were announced that it would hold a ''Celebrate the Season Event'' on April 11 at the team's practice facility.
Tickets to the event, which will be held regardless of where the Huskies finish in the tournament, are $75. The reception will include a meet-and-greet with coach Geno Auriemma and members of the team and a video highlight reel.
UConn is expected to be the top overall seed in the women's NCAA Tournament.
UConn (32-0) potentially won't have to leave the state until the Final Four which is in Indianapolis this year on April 3 and 5.
If UConn can win six more games, coach Geno Auriemma would pass vaunted UCLA men's basketball coach John Wooden for the most all-time with 11 championships.
Expected to join the Huskies as the other No. 1 seeds are South Carolina, Notre Dame and Baylor. The Huskies have already beaten the Gamecocks and Irish this season.
The top four seeds in each region will host the opening two rounds.