UConn in line for top seed in NCAA women’s tournament

Sports

Connecticut head coach Geno Auriemma, right, and South Carolina head coach Dawn Staley, left, meet before an NCAA college basketball game in Storrs, Conn., Monday, Feb. 8, 2021. (David Butler/Pool Photo via AP)

UConn, South Carolina, Stanford and Louisville are in line for the top seeds of the women’s NCAA Tournament.

The women’s basketball selection committee revealed the top 16 teams to this point Monday night. The Huskies, who moved up to No. 1 in The Associated Press women’s basketball poll earlier in the day, would be the overall top seed.

UConn’s region would include Arizona, Baylor and Tennessee as the other three top seeds. South Carolina’s group has Maryland, UCLA and West Virginia. Stanford has N.C. State, Georgia and Indiana. Louisville would be joined by Texas A&M, Oregon and Kentucky.

“I would say that for every line we had a healthy amount of debate,” NCAA women’s basketball selection committee chair Nina King said.

For the past few years, earning one of the top 16 seeds would give a team home games in the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament. This year though, because of the coronavirus pandemic, the entire NCAA Tournament will be played in the San Antonio area. The last four rounds of the NCAAs will be at the Alamodome.

That made bracketing easier for the committee as they didn’t have to worry about geography and putting teams closer to home for the regionals.

“It was great. We were done bracketing fairly quickly,” King said. “It’s a lot easier and the S-curve is our priority. There are a few principles for establishing the bracket we had to follow and we moved a couple teams around. One main one was avoid conference matchups until a regional final. Kentucky is in a region with Louisville as opposed to a region with South Carolina.”

This is the sixth year in a row that the NCAA has provided an in-season look at where teams would be seeded.

“It’s a snapshot in time right at this moment, that’s why we do it twice,” King said. “Then we have final selections. You see what’s on the committee’s radar at this moment.”

The Southeastern Conference had the biggest haul among the initial list with five teams. The Pac-12 had four.

Michigan and South Florida have both only lost once this season, but were left out of the initial reveal. Both teams have had long pauses because of COVID-19. King said they were among the next nine teams in discussion for a top 16 seed. The two schools were joined by Arkansas, DePaul, Georgia Tech, Gonzaga, Missouri State, South Dakota State and Washington State.

The NCAA will have one more reveal on March 1 before the bracket is unveiled on March 15.

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Follow Doug Feinberg on Twitter at http://twitter.co/dougfeinberg

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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