Utah would join South Carolina, Indiana and Stanford as the No. 1 seed in the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament if it started now.
The NCAA women’s basketball selection committee made its second and final reveal Thursday of the teams in line for the top 16 seeds ahead of Selection Sunday. South Carolina, Indiana and Stanford were also ranked as top seeds in the previous reveal.
“That was the easiest part of the day. I’m really looking forward to seeing these teams play toward the end of the season,” selection committee chairwoman Lisa Peterson said in a phone interview. “Indiana and Iowa, Stanford and Utah play this weekend.”
None of Thursday night’s games counted, including No. 3 Stanford’s double-overtime win over No. 21 Colorado. This is the final weekend of the regular season for most major conferences.
The Utes, ranked eighth in the AP Top 25, moved up by one, replacing UConn, which was defeated by St. John’s on Tuesday night. Utah faces Stanford on Saturday to close out its regular season. The Huskies fell to a second seed, seventh overall.
Peterson said the biggest debate was who should be the No. 1 quarterback: Utah or LSU.
“It was probably the biggest talking point,” he said. “You get more information when you look at these teams. One thing that stood out was the number of wins between the top 25 and 50 when you compare LSU to Utah. It was a tough call, for sure. One thing we couldn’t get. the past was (LSU’s) strength of schedule.”
The top 16 will host first and second round matches and the regional rounds will be played at two neutral sites for the first time instead of the traditional four. Seattle will host half of the Sweet 16 and Greenville, South Carolina will host the other eight teams.
South Carolina and Indiana were projected as top seeds in the Greenville Regional with Stanford and Utah in Seattle. The undefeated Gamecocks were the No. 1 overall seed.
The Gamecocks were joined in their projected bracket by No. 2 Virginia Tech, No. 3 Iowa and No. 4 Michigan. The Hoosiers would have No. 2 UConn, No. 3 Notre Dame and No. 4 Arizona.
The other top teams in the Stanford region were No. 2 Maryland, No. 3 Duke and No. 4 Villanova. Utah would join LSU, Ohio State and Texas.
Arizona was the only team not included in the original reveal to enter the second round. The Wildcats replaced North Carolina.
Teams outside the top 16 included the Tar Heels, Tennessee, Colorado, Oklahoma and UCLA.
The Big Ten had five teams in the top 16, while the Atlantic Coast Conference and Pac-12 each had three. The Southeastern Conference and Big East each had two, and the Big 12 each had one.
The Final Four will be played in Dallas on March 31 and the NCAA championship game is two days later. Dallas also hosts the Division II and III championship games on April 1.
Selection Sunday March 12.
The NCAA has been holding in-season reveals for women’s basketball since 2015 to give teams an early idea of where they might end up in the bracket.
Here’s a look at how the regions are spread out as of Thursday:
Greenville Regional 1:
- South Carolina
- Virginia Tech
Greenville Regional 2:
- Our Lady
Seattle Regional 3:
Seattle Regional 4:
- Ohio State
I just lost:
North Carolina, Tennessee, Colorado, Oklahoma, UCLA.
Report from The Associated Press.
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