NEW YORK (AP) — After a week full of upsets, the NCAA women’s basketball committee revealed its projected top 16 seeds for the final time before selection Monday.
UConn, Mississippi State, Baylor and Notre Dame would be the top seeds if the season was over. It’s the first time that the Irish are a No. 1 seed.
“This whole thing is definitely subject to change between now and selection day,” women’s basketball committee chair Terry Gawlik said in a phone interview Monday. “There are not only a lot of games left, but also a lot of tournaments.”
Three of the teams in the top 16 were playing Monday night. Maryland, seeded at No. 7, played at Ohio State. Second-seed Baylor visited No. 6 seed Texas, which made the biggest move climbing five places since the previous reveal on Feb. 6.
“They have been really, really impressive, elevated themselves and are playing really well,” Gawlik said of the Longhorns.
“It was tough going into Oklahoma after they had those big wins over Baylor and Florida State.”
South Carolina, which was a one-seed in the first two reveals, fell to fifth. Oregon State was the other two seeds.
The Sooners entered the top 16 for the first time, buoyed by that win over Texas, as No. 16. UCLA, Louisville and Kentucky are the other three four seeds.
“They were 3-6 against top 25 and 5-7 against top 50,” Gawlik said of the Wildcats, who re-entered the AP poll on Monday.
Kentucky still has regular season games left against Mississippi State and South Carolina. The Wildcats and Oklahoma replaced N.C. State and DePaul, who both lost over the weekend. In all, 12 ranked teams lost over the last seven days.
Florida State, Stanford, Duke and Washington would be the three seeds. The Cardinal can’t host because of a previous commitment at their home arena.
Taking a page from the women’s committee, the men’s NCAA committee revealed its projected top 16 teams on Feb. 11. The men’s bracket actually put the top 16 seeds in their potential regions. Gawlik didn’t see the women doing that any time soon.
“It’s different for us because we have teams hosting first two rounds instead of them being put in regions,” she said. “For example, Stanford can’t host, so we’d have to go deeper to see where they would go despite being the higher seed.”
Selection Monday is on March 13 and the NCAA Tournament begins that Friday. The Final Four will be in Dallas on March 31 and April 2. The women’s tournament moved its national semifinals and finals back to a Friday-Sunday format this season for the first time since 2002.
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