Northwestern falls to the 3 line
If the NCAA Tournament started today, UCLA would be the 2 seed in the Greenville Regional, according to the NCAA Women’s Basketball Committee’s top 16 reveal on Monday night. This was the second reveal of the season, and once again, the committee gave fans a peek at the top four seeds, in order, with their corresponding regions.
The 1 seeds came as no surprise, though we had Oregon and Baylor flipped last week. The first real surprise was at the bottom of the 2 line, where the committee gave UCLA the nod over Northwestern.
No disrespect to the Bruins, but I’m trying to figure out why.
The Wildcats have a better record, RPI, and strength of schedule. Their best win (vs. Maryland) is roughly on par with UCLA’s (at Stanford). Their three losses are to projected top 4 seeds, while UCLA has two losses to teams outside the tournament field — and one of them is Washington, which has a losing record. Overall, Northwestern has nine wins vs. RPI top 50 teams and UCLA has seven.
I don’t get it, but that’s what the committee says. So that’s what today’s bracket projections looks like.
I didn’t have any other major gripes about the top 16, but as an unapologetic fan of the mid-major, it was a little disappointing to not see Missouri State, or even Princeton, on there. Both have done all that could be expected of them given their schedules and both rank in the top 11 nationally in RPI. The Tigers have lost just once, at Iowa, and have beaten nine RPI top 100 teams. Sadly, I’m not sure another win over Yale in the Ivy League championship would move the needle enough to boost them. The same could be said for a Missouri State team that has five wins against projected tournament teams and 12 against the top 100. Another win over Bradley in the MVC Tournament may not be enough.
Here’s the full bracket:
Bids by conference:
Big Ten: 8
Big 12: 4
Big East: 3
Missouri Valley: 3
Conference USA: 2
Central Michigan from a 9 to a 10
Purdue from a 10 to a 9
UCF from an 11 to a 12
West Virginia from a 12 to an 11
Last Four In:
First Four Out:
Next Four Out: