What we learned from the top 16 reveal
During halftime of last night’s Stanford vs Oregon matchup (which the Cardinal won 63-61 in a thriller as the Ducks had two chances late but couldn’t capitalize), the NCAA women’s basketball committee announced the top 16 teams if the tournament were to start today. And it told us a lot.
First of all, NET matters. In the first year of the new rating system, the committee showed its allegiance to the statistic in multiple ways. A team like Indiana who is ranked 9th by NET but have few quality wins is currently considered a 4-seed. Whereas an NC State team who has beaten the number one team in the country twice did not get a spot on the one line and rank 10th in NET.
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- Your Day in Women’s Basketball, March 12: Shake up in the Big Ten
- Your Day in Women’s Basketball, March 9: NC State, Stanford, South Carolina cut the nets
We also now know that head-to-head matchups can supersede a better resume. South Carolina has many more quality wins than UConn, but the Huskies OT win over the Gamecocks gave them the committee’s number one spot.
A final important takeaway, specifically for athletic directors looking to schedule future games, is that playing a weak non-conference schedule could be a large detriment no matter how well you play the rest of the way. Both Baylor and Michigan fell from where they were expected to be placed, the Bears from 2 to 3 and the Wolverines from 4 to not even making the list, and both had less than impressive opponents outside of the Big 12 and Big 10 respectively.
Five SEC teams were in the top 16 posted below, with Stanford and Louisville taking the other 1 seeds in the projection.
WNBA Offseason Update
There were two more trades in the professional game today in an offseason that has featured transactions at seemingly every hour. First, the Minnesota Lynx sent Odyssey Sims, the rights to Temi Fagbenle, and their first and third round pick in the 2022 draft to the Indiana Fever for their 2020 second round pick. The move was necessary for the Lynx so that they had the cap space to sign Aerial Powers.
The Fever turned around and traded for Lindsay Allen and the 24th pick, sending the Las Vegas Aces the 14th pick this April. In tandem with the trade for Allen, the Fever waived Sims. The point guard immediately becomes one of the best free agents available. She was an all-star just a year ago and has proven to be a very capable facilitator and defender, despite subpar shooting efficiency.