SC, IU, Stanford, Utah tossed top female seeds in final reveal

Two Pac-12 teams are now projected as No. 1 seeds by the NCAA Women’s Basketball Committee, which released its second and final top 16 seeds on Thursday. The projections were made taking into account the results of Wednesday’s matches. Being in the top 16 is key in the NCAA Women’s Tournament because it allows teams to set up early-round games.

The top three seeds remained the same as the previous reveal on Feb. 9: No. 1 South Carolina Gamecocks, No. 2 Indiana Hoosiers and No. 3 Stanford Cardinal. The No. 4 Utah Utes, who are battling Stanford for the Pac-12 title, now join that group. The Cardinal won in double overtime at the Colorado Buffaloes on Thursday to clinch at least a share.

The Utes jumped from No. 6 in the latest reveal despite losing to the Arizona Wildcats on Feb. 17. They faced the California Golden Bears late Thursday night. Stanford and Utah meet Saturday in Salt Lake City.

The Ohio State Buckeyes have also progressed despite a loss since the last reveal, although that loss was to Big Ten champion Indiana. Ohio State went from No. 16 in the first reveal to No. 12 in this one.

The Hoosiers and Buckeyes are among the Big Ten’s five teams in the top 16, most of any conference. The others are the No. 6 Maryland Terrapins, No. 9 Iowa Hawkeyes and No. 16 Michigan Wolverines.

The ACC has three teams in the top 16: No. 8 Virginia Tech Hokies, No. 10 Notre Dame Fighting Irish and No. 11 Duke Blue Devils. The Pac-12 also has three, with the No. 15 Arizona Wildcats joining Stanford and Utah. Arizona is the only team in the second reveal that wasn’t in the first, replacing the ACC’s North Carolina Tar Heels.

The SEC and Big East (No. 7 UConn Huskies and No. 14 Villanova Wildcats) both have two top-16 teams. The other SEC team with South Carolina are the No. 5 LSU Tigers, who have just one loss but appear to be retained in the top four by the committee due to a weak non-conference schedule.

The Big 12 has only one team in the top 16 in the No. 13 Texas Longhorns. Texas is tied for the top of the Big 12 at 12-3 with the Oklahoma Sooners, who host the Longhorns on Saturday. Oklahoma is 22-4 overall and has won six straight, but still hasn’t cracked the top 16.

The NCAA Women’s Tournament Draft Show will be on Sunday, March 12 at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN. The women will have 68 teams, with the “first four games” played on March 15 and 16 at four of the top 16 host venues.

The first and second round matches will be played from March 17-20 at the host venues. This is the first season for two regionals instead of four; they will take place in Greenville, South Carolina and Seattle, with the semi-finals on March 24-25 and the finals on March 26-27.

The Women’s Final Four will take place at the American Airlines Center in Dallas from March 31 through April 2.

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