Stanford, UConn, South Carolina, Louisville capture top seeds in first early reveal of NCAA tournament


Stanford joined UConn, South Carolina and Louisville as No. 1 seeds in the first early reveal Monday of the 16 projected seeds for the NCAA women’s tournament.

The Cardinal entered Monday’s game against Oregon with two losses this season. UConn and Louisville each have a loss, and South Carolina has lost twice. The Huskies, Gamecocks, Cardinal and Cardinals are the four teams that have ranked No. 1 in the Associated Press poll this season.

NC State, the only team this season with two wins over the nation’s No. 1 team (South Carolina and Louisville), was the second seed and sixth overall in Monday’s reveal. The Wolfpack also has losses to two unranked teams: Virginia Tech (in overtime) and North Carolina. One of Stanford’s losses was also to an unrated team, Colorado, and the other was to UCLA.

UConn’s loss was to Arkansas, and South Carolina fell to NC State and UConn. The Huskies have been a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament for 11 of the last 12 seasons and have reached the Final Four all 12 years. They were seeded No. 2 in 2019.

The SEC has the most teams in the top 16 with five: No. 2 South Carolina, No. 5 Texas A&M, No. 12 Georgia, No. 13 Tennessee and No. 16 Kentucky. Texas A&M has just one loss, in overtime to LSU. Kentucky has the most losses of any team in the top 16, with five in its game in Florida on Monday.

There are four Pac-12 teams: No. 3 Stanford, No. 8 Arizona, No. 9 UCLA, and No. 11 Oregon. Stanford was on tour for nine consecutive weeks earlier this season due to COVID-19 regulations in Santa Clara County; The Cardinal’s two defeats occurred during that period.

The second reveal of the top 16 is on March 1 at Baylor-Texas halftime (ESPN2 / ESPN App, 7 pm ET).

The NCAA confirmed earlier this month that the NCAA tournament will be held in its entirety in the San Antonio area, with some first-round games in nearby San Marcos and Austin. All games starting with Sweet 16 will be at the Alamodome, with the Final Four there on April 2-4.

Because it is a single site event, there will be a true S-curve for support, rather than geography influencing the location of the teams. Therefore, the regions are numbered instead of naming the city in which they are located.

Region 1: 1. UConn, 2. Arizona, 3. Baylor and 4. Tennessee

This would set up a possible Sweet 16 showdown between the Huskies and Lady Vols, who have not met in the NCAA tournament since the 2004 national championship game won by UConn. The Huskies defeated the Lady Vols 67-61 in Knoxville, Tennessee, on January 21. UConn was supposed to play Baylor in early January, but the game was canceled when the Lady Bears went on hiatus due to COVID-19. This regional would have by far the most NCAA championships combined: 11 for UConn, eight for Tennessee and three for Baylor.

Region 2: 1. South Carolina, 2. Maryland, 3. UCLA, 4. West Virginia

The Gamecocks finished last season and started this season as the top-ranked team, and rose back to No. 1 briefly last week before losing at UConn. South Carolina, the 2017 champion, currently has a 31-game winning streak against SEC foes. Maryland is the only Big Ten team since Michigan State in 2005 to reach the Women’s Final Four (2015). The Terps also had Final Four trips in 1982, 2006 (won the championship) and 2014. UCLA and West Virginia are looking for their first Final Four trip in the NCAA era; the Bruins won the AIAW national championship in 1978.

Region 3: 1. Stanford, 2. State of North Carolina, 3. Georgia, 4. Indiana

The Cardinal is seeking his fourteenth Final Four appearance, his last in 2017, and his third NCAA title (1990, ’92). Georgia has advanced to the Final Four five times (most recently in 1999) and NC State once (1998). Indiana has not made it past the second round of the NCAA tournament.

Region 4: 1. Louisville, 2. Texas A&M, 3. Oregon, 4. Kentucky

Texas A&M won the national championship in 2011. Louisville is seeking its fourth Final Four appearance and Oregon for its second. Kentucky has not been beyond Elite Eight. The Louisville-Kentucky modern-era series in the regular season dates back to 1975, but the shows haven’t come together this season.

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