Perhaps they wanted to take a page out of the football selection committee's book on how to set up a possible controversy or perhaps they were simply shouting for attention but the NCAA Division 1 Women's Basketball Selection Committee announced the current top 20 seeds for the NCAA Tournament yesterday (Wednesday). With the qualifying statement that the list represents the seedings if the season had ended Tuesday night, they identified the four number one regional seeds and released the remainder alphabetically. Sort of.
The top four seeds were handed to UConn, South Carolina, Notre Dame, and Tennessee. However, in the video that accompanied the release,
committee chair Dru Hancock clearly indicated two of the number two seeded teams, Baylor and Maryland. She stated that the committee had no difficulty identifying the top three seeds but that there was considerable debate over whether Tennessee, Baylor, or Maryland would occupy the fourth slot.
In addition to Notre Dame, two other Terrapins opponents were on the list - George Washington and the only other Big Ten representative, Iowa. The Pac-12 and the ACC led the list each placing five teams in the committee's top 20. The SEC had four teams represented and the Big 12 joined the B1G with two. In his most recent Bracketology, Charlie Creme of ESPN projected eight schools each from the ACC, the B1G, and the SEC in the field of sixty-four.
In a change from recent years, where the first two rounds were played at predetermined sites, any team seeded in the top 16 will host the the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament provided they have submitted a timely bid and are not Louisville or Arizona State whose arenas are not available on that opening weekend. Thus, if Maryland finishes as a top four seed in any region, the Terps will host the Tournament's first two rounds beginning the weekend of March 21st.