Tonight, the NCAA Women's basketball Committee unveiled the teams and seedings for this year's tournament. As with every year, there are going to be voices that agree, disagree and some who will be totally flummoxed.
UConn, South Carolina, Notre Dame and Maryland
First, the top-four seeds were a lock for quite some time, especially when Maryland won the Big Ten tournament championship - that secured them in most people's eyes as the final No. 1 seed.
Major surprise -- Princeton gets a No. 8 seed
One of the biggest surprises was the seeding of undefeated Princeton (30-0). ESPN's Charlie Crème has had them projected as a No. 5 seed in his bracketology for weeks now; however, the committee clearly felt that their success, and No. 13 ranking for that matter, were somewhat overrated and a mirage. It was the dearth of competition that hurt them the most from the committee's standpoint. Here's why from their perspective:
- No wins against the RPI Top-20
- Their SOS (strength of schedule) is 126
NCAA Committee Chair Dru Hancock stated: "We probably talked about Princeton as much as any team in this bracket, it wasn't what Princeton didn't do, it's the conference they're in."
If the Tigers win their first-round game, their reward: Maryland in College Park. Tough draw for the Tigers.
.@grahamhays is correct here: @PrincetonWBB got screwed: http://t.co/BTvrFJThi2— Richard Deitsch (@richarddeitsch) March 17, 2015
The Cardinals have it tough
Louisville, who finished the season in the top-10, drew a tough bracket. They are a No. 3 seed that opens up playing a very tough BYU squad. And, while the Cougars aren't the same team that pulled off upsets en route to the Sweet Sixteen last year, they are quite capable of giving the Cardinals quite the challenge.
Then, if Louisville wins their first round game, they have to most likely will play South Florida on their home floor -- and if that's not enough, they potentially will face the overall No. 1 seed, UConn, for a trip to the Final Four. It's essentially the AAC rivalries renewed.
The committee's view of mid-majors
While, Crème had many mid-majors in the 8 or 9 line for seeding -- some as high as 4 (George Washington), the committee didn't seem too keen on sharing those sentiments. They, in turn, went to another level by giving many mid-majors seeds that not only shocked many fans and aficionados, but left them feeling apoplectic.
George Washington got a 6-seed; James Madison got a 12-seed; the aforementioned Princeton got an 8; Chattanooga and Florida Gulf Coast both ended up with a 7. It's fair to assume, that mid-majors need to prove their worth in this year's tournament to garner more respect.
What if for the Atlantic Sun
About a week ago, I wrote an article entitled: Why the Atlantic Sun deserves two teams in this year's NCAA tournament.
While I'm sure the Atlantic Sun didn't envision this, but Northern Kentucky's upset of No. 2 seed Stetson was more than just an upset. By the committee rewarding the A-Sun's top team, FGCU, a No. 7 seed, they basically implied that they viewed second-place Stetson -- 23-7 with a RPI of 54 -- as a potential 13 or 14 seed.
But with the Hatters not making the championship game, there was no feasible way for the committee to justify rewarding Stetson with an at-large bid.