On Thursday night, during the Notre Dame-Tennessee game, the NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Committee released the first set of Top-16 rankings.
And to be quite honest, for the most part they got it right. The teams that have proven without a shadow of a doubt that they are the best, they are represented in the rankings. But every year, they always seem to get at least one team wrong, and this year there was no exception.
Here are the first set of Top-16 rankings:
- UConn (#1 seed Albany region)
- Mississippi State (#1 seed Kansas City region)
- Louisville (#1 seed Lexington region)
- Oregon (#1 seed Spokane region)
- Notre Dame
- South Carolina
- Ohio State
- Florida State
- Texas A&M
If you’re looking at this, and you live in the state of Wisconsin, then you’re probably not too happy about this list. And you would have a pretty valid point. The Green Bay Phoenix, who are currently No. 23 in the AP Top 25, did not make the cut. Yet the Georgia Bulldogs, who are not ranked, managed to make the committee’s list.
Allow me to put the credentials of both teams together, then you make the call as to who truly deserves to be in the top 16:
GEORGIA BULLDOGS (16-2) - have not been ranked in the AP Top 25 all season; RPI of 21; only one win over a ranked team all season (92-84 overtime win over Texas A&M)
GREEN BAY PHOENIX - have been in the AP Top 25 since December 4 (have gone as high as no. 19); RPI of 12; two neutral site wins over ranked teams (#23 Marquette, #24 Arizona State)
Take a moment to reflect on the stats you have just read, then make an informed decision as to who really should have been there (I’ll give you one hint as to why Green Bay is not be on this list: mid-major teams get no respect.)
Then we get to the curious decisions. Granted, it is understandable that South Carolina (#8) and Georgia (#16) are ranked where they are. South Carolina hasn't been at its absolute best, and Georgia isn't even the third best SEC team on the list. However, if we're basing it on logistics, then this is a complete travesty.
If the season were to end today and both teams stayed at their current rankings, then both South Carolina and Georgia would end up in the Spokane Region. I'm not sure if you have looked at a map, but Spokane is in the eastern-most part of Washington.
From Columbia, SC, that's 2,551 miles; from Athens, GA it's a 2,412 mile trek. South Carolina got the short end of the straw last season and ended up in the Stockton, CA Regional; it would be just plain wrong if the defending champions had to deal with a second straight long distance journey to play in the NCAA Tournament.
It'll be interesting to see what the next set of rankings are. Hopefully, they'll look at more than just the name — they will base their selections on actual results.