Another rich Sunday in women’s university basketball confirmed two things: All things held in braces are fluid and constantly changing, and the 2021 NCAA Women’s Tournament will be the most open lately.
Late Sunday afternoon, the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee has discovered its 16 best seeds for the second time this month. The list reflected the board’s rating throughout Saturday’s games, but by the time the top 16 were unveiled at 17:00 ET, three teams from the list had lost on Sunday. A few hours later, the fourth lost. It’s like getting that portrait the way you want it just before someone sprays paint on the canvas. All the hard work changed in an instant.
Two more weeks until Monday’s election, the seed 1 debate continues to rage. And it’s not just one team seemingly exchanged or a scenario for five teams for four places. Eight teams have a credible argument for the best holder. All eight – UConn,, Stanford,, Texas A&M,, South Carolina,, NC State,, Maryland,, Baylor i Louisville, plus maybe two or three more – could reach the Final Four. When was the last time the list of candidates was so long so late in the season? NCAA tournament, with all its uniqueness plays in one city, should be the most unpredictable in recent years.
But before we get to San Antonio, we need a tournament pitch – and Sunday just made the process more convincing. Let’s take a look at the games that reversed the top 16 boards and the impact of the results on Bracketology.
The game of the day, decided the SEC championship in the regular season and affected holders no. 1 both short-term and long-term. The Aggies controlled most of the game and won 65-57, solidifying their place at the top of the line. They were both top seed of the day and both remain at the top, but Gamecock’s margin is extremely thin. A good case could be the case that the state of NC takes the place of South Carolina. The Wolfpack beat Gamecocks in early December.
But South Carolina remains number one for now. In its top two 16 revelations, the board seems to have emphasized that the amount of quality wins is significant, and playing more quality opponents is important. If communication was so important, NC State would probably already be number one in the discovery. Yet South Carolina was fourth overall and the state of NC fifth. South Carolina’s 12 top-50 NET wins (the highest in the country) and the fifth strength rating schedule obviously carried significant weight, and nothing changed about those numbers on Sunday.
But Sunday’s defeat now makes winning the SEC tournament an urgent need for Gamecocks to remain No. 1 seed. For Texas A&M, Sunday brought a small cushion. Aggies, with their score 6-0 against NET’s top 25, could now hold the top spot only by reaching the finals of the SEC tournament.
Kentucky was the first of 16 top team teams to lose on Sunday. The Wildcats went 3-3 in February and lack the semblance of consistency in the most important part of the season. He falls at home in Be a miss put a stamp on it.
In the past three weeks, Kentucky has won Georgia and Tennessee, but also lost twice to Ole Miss and was not competitive against South Carolina. The board put the Wildcats in 14th place, but they can’t stay there after allowing the rebels 48 points at halftime. Kentucky has been No. 5 in Bracketology since Monday.
Much like wild cats from the SEC, Arizona she seems to be missing something as the postseason arrives. In fact, Arizona hasn’t played so well in the past two weeks. After battling last place in California, the Wildcats scored 48 points in a loss at Stanford and then allowed State of Arizona, the second worst shooting team in the Pac-12, scored 10 three-pointers.
Despite the trend, the board put Arizona in 2nd place, ahead of Baylor and Louisville on the overall list. It was a dubious call that looks even worse now after the Sun Devils overtime. There’s no way Wildcats can now remain No. 2 seed, and it’s unlikely they’ll be able to get back there without some help. Arizona has a three-seed screening on Monday.
The inclusion of the Ducks in the top 16 was a confusing discovery decision. For every other team on the roster, there seemed to be a strong emphasis on quality wins. Oregon is 0-6 against the NET top 25. His best win was against the same Oregon State team that the Ducks lost to on Sunday. Oregon’s 8 NET rating – and not much else – seems to impress the board.
Since mid-January, the ducks have also struggled to stay competitive in losses from good teams. In a couple of defeats from Arizona and in one to UCLA, Oregon lost by an average of 21 points. Despite a close defeat by Stanford over the past period, the Ducks – who came into the weekend losing three of their last four games – don’t seem convinced they consider themselves one of the top 16 teams in the country. That seems to be confirmed by Sunday’s 11-point defeat by Beavers. All that is missing for the decisive race to the finals of the Pac-12 tournament, should leave the Ducks out of the first four holders of the selection Monday.
The good news for Pac-12 is this Oregon StateThe win – Beavers ’second in a row against NET’s top-10 opponents on the road – certainly puts her on the field. In two weeks, the Beavers moved from Next Four Out to 10th place in this week’s screening. Oregon State has postponed or canceled 11 games, more than any other team in the conference. Now that they’re starting to play consistently, the Beavers are moving in the right direction – just the opposite of their state rival. Oregon is the No. 5 seed on Monday.