With the ACC, Pac-12 and SEC tournaments in the books, it looks like it will sit No. 1 for the 2021 NCAA Women’s Tournament. Stanford is the latest world number 1 Bracketology screening through Sunday games, followed by UConn, Texas A&M and South Carolina.
South Carolina, by winning the SEC tournament and dominating Stanford in the Pac-12 tournament, eliminated all great opportunities to move to the top of the line. Had Georgia beaten the Gamecocks on Sunday, and had Louisville held out against NC State in an ACC championship game, a few things related to 1st place would still be available.
Now the debate is over, with the possible exception of whether South Carolina or the state of Northern California should be the last first place. Whether you’re sitting on the SEC or ACC side of that fence, winning their respective conference tournaments means Gamecocks and Wolfpack have won overall places 4 and 5. And every time Maryland or Baylor might have to raise to the top line while going through conferences Big Ten or Big 12 is now blocked.
That attention is redirected to the bladder or teams joking because of the semen.
Only four of the possible 12 teams in the current Last Four Entries / First Four Exits / The next four exits have remaining games: UCF (currently in the Last Four Entries), BYU, Houston (First Four Exits) and Oklahoma (Next Four Out). Obviously these are the teams to watch this week.
Yet many other teams have a chance to win or lose based on what happens at other conference tournaments across the country. Here’s a look at what to look for in this final week before the brackets are released on selection Monday, March 15 (ESPN / ESPN app, 7pm ET).
Lady: The chances of the Irish that the terrain seems small, but there is a scenario in which this could happen. If UCF and BYU come out early in the AAC and WCC tournaments, and the favorites win those two leagues – as well as Atlantic Sun, Missouri Valley and the Summit – Notre Dame could return as the last team on the field. But a series of consecutive NCAA tournament programs (24) is definitely at stake.
DePaul, Mississippi and Wake Forest: Blue demons and bulldogs have suffered the biggest drop in the last three weeks in any team being considered for the NCAA tournament. DePaul’s losses to Butler and Creighton may have been enough to completely ruin his chances in any other season. Since no Ivy League participant and the state of Ohio share a postseason with a self-imposed ban, two more big deals are actually available – and the Blue Demons are holding their ground. The state of Mississippi’s run at the end of the regular season and SEC tournament wasn’t quite as bad as DePaul, who has lost four of his last five games but was close. Wake Forest has six top-50 NET wins, but also finished just 12-12, and also lost four of five to the finish.
All three of these teams need chalk to happen across the country. They especially need the Florida Gulf Coast, a huge favorite on the A-Sun, to win the tournament title as well. The Eagles will make the NCAA tournament as wide if they don’t win this week. That would give A-Sun another team on the field, and one less place for bubbles. The same can be said for Gonzaga at the WCC, Missouri State at the MVC and South Florida at the AAC.
Summit League: The first potential bubble hit came on Saturday when the injured state of South Dakota, the champion of the regular season of the Summit League, lost in the quarterfinals. South Dakota is the new favorite at the Summit tournament. The Coyotes have already been included in the field with 64 teams, and if they win the Summit tournament, it won’t affect the bubbles. If one of the remaining teams wins, it could eat up second place and the bubble shrink again.
Jackrabbits have lost conference player of the year Myah Selland and fourth-ranked top scorer Tori Nelson due to injuries from the three games remaining in the regular season, but an offer for the NCAA tournament is still coming. It is important to remember that the board uses the full range of team work to select a field with 64 teams. Injuries and players are no longer able to withstand the blow of sowing, but not selection. Once upon a time, the state of South Dakota looked like seed no. 6, and now project no. 9.
Michigan State: The Spartans are not officially a balloon team, but they are the first team above the Last Four In, and a quick exit from the Big Ten tournament would be detrimental to their NCAA tournament hopes. All of the scenarios described above would then equally risk the state of Michigan. To conclude the big deal, the Spartans – who have respectable NETs of 41 but lack high wins – need Indiana’s quarterfinal upset.