Alexa PhilippouESPN6 Minute Read
The Stanford Cardinal and Virginia Tech Hokies earned the extremely contested ultimate two No. 1 seeds within the 2023 NCAA ladies’s basketball match, the bracket for which was revealed solely on ESPN as a part of Selection Sunday.
On the No. 1 seed line, the Pac-12 regular-season co-champion Cardinal and the ACC match champion Hokies be a part of the Big Ten regular-season champion Indiana Hoosiers in addition to the highest total seed — the undefeated, defending nationwide champion South Carolina Gamecocks.
Both Virginia Tech and Indiana earned 1-seeds for the primary time in class historical past. No. 1 seeds have gained the championship at 10 straight NCAA tournaments.
With reigning nationwide participant of the yr Aliyah Boston main the best way, South Carolina — which hasn’t misplaced a sport in over a calendar yr — is six wins from changing into the fourth program to repeat as nationwide champions (becoming a member of UConn, Tennessee and Southern California) in addition to the fifth to finish an undefeated season (alongside UConn six instances, Tennessee, Texas and Baylor).
The ultimate two slots on the 1-seed line have been thought-about pretty open heading into Selection Sunday; in line with NCAA ladies’s basketball committee chair Lisa Peterson, the Iowa Hawkeyes and UConn Huskies, which gained the Big Ten and Big East tournaments, respectively, additionally have been thought-about for the spots.
“Virginia Tech is on an 11-game profitable streak, and the best way that they’ve performed on the finish of the season, after which of their convention match, was the rationale why they ended up on the one line,” Peterson mentioned. “They, additionally like Stanford, had 20 wins within the [NET] high 100.”
Though Stanford shockingly dropped two of its final three video games in Pac-12 play, the Cardinal’s physique of labor was strong sufficient to maintain them as a 1-seed. In comparability, UConn had 19 wins over the NET high 100, whereas Iowa had 18.
The Huskies handled a slew of accidents this season, most prominently with former No. 1 recruit Azzi Fudd getting sidelined for 2 prolonged stretches with knee points. She has solely appeared in 12 video games this season however returned for the Big East match.
“It was a really troublesome dialog, and positively all of us are very properly conscious of the accidents that Connecticut had had,” Peterson mentioned. “And whereas these video games might have ended up in a different way if their lineup had been completely different, we will not discredit that these ended up being losses. But on the similar time, they seem to be a actually good workforce and deserving of the place they’re on that 2-line.”
Iowa suffered 4 losses by way of Jan. 1 however has solely misplaced twice since, to Indiana and the Maryland Terrapins.
“Iowa was [in the conversation] as properly, and positively the best way that they have been enjoying, that final second shot towards Indiana within the common season after which how they managed themselves all through the Big Ten match, they have been undoubtedly part of the dialog,” Petersen mentioned. “In all honesty, it was most likely the Iowa-Stanford dialog that was the longest.”
Iowa and UConn now find yourself on the No. 2 seed line, together with Maryland and the Utah Utes, with Maryland showing in South Carolina’s quadrant, Iowa in Stanford’s, Utah in Indiana’s and UConn in Virginia Tech’s. Powered by nationwide participant of the yr contender Caitlin Clark, Iowa seeks to advance to this system’s first Final Four since 1993 (when it was coached by the legendary C. Vivian Stringer). UConn, which fell within the title sport to South Carolina final season, is on a quest to play in a report fifteenth consecutive Final Four and win the college’s twelfth nationwide championship, which might be its first since 2016.
Considered a lock as a No. 1 alongside the Gamecocks, the Hoosiers are hoping to construct upon this system historical past they established the previous two tournaments, advancing to the Elite Eight in 2021 for the primary time, then making the Sweet 16 the yr after.
Virginia Tech — one of many hottest groups within the nation getting into the match — has by no means superior previous the Sweet 16, which it final performed in in 1999. The Cardinal, who’ve been to 2 consecutive Final Fours, want to win a fourth nationwide title and second in three years after clinching the 2021 championship within the San Antonio “bubble.”
The Hokies and the Hawkeyes each noticed the rewards of their stellar latest play, every transferring up a seed line because the NCAA ladies’s basketball committee’s final early reveal on Feb. 23.
The different groups that may host first- and second-round competitors are the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, Duke Blue Devils, Ohio State Buckeyes and LSU Tigers (all 3-seeds), together with the UCLA Bruins, Villanova Wildcats, Texas Longhorns and Tennessee Lady Vols (all 4-seeds). The Buckeyes, Bruins, Wildcats, Longhorns and Lady Vols all fell of their convention match finals. Tennessee stays the one workforce that has appeared in each iteration of the NCAA match.
“I might say the entire 5 line, after which Iowa State [which won the Big 12 tournament championship Sunday] mainly performed their approach into that this previous week … there’s most likely 5 groups that we have been contemplating on that  line [to host],” Peterson mentioned on the groups within the mixture of internet hosting.
The final 4 groups out have been Columbia, Kansas, UMass and Oregon, in line with the NCAA.
UCLA and Tennessee — which upset Stanford and LSU, respectively, of their league tournaments — have been among the many greatest risers because the final early reveal, changing the Michigan Wolverines and Arizona Wildcats within the high 16. Meanwhile LSU fell from the No. 2 line to the 3-seed line, and Utah from a 1-seed to a 2-seed after bowing out early in convention match play.
Four packages will make their NCAA match debuts: Saint Louis, Sacramento State, Southeastern Louisiana and Southern Utah. The ACC led the best way eight groups incomes berths, adopted by seven for the SEC, Pac-12 and Big Ten, plus six for the Big 12 and 5 for the Big East.
The 2023 match will function two regionals, changing the earlier four-site format, with Sweet 16 and Elite Eight video games occurring March 24-27 in Greenville, South Carolina, and Seattle. The regionals shall be referred to as Greenville 1, Greenville 2, Seattle 3 and Seattle 4.
For the second yr, the ladies’s match will embody 68 groups, with First Four video games to be held Wednesday and Thursday at campus host websites. Those matchups are: Sacred Heart vs. Southern (each 16-seeds), Tennessee Tech vs. Monmouth (each 16-seeds), Illinois vs. Mississippi State (each 11-seeds) and Purdue vs. St. John’s (each 11-seeds).
First-round competitors will happen Friday and Saturday, with second-round video games continuing Sunday and Monday. The Final Four shall be held on the American Airlines Center in Dallas on March 31 (nationwide semifinals) and April 2 (nationwide championship sport).