The time has come. The Women’s NCAA Tournament begins this Friday and the bracket has been released to the masses. Many fun pairings were on Monday and it is shaping up to be an eventful tournament. Furthermore, the seeding left numerous pundits looking and analyzing this year’s bracket.
In other words: the women’s bracket is going to be awesome. Let’s dive in and look at some of the details of the bracket.
The bracket was released…earlier than expected.
By all means, ESPN was going to release the bracket during its Selection Monday special at 7 p.m. Monday evening. Unfortunately, thanks to the eyes of Blake DuDonis of High Post Hoops who noticed it, the women’s bracket was mistakenly shown on ESPNU early in the day. Check out his Twitter post below.
In what can only be described as remarkable, the #NCAAW bracket was just on ESPNU by mistaken. I’ve managed to grab three sections of it if anyone else wants to help fill it out.
Spoiler: UCF & Tennessee are IN pic.twitter.com/xzpKpGpjdT
— Blake DuDonis (@BlakeDuDonis) March 18, 2019
ESPN released a statement in regard to this surprise announcement on Monday:
“In working with the NCAA to prepare for tonight’s Women’s Selection Special we received the bracket, similar to years past. In the midst of our preparation, the bracket was mistakenly posted on ESPNU. We deeply regret the error and extend our apology to the NCAA and the women’s basketball community. We will conduct a thorough review of our process to ensure it doesn’t happen in the future. We will now broadcast the full bracket at 5 p.m. ET on ESPN2, and the regularly-scheduled show on ESPN at 7 p.m.”
To put it differently, ESPN had an “oops” moment and immediately made change.
In due time, thanks to ESPN’s snafu, we were able to see some eye opening details about the bracket.
UConn is not a one-seed
Surprisingly, the Connecticut Huskies did not receive a one-seed in this year’s NCAA tournament. This will be the first time since 2006 that UConn was not a top-seed. Instead, the Huskies will be the two-seed in the Albany region.
In that region, Louisville is the one-seed. Under those circumstances, this sets up a potential rematch from the regular season. Louisville defeated UConn 78-69 back in January.
Various analysts and experts are questioning the validity of UConn being a two-seed. There are some good facts that supports UConn getting a one-seed this season. For example, Connecticut was the No. 2 ranked team in the country in the Associated Press top 25 poll and finished No. 6 in the RPI.
Along with that, UConn was able to win the AAC regular season and conference tournament championships. Louisville finished second to Notre Dame in the ACC.
However, when it comes to the NCAA Tournament, Louisville has some strengths, helping be the one-seed in their region. As previously stated, the Cardinals own a victory over the Huskies. Also, Louisville has a better RPI and strength of schedule. Because of the (lack of) strength in the AAC, UConn had the 31st strongest schedule.
Either way, it looks like we are on a train ride to seeing these two programs collide in the regional final potentially.
Tennessee Gets In
Beginning with legendary head coach Pat Summitt, the Tennessee Lady Vols have made an appearance in every NCAA Tournament. That streak will continue.
The Lady Vols were in unfamiliar territory this season leading up to Selection Monday. The team ranks 60th in RPI and was either the “Last Four IN” or the “Last Four Out”. Those were known as The Debatable 8. Fortunately, Tennessee made it into the field of 64 this year. The Lady Vols will be an 11-seed in the Albany region
Certainly, the Lady Vols was enjoying the roller coaster that was leading up to their selection into the tournament. With attention to the RPI, Tennessee was on the end of some devastating losses. Coach Warlick was experiencing some backlash during those games where Tennessee lost to Missouri, Kentucky, Georgia, Alabama, Arkansas and Notre Dame.
For those reasons, you would think Tennessee would not get in the tournament this year. In this case, after coming on strong late, the Lady Vols are still going dancing.
Who was left out?
As mentioned, the committee was mulling over The Debatable 8 going into Selection Monday.
The final eight teams in consideration for the #ncaaW Tournament.
— NCAA WBB (@ncaawbb) March 17, 2019
In short, Tennessee, UCF, Indiana, Auburn and Princeton made it into the NCAA Tournament. Unfortunately, Arkanasa, TCU and Ohio were left out.
Beginning with Ohio, the Bobcats finished the regular season as the MAC champions and going 27-5. The deciding factor was losing to Buffalo in the MAC tournament championship game. They will be receiving an invite to the WNIT likely. Next with TCU, they were 20-14 this season and finished sixth in the Big 12 this season. Finally, the Arkansas Razorbacks finished tenth in the SEC, just behind Tennessee. The season ended for Arkansas after being defeated by Mississippi State in the conference tournament championship.
As for streaks making the NCAA Tournament, the streak of the Oklahoma Sooners is snapped at 19 straight appearances. It was the fifth longest streak in the country of making the Women’s NCAA Tournament.
You can listen to and subscribe to the CBB Today Podcast on iTunes right here.
As always, don’t forget to subscribe to our college basketball, Women’s NCAA Tournament and NBA Draft email newsletter below. It’s the only way to survive the impending alien invasion.