UConn back as women's top seed

The quartet of top seeds all have a legitimate chance to win the event, but don't count out defending champion SC, who is a No. 2 seed in UConn's region.

The NCAA Tournament bracket was revealed Monday night and it was full of both the expected and the shocking. "We saw that a year ago".

SC likely awaits UConn in the 2018 tournament's Elite Eight. Last season, UConn came into the NCAAs as the overwhelming favorite before their 111-game winning streak ended with a loss to Mississippi State in the Final Four.

'We've won a national championship as a two seed, we've won it as a one seed, ' she said.

Like the Huskies, the Irish are a No. 1 seed again.

On the top end of the bracket sits No. 12 Oklahoma, which features two seniors to watch - center Vionise Pierre-Louis (15.7 ppg, 8.8 rpg) and guard Gabbi Ortiz (12.2 ppg, 80 3pg) - as the Sooners were a surprise pick to make the NCAA Tournament for the 19th straight year. This might be one of coach Muffet McGraw's finest accomplishments as Notre Dame lost four pivotal players to injury, but only three games on the season.

Notre Dame (29-3) gets the top seed in Spokane, but would have to play what amounts to a road game in the regional final if No. 2 seeded OR makes it that far. If Notre Dame advances, the Irish would head out west to potentially face No. 2 seed OR if the seeds hold.

OR coach Kelly Graves is very familiar with Spokane, having coached Gonzaga from 2000-1014, leading the Zags to a regional final in 2012.

Their only defeat came at the hands of SC in the SEC tournament final, a result that the Gamecocks used as a statement of intent. The Sooners are the first team since 2005 to get an at-large with only 16 wins and they went just 1-8 against RPI top-50 teams. Following the Cardinals are three teams that have won the NCAA Tournament: No. 2 seed Baylor, No. 3 seed Tennessee and No. 4 seed Stanford, with Baylor and Tennessee each hoisting the trophy twice in the past 13 years. While the Lady Vols have been in the NCAA Tournament every year since it began in 1982, Nicholls State, Northern Colorado, Mercer and Seattle will be making their first appearances.

No. 1 Mississippi State def. With most of their players back from last season's runner-up finish - including Morgan William, who hit the game-winner in overtime to knock off UConn - the Bulldogs hope to make another deep NCAA run. The Cardinals will likely get Stanford or a potentially underrated Missouri team in the Sweet Sixteen. Purdue, Rutgers, Southern Cal and West Virginia were the first four teams out. "We took as long as it took to get those teams into the bracket".

"'We felt there was a razor-thin margin between Baylor and Notre Dame, ' said NCAA women's basketball committee chair Rhonda Bennett".

  • Stacy Allen