Colorado a top seed in early women’s NCAA Tournament reveal

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Colorado players celebrate after defeating LSU in an NCAA college basketball game Monday, Nov. 6, 2023, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)

By Doug Feinberg/AP

South Carolina, Stanford, Ohio State and Colorado would be the No. 1 seeds in the NCAA Tournament if it began now.

The NCAA women’s basketball selection committee on Thursday did its first reveal of the teams in line for the top 16 seeds.

“It was extremely challenging this year, but it needs to be remembered that this is just a snapshot,” NCAA women’s basketball selection committee chair Lisa Peterson said in a phone interview Thursday. “We were talking about this two weeks ago and it didn’t look like this then. It will continue to change.”

Peterson said the committee has been thoroughly impressed with what coach Dawn Staley has done at South Carolina with a new starting five.

“What Dawn has done this season can’t be understated,” Peterson said.

Just outside the top four teams were Caitlin Clark and Iowa, which is ranked No. 4 in the AP poll. The Hawkeyes, last year's national runners-up, were projected as a 2 seed.

The top 16 seeds will host first- and second-round games with the regional rounds being played at two neutral sites for the second straight year. Portland, Oregon, will host half of the Sweet 16 and Albany, New York, will host the other eight teams.

South Carolina and Ohio State were projected as the top seeds in the Albany Regional with Stanford and Colorado in Portland. The unbeaten Gamecocks were the overall No. 1 seed.

Joining the Gamecocks in their bracket were No. 2 UCLA, No. 3 UConn and No. 4 Louisville.

Peterson said UCLA was moved from a different region to ensure that the bracketing principle of keeping the top four teams in a conference in different regions was protected. The Pac-12 had five of the top 16 seeds.

The Buckeyes would have No. 2 seed N.C. State, No. 3 Southern Cal and No. 4 LSU.

The other top teams in Stanford’s region were No. 2 Texas, No. 3 Oregon State and No. 4 Indiana. Colorado would be joined by Iowa, Virginia Tech and Kansas State.

Teams just outside the top 16 included Notre Dame, Syracuse, Utah and Gonzaga. Peterson said that there was a long discussion about whether the Zags or Louisville should be the 16th team. As of now the Cardinals had a slight edge.

The Final Four will be played in Cleveland on April 5 and the NCAA championship game is two days later.

The NCAA has been doing in-season reveals since 2015 to give teams an early idea of where they could be come selection night. Thursday's reveal did not factor in the games scheduled for later that night. The NCAA will have one more reveal on Feb. 29 before the real seedings are announced on March 17.