Who Will Be the No. 1 Seeds in the Women's Tournament?
After winning the ACC tournament title, Maryland women are "definitely" a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament along with Connecticut and Oklahoma, according to Charlie Creme, ESPN's women's basketball bracketologist. The Terrapins (28-4), who will host first and second-round games in Comcast Center on March 22 and 24, will likely be placed in the Raleigh regional, with the Huskies going to Trenton and the Sooners sent to Oklahoma City.
The Terrapins are "playing as well as anybody in the country, sans U-Conn.," Creme said during a conference call earlier this afternoon. "I think a lot of what gets said today and in the next week will be with that prepositional phrase, 'other than U-Conn.'"
As for the fourth No. 1 seed, Creme has Duke—the team that Maryland topped in a thrilling overtime final on Sunday, 92-89—heading west to Berkeley. He explained that the Blue Devils (26-5) have the best wins among the other candidates: Louisville (five wins vs. teams in the RPI top 25, according to collegerpi.com), Auburn (five), Baylor (six) and Stanford (five). Duke has seven victories over teams in the RPI top 25, including one over Stanford. But Creme also said that an impressive run by the Cardinal to the Pac-10 tournament title might be enough to give them the final No. 1 seed.
The difference between a No. 1 and No. 2 seed could be huge for the Blue Devils, according to Creme. If Stanford gets the top seed in Berkeley, that could open up the possibility of Duke becoming the No. 2 seed in Trenton—the one region everyone wants to avoid because of U-Conn. Raleigh could be a possibility, but that would put two teams from the same conference as the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds in the same region.
"I know the committee caught a lot of flack last year for doing that with U-Conn. and Rutgers. I'm going to guess that they may try to avoid that if possible," Creme said. "So that maybe puts Duke in Trenton, and that puts them with U-Conn.… That fourth No. 1 is very important for those two chief reasons: the geography and let's avoid the Huskies."
Overall, Creme has seven teams from the ACC making the field of 64: Maryland, Duke, North Carolina, Florida State, Virginia, Georgia Tech, and Boston College. Wake Forest--which nearly upset the Terrapins on Friday in the ACC quarterfinals before falling, 72-70--hasn't done enough.
"They really don't have any big-time wins outside the league," Creme said of the Demon Deacons, who are 19-11 and went 5-9 in ACC play. "That's ultimately what will kill them. When you're four games below .500 in a league—even one as good as the ACC—and you don't have anything of real marquee value outside of the league, it's kind of tough to build a case."
The NCAA tournament brackets will be released next Monday.
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