With 43 days still to play out before Selection Monday, the NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Championship Sport Committee provided a sneak peek in regard to their current thought process on Monday, providing the first of three February top-10 rankings in seed order.
The committee tabbed UConn, South Carolina, Notre Dame and Baylor as the top four teams in the country as of Feb. 1, while Texas, Ohio State, Arizona State, Oregon State, Maryland and UCLA all followed in receiving top-10 billing. The committee also noted that Florida State, Louisville, Mississippi State and Texas A&M were in the conversation for a top-10 ranking.
“One of the committee objectives in releasing the top 10 was to generate conversation about women's basketball, and that certainly has been accomplished,” said Chris Dawson, chair of the committee and associate commissioner at the Pac-12 Conference. “The committee had in-depth discussions about both the teams on the list, and their rank order. There were numerous other teams in the conversation, each with factors that merited them being in the mix. Every team in this initial top 10 will have its challenges over the next month, and we look forward to revisiting the rankings in a couple of weeks.”
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The current top four seeds are all very familiar names to collegiate women’s basketball fans. UConn, the defending three-time national champion, is currently riding a 57-game winning streak as the No. 1 team in the country with a record of 20-0 overall and 10-0 in the American Athletic Conference. South Carolina, also undefeated at 21-0 and on top of the Southeastern Conference with a 9-0 mark, was ranked second by the committee in the first ranking. In an intriguing upcoming matchup, UConn will face South Carolina on the road next Monday, Feb. 8. Ranked third currently, Notre Dame, 20-1 overall and 8-0 in the Atlantic Coast Conference, is looking to make a sixth straight trip to the Women’s Final Four in 2016, while Baylor, ranked fourth, is currently 21-1 overall and on top of the Big 12 Conference with an 8-1 mark.
The Feb. 1 ranking is the first of three times the potential seeding will be announced during February, with future ranking dates coming up again on the 15th and 29th. The initial announcement on each of those days will take place at halftime of the Big Monday games taking place on ESPN2. The three February announcements will have no bearing on the final bracket that will be revealed on Selection Monday, March 14, at 7 p.m. on ESPN.
February 1 – Top 10 Ranking
Others receiving consideration: Florida State, Louisville, Mississippi State and Texas A&M.