The NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Championship Sport Committee on Monday provided the first of three regular-season top-16 rankings in seed order, with UConn, Baylor, South Carolina and Mississippi State earning No. 1 seeds if the season ended Monday.
With 50 days remaining before Selection Monday on March 13, the committee also included Florida State, Washington, Notre Dame, Oregon State, Maryland, Texas, Duke, Stanford, Louisville, UCLA, Kentucky and Arizona State in the top 16.
The 2017 Division I Women’s Basketball Championship will again have non-predetermined sites for the first and second rounds, with the top 16 seeds hosting play Friday, March 17 and Sunday, March 19, and Saturday, March 18, and Monday, March 20. After regional-round play from March 24 to March 27, the 2017 Women’s Final Four will be played March 31 and April 2 in Dallas.
“We knew as a committee that identifying a top 16 this early in the season would be a challenge, and it lived up to that expectation,” said Terry Gawlik, chair of the committee and senior associate athletics director at Wisconsin. “The committee had in-depth discussions about all of the teams on the list and their seed order. There were numerous other teams in the conversation for top 16, each with factors that merited them being in the mix. Every team in this initial discussion has challenging games coming up, and we look forward to revisiting the rankings in a couple of weeks.”
The current top four seeds are all familiar names to collegiate women’s basketball fans. UConn, the defending four-time national champion, is currently riding a record 93-game winning streak as the No. 1 team in the country with a record of 18-0 overall and 6-0 in the American Athletic Conference. Baylor, ranked second, is 19-1 overall and 8-0 in Big 12 Conference play, with its only loss at the hands of UConn on Nov. 17 by a 72-61 count. South Carolina and Mississippi State, which met in an important Southeastern Conference matchup on Jan. 23, are the third- and fourth-seeded teams, respectively. South Carolina, 16-1 and 6-0, will also face off against UConn on Feb. 13 in Storrs, Connecticut. Mississippi State, 20-0 and 6-0, is off to its best start in program history.
The Jan. 23 ranking is the first of three times the top 16 seeds will be announced by the committee during the regular season, with future ranking dates coming up again on Feb. 6 and Feb. 20. The three announcements will have no bearing on the final bracket that will be revealed on Selection Monday, March 13, at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN.
NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Championship Sport Committee
Jan. 23 – Top-16 Ranking:
- South Carolina
- Mississippi State
- Florida State
- Notre Dame
- Oregon State
- Arizona State