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Mitchell Northam | | February 7, 2020

2020 NCAA women's basketball bracket: Predicted a month before selections

Plays of the week: Holy Cross gets creative with a behind-the-back pass

We're a little more than a month away from the 2020 NCAA DI women's selection show so we asked basketball expert Michelle Smith to fill out a projected women's bracket based on everything she has seen so far this season.

These are her picks alone and are predictions for who will be in the field when it is revealed Monday, March 16, during the selection show.

This is Smith's third bracket prediction this season. She filled out one in the season's opening week, and then another when we were about 100 days away from selections.

MEMORABLE: 11 numbers we’ll remember from the first half of the 2019-20 women’s basketball season

We'll break down her bracket and predictions in a second, but let's take a look at it first. (Click or tap here to open the bracket in a new window.) women's basketball expert Michelle Smith predicted the 2020 NCAA tournament field about 40 days before the selection women's basketball expert Michelle Smith predicted the 2020 NCAA tournament field about 40 days before the selection show.


And here's that same bracket in table form.

  Greenville, S.C. Dallas, TX Portland, OR Fort Wayne, IN
1 South Carolina Baylor Oregon Louisville
16 North Carolina A&T Kansas City Campbell Abilene Christian
8 South Dakota Drake Virginia Tech Central Michigan
9 Rutgers Marquette Texas West Virginia
5 TCU Florida State Kentucky Texas A&M
12 Fresno State WKU Colorado Old Dominion
4 Iowa Arizona DePaul Northwestern
13 Colgate Troy Belmont IUPUI
6 Arkansas Tennessee Arizona State Indiana
11 Rice FGCU Dayton Ohio
3 UCLA Gonzaga Mississippi State Oregon State
14 James Madison UNCG Rider Montana State
7 Princeton Missouri State North Carolina LSU
10 Purdue Creighton St. John's Michigan
2 N.C. State Stanford Maryland UConn
15 Texas Southern UC Davis Stony Brook Robert Morris

KEEP AN EYE ON: Princeton, UNC and FGCU are three unranked teams to watch

Oregon, Baylor, Louisville and South Carolina are No. 1 seeds

Smith's No. 1 seeds have changed since her last bracket prediction. Stanford and UConn are out. South Carolina and Louisville are in.

Getting a No. 1 seed and getting placed in Greenville would be huge for Dawn Staley's Gamecocks, as Columbia, S.C. is just a 90-minute drive from the regional site. This could give the Gamecocks a home-court advantage through the regionals as they try to get back to the Final Four for the first time since they won it all in 2017. Staley's squad is No. 1 in the AP Top 25 Poll and has won 16 straight games.

Since losing a neutral site game to South Carolina in November, Baylor — the reigning champs — have rolled and are on a 13-game winning streak, a run that includes a pair of impressive wins over ranked teams in UConn and West Virginia. The Lady Bears have the second-best offense in the country and the third-best defense in the country in terms of points scored and allowed per game. A season ago, they played their Sweet 16 and Elite Eight games in Greensboro, North Carolina. Playing closer to home in Dallas this season would certainly be an advantage for Kim Mulkey's team.

2019 FINAL FOUR: Baylor is old school | DiDi Richards' heroics | Win over Notre Dame | Smith steps up

Louisville suffered just its second loss of the season Thursday night, falling at home to No. 17 Florida State. Still, Smith thinks the Cardinals will have a resume fit for a No. 1 seed as they've notched wins over ranked teams in Oregon and Kentucky. A big match-up awaits Jeff Walz's side on Feb. 13, when they travel to No. 7 N.C. State for a battle that could have an impact on seeding in the ACC and NCAA tournaments. Louisville has been led this season by Dana Evans, who is averaging 18.7 points, 2.8 rebounds and 4.4 assists per game.

Oregon isn't invincible this season, but they've still proven that they can play with — and beat — the best that women's college basketball has to offer. While the Ducks suffered losses to Louisville and Arizona State, they've also posted wins over ranked teams in UConn, Oregon State, Stanford and Arizona. In a year where the Pac-12 is loaded with talented and competitive teams, getting the No. 1 seed in Portland — the only regional based on the west coast this year — is crucial for the Ducks. Kelly Graves' team, led by the supremely talented Sabrina Ionescu, has shown it has what it takes to get back to the Final Four.

SABRINA IONESCU TRACKER: Where we left off with Oregon's triple-double record-breaker

Top 16

  • 1 SEEDS — Oregon, Baylor, Louisville, South Carolina
  • 2 SEEDS — Maryland, Stanford, UConn, N.C. State
  • 3 SEEDS — Mississippi State, Gonzaga, Oregon State, UCLA
  • 4 SEEDS — DePaul, Arizona, Northwestern, Iowa

HOW ABOUT THE COMMITTEE? What the women's basketball committee's Top 16 reveal means

Automatic Qualifiers

  • America East — Stony Brook
  • American Athletic Conference — UConn
  • Atlantic 10 — Dayton
  • ACC — Louisville
  • ASUN — Florida Gulf Coast
  • Big 12 — Baylor
  • Big East — DePaul
  • Big Sky — Montana State
  • Big South — Campbell
  • Big Ten — Maryland
  • Big West — UC Davis
  • Colonial Athletic Association — James Madison
  • Conference USA — Rice
  • Horizon — IUPUI
  • Ivy League — Princeton
  • MAAC — Rider
  • Mid-American — Ohio 
  • MEAC — North Carolina A&T 
  • Missouri Valley — Missouri State
  • Mountain West — Fresno State
  • Northeast — Robert Morris
  • Ohio Valley — Belmont
  • Pac 12 — Oregon
  • Patriot — Colgate
  • SEC — South Carolina
  • SoCon — UNCG
  • Southland — Abilene Christian
  • SWAC — Texas Southern
  • Summit League — South Dakota
  • Sun Belt — Troy
  • West Coast — Gonzaga
  • Western Athletic Conference — Kansas City

SABRINA'S IMPACT: 5 things that make Sabrina Ionescu a singular talent

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