We are a little past the midway mark of the 2020-21 women's college basketball season and about a month and a half from Selection Monday. That's as good a time as any to make and break down my second predictions for the 2021 NCAA DI women's basketball tournament bracket.
We'll get to see the NCAA bracket for real when it's revealed during the tournament selection show at 7 p.m. Eastern on Monday, March 15, on ESPN.
These are my predictions only and are based on action I've seen through Jan. 25, remaining schedules, top players and intangibles. The tournament will work a little differently this year because of the pandemic. You can read the latest from the NCAA here.
Here are my latest predictions (click or tap here to open a larger version of the bracket):
Here's my bracket in table form:
|SEED||Region 1||region 2||region 3||region 4|
|1||Louisville||UConn||NC State||South Carolina|
|16||Arkansas State||Wofford||High Point||St. Francis (Pa.)|
|8||Alabama||Georgia Tech||Missouri State||South Dakota|
|9||Florida State||FGCU||UCF||Michigan State|
|13||Dayton||Long Beach State||Colorado State||Wake Forest|
|6||Northwestern||West Virginia||Mississippi State||Tennessee|
|14||California Baptist||Marist||UT Martin||Maine|
|7||Arizona State||Texas||Syracuse||Iowa State|
|10||Notre Dame||South Dakota St.||Washington State||Nebraska|
|15||Alabama State||North Carolina A&T||Kent State||Idaho State|
Louisville, NC State, South Carolina and UConn are my No. 1 seeds
Three out of four of my No. 1 seeds are undefeated right now — Louisville, NC State and UConn. Louisville is No. 1 in the AP Top 25 and boasts a versatile squad with four Cardinals averaging in double digits, led by All-America guard Dana Evans. NC State also has a dominant offensive force with four players in double figures. The postponed ACC matchup between Louisville and NC State would have given us a preview of who the No. 1 team is — instead we'll have to wait until Feb. 1 to find out when those teams meet at 7 p.m. in Louisville.
UConn has cruised through the Big East, including a victory over No. 19 DePaul (who I have as a five seed). The Huskies hadn't trailed against a team all season until their first scare against No. 25 Tennessee, but prevailed over the Lady Vols.
South Carolina, on the other hand, has one loss on its record after falling to NC State earlier this season. No other team has came in their way since then and they have ranked wins against top-25 opponents Gonzaga, Kentucky, Georgia and Arkansas.
Of course, these top seeds could change before we get to March. Stanford, for example, would have been in this mix but the back-to-back upsets to Colorado and UCLA dropped the Cardinal to my No. 3 seed.
A QUICK GUIDE: 2021 NCAA women's basketball tournament dates, schedule
Texas A&M, Baylor, Maryland and UCLA are my No. 2 seeds — which features two Big 12 teams. I have Baylor taking home the Big 12 title in March and Maryland doing the same in the Big Ten. As for Texas A&M, the Aggies went on an undefeated streak until LSU snapped their winning run at 13-0. Despite the loss, Texas A&M has faced a tough schedule and have defeated six ranked opponents so far. The Bruins have looked strong and upset Oregon and Stanford in the Pac-12.
Last four in
- Oklahoma State
- Wake Forest
First four out
Let's go a little beyond the field of 64 to make some predictions on the bubble for the tournament.
- North Carolina
My automatic qualifiers
|American Athletic||South Florida|
|ASUN||Florida Gulf Coast|
|Big Sky||Idaho State|
|Big South||High Point|
|Big West||Long Beach State|
|Colonial Athletic Association||Delaware|
|Ivy||Will not player winter season*|
|MEAC||North Carolina A&T|
|Missouri Valley||Missouri State|
|Mountain West||Colorado State|
|Northeast||St. Frances (Pa.)|
|Ohio Valley||UT Martin|
|Southland||Stephen F. Austin|
|Summit League||South Dakota State|
|Sun Belt||Arkansas State|
|Western Athletic Conference||California Baptist|
*The Ivy League announced it would not player winter sports earlier this season. I added an extra at-large bid to make up the field of 64.
My preseason bracket can be found here. I'll make one more prediction before the NCAA women's basketball tournament begins.