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Rick Nixon | | January 27, 2022

First top 16 early reveal announced in DI women’s basketball

Committee chair Nina King breaks down first women's basketball top-16 rankings of 2022

The NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Committee has tabbed South Carolina, Stanford, NC State and Tennessee as the No. 1 seeds in the first top 16 early reveal.

If the season ended today, Louisville, Indiana, Texas and Arizona would be the No. 2 seeds. The nine through 16 seeds feature Michigan, Iowa State, UConn and LSU on the three line, while Baylor, Oregon, Georgia and Kansas State were tabbed as No. 4 seeds.

In addition, the committee provided region assignments for all 16 seeds. The Bridgeport Region included NC State, Indiana, LSU and Baylor. South Carolina would be joined by Arizona, Michigan and Kansas State in the Greensboro Region. The Spokane Region included Stanford, along with Texas, UConn and Georgia. Tennessee was the top seed in the Wichita Region, joined by Louisville, Iowa State and Oregon.

MORE TOP 16: Here's our breakdown of the first top 16 rankings of 2022

“Even though we are 46 days from Selection Sunday, this first reveal allowed the committee to dig into the games played to date and not only helped to identify those teams that were in the top 16 but also those teams to watch closely as the season progresses,” said Nina King, vice president, director of athletics at Duke and chair of the Division I Women’s Basketball Committee. “We will continue watching hundreds of games over the coming weeks as we ready for selections in early March.” 

South Carolina, 18-1 overall and 6-1 in Southeastern Conference play, is currently the No. 1 team in the latest Associated Press women’s college basketball top 25 poll. The Gamecocks’ only loss this season came Dec. 30 at Missouri, 70-69, and they had won six straight games heading into Thursday’s key SEC matchup with Ole Miss.
The defending national champion, Stanford (14-3 overall and 5-0 in Pac-12 Conference play) is also on a six-game winning streak. Big wins for the Cardinal this season have come over Tennessee and Oregon, while Stanford dropped a 65-61 decision at South Carolina on Dec. 21.

NC State, 18-2 overall and 9-0 in Atlantic Coast Conference play, has won eight straight games since dropping an 82-80 overtime decision to Georgia on Dec. 16. 

Tennessee, 18-1 overall and 7-0 in the SEC, has won nine straight games, including wins over Ole Miss, Georgia and Kentucky. Key upcoming games for the Lady Vols will come Feb. 6 at UConn and Feb. 20 at South Carolina.

Thursday’s reveal was the first of three being provided this season by the committee. There will be two additional top 16 reveals this season: during halftime of the South Carolina vs. Kentucky game Feb. 10, at 7 p.m. Eastern time on ESPN, and when Baylor takes on Iowa State on Feb. 28, at 7 p.m. Eastern time on ESPN2.

POWER 10: Check out our latest women's basketball Power 10 rankings

The Selection Sunday announcement of the 68-team bracket for the 2022 NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Championship will take place at 8 p.m. Eastern time March 13 on ESPN. 

The 2022 championship will be the first to have 68 teams. First Four games will be played on Wednesday, March 16, and Thursday, March 17, at four of the top 16 host sites. First- and second-round games will be played Friday, March 18, through Monday, March 21, at the top 16 seeds. 

Regional games will be played March 25-28, with Greensboro, North Carolina (Greensboro Coliseum) and Spokane, Washington (Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena) hosting regional semifinal and final games on March 25 and 27, while Bridgeport, Connecticut (Webster Bank Arena) and Wichita, Kansas (Intrust Bank Arena) will host March 26 and 28. 

The 2022 Women’s Final Four will be played April 1 and 3 at the Target Center in Minneapolis.

NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Committee – Jan. 27 – Top 16 Ranking*

1.    South Carolina (No. 1 seed – Greensboro Region)
2.    Stanford (No. 1 seed – Spokane Region)
3.    NC State (No. 1 seed – Bridgeport Region)
4.    Tennessee (No. 1 seed – Wichita Region)
5.    Louisville
6.    Indiana
7.    Texas
8.    Arizona
9.    Michigan
10.    Iowa State
11.    UConn
12.    LSU
13.    Baylor
14.    Oregon
15.    Georgia
16.    Kansas State


Bridgeport Region:  

1.    NC State
2.    Indiana
3.    LSU
4.    Baylor

Greensboro Region:     

1.    South Carolina
2.    Arizona
3.    Michigan
4.    Kansas State

Spokane Region:     

1.    Stanford
2.    Texas
3.    UConn
4.    Georgia

Wichita Region:     

1.    Tennessee
2.    Louisville
3.    Iowa State
4.    Oregon

*Rankings and regional assignments based on games played through Wednesday, Jan. 26.

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