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Gary Putnik | | February 4, 2022

These 6 women's basketball teams from outside the in-season top-16 reveal could climb to a top-4 seed

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

The next in-season reveal of the women’s basketball top-16 ranking is set to come out Thursday, Feb. 10. There have already been a few teams featured in the first ranking to fall, which could mean some new teams break into the rankings. 

The first No. 1 seed to fall came on the night of the first in-season release of the top 16 when No. 4 Tennessee lost 71-67 on the road to Auburn. The next team to fall was No. 2 NC State who lost 69-66 at Notre Dame on Tuesday, Feb. 1. A week later, Tennessee lost again but this time to Florida 84-59. 

FIRST TOP 16: Check out the first in-season reveal of the top-16 rankings

Along with Tennessee and NC State, No. 6 Indiana, No. 7 Texas, No. 8 Arizona, No. 12 LSU, No. 13 Baylor and No. 16 Kansas State have all lost at least one game since the first reveal. 

It’s unlikely that multiple teams make the jump from not ranked to a top-16 team as only one team per year has done it the last four seasons. But, there still could be a lot of opportunities for movement as the season comes to a close. 

One that has been rising all season is BYU. The Cougars have steadily risen from unranked to No. 16 in the AP and No. 10 in NET. A big reason for the rise was the early wins over then-ranked No. 17 Florida State and No. 22 West Virginia. Though the conference schedule is a bit weaker, the Cougars are dominating. At one point this season they recorded a 10-straight winning streak by double digits.

BYU did slip up recently with an 11-point loss to Portland. This could be a result they regret come the time to decide whether the Cougars are worthy of a top-16 ranking. 

TOP-16 BREAKDOWN: Check out a breakdown of the first top-16 rankings of 2022

The ACC is full of talent, Notre Dame and Georgia Tech are two teams that are doing their part to hang around the top-16 conversation. Notre Dame is currently 3-2 against AP top-25 teams this season. The Irish will have a chance to further improve that record as they take on No. 4 Louisville twice, and No. 12 Georgia Tech in a four-game span.  

GT is on a five-game win streak, with one over then-No. 20 North Carolina. The Yellow Jackets' defense will have to be the deciding factor in whether they will make the jump. Georgia Tech is currently the No. 1 defense in the country allowing 47.1 points per game on average. 

Oklahoma did a good job of improving its resume recently with back-to-back wins over current top-16 teams in No. 7 Texas and No. 13 Baylor. The Sooners are tied for the top spot in the Big 12 with Iowa State. Oklahoma has three players averaging 17 points or more per game, along with the best three-point shooter in the country in Taylor Robertson. 

Out in the Big Ten, Iowa and Maryland will both be vying for a spot as the season comes to a close. Just like Notre Dame, both these teams have schedules that can make or break their chances of making it into the top 16. 

MORE TOP 16: Here's 1 thing to know about every team in the first top-16 rankings

Iowa has one of the best guards in the nation with Caitlin Clark leading the way with 26.4 points per game. The Hawkeyes have No. 9 Michigan two more times along with No. 6 Indiana along with Maryland left on their schedule. 

The Terrapins will continue to rely on Angel Reese and Ashley Owusu down the stretch as both average over 14 points per game. Maryland will be more of a long shot to make it in that top 16, but if it manages to take down Indiana, Michigan and Iowa, the Terps will certainly be in the conversation. 

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