The Madness is brewing as teams enter conference tournaments in hopes of an automatic bid into the NCAA tournament and of course, bragging rights against conference foes.
This my fifth prediction of the season. I've included my automatic qualifiers and at-large bids. I took into consideration what we've seen so far and the DI women's basketball selection committee's third and final Top 16 reveal.
Here's my bracket:
|1||South Carolina||Stanford||NC State||Louisville|
|16||Fairleigh Dickinson / Howard||Jackson State||Houston Baptist / Campbell||Maine|
|9||South Florida||Washington State||Colorado||Arkansas|
|5||North Carolina||Notre Dame||BYU||Ohio State|
|12||DePaul||IUPUI||South Dakota State||Southern Illinois|
|13||Toledo||Drexel||Stephen F. Austin||Belmont|
|11||Kentucky/ Northwestern||Dayton||Missouri State / Miami||Boston College|
|7||Georgia Tech||Ole Miss||Nebraska||UCF|
|15||Fairfield||Mercer||Holy Cross||Idaho State|
The Big Ten makes a strong appearance
The Big Ten's presence went from two teams to four in the top four seed lines. In the third reveal, the selection committee debuted Iowa and Maryland in its top 16 rankings. Rightfully so. The Hawkeyes used a late surge by taking down Indiana and Michigan in conference play to earn a share of the Big Ten regular-season title. In the first and second reveal, only Indiana and Michigan were featured amongst the top four lines.
Maryland made its debut as a three seed. I had Maryland as a No. 1 in my preseason bracket. But adversities plagued this team early for three long months. Since then, Maryland turned it around as of late January, picking up Quad 1 wins over Nebraska, Iowa, Ohio State and Indiana.
Despite Michigan's loss to Iowa, the Wolverines remain a two seed, as of right now. Currently, Michigan has a NET ranking of 14, with a 7-2 record over ranked opponents. The Wolverines still have a chance to prove themselves as a solid two seed in the Big Ten tournament.
Indiana remaining in the top 16 reveal shocked many people, considering the Hoosiers lost four of their last five games. Indiana lost its lead scorer and rebounder Mackenzie Holmes due to injury, but have brought her back into the lineup. However, it's going to take some time for Holmes to get acclimated into this system to become the Elite Eight squad they are known to be. If Indiana wants to remain in the top 16 conversation, it needs to create momentum in the Big Ten tournament.
Last four in
- Kentucky vs. Northwestern
- Missouri State vs. Miami
First four out
- Florida State
- Rhode Island
- Mississippi State
The automatic qualifiers
Here are the 32 AQs I think will lock in spots by winning their conference tournament.
|ASUN||Florida Gulf Coast|
|Big Sky||Idaho State|
|Big Ten||Ohio State|
|Colonial Athletic Association||Drexel|
|Missouri Valley||Southern Illinois|
|Summit League||South Dakota|
|Western Athletic Conference||Stephen F. Austin|