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Autumn Johnson | March 1, 2022

Bracketology: NCAA women's tournament projections made the first day of March

2022 NCAA tournament women's bracket predictions on the first day of March

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:

Autumn Johnson's fifth 2022 NCAA women's basketball tournament bracket prediction

SEED GREENSBORO Spokane Bridgeport Wichita
1 South Carolina Stanford  NC State  Louisville 
16 Fairleigh Dickinson / Howard Jackson State Houston Baptist / Campbell  Maine 
8 Kansas Creighton FGCU  Kansas State
9 South Florida  Washington State  Colorado Arkansas
5 North Carolina Notre Dame   BYU  Ohio State 
12 DePaul IUPUI  South Dakota State Southern Illinois
4 Oklahoma Indiana Tennessee Iowa
13 Toledo Drexel Stephen F. Austin  Belmont
6 Oregon Virginia Tech Florida Georgia
11 Kentucky/ Northwestern Dayton Missouri State / Miami Boston College
3 UConn Texas Maryland Arizona 
14 UNLV  Charlotte Troy  Hawaii 
7 Georgia Tech  Ole Miss Nebraska  UCF 
10 Princeton  South Dakota Utah  Gonzaga
2 Michigan  LSU Iowa State  Baylor 
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 

  1. Kentucky vs. Northwestern 
  2. Missouri State vs. Miami 

First four out 

  1. Florida State 
  2. Villanova 
  3. Rhode Island 
  4. Mississippi State  

The automatic qualifiers

Here are the 32 AQs I think will lock in spots by winning their conference tournament. 

Conference Automatic qualifier
America East Maine
American Athletic UCF
Atlantic 10 Dayton
ACC NC State
ASUN Florida Gulf Coast
Big 12 Baylor
Big East UConn
Big Sky Idaho State
Big South Campbell
Big Ten Ohio State
Big West Hawaii
Colonial Athletic Association Drexel
Conference USA Charlotte
Horizon  IUPUI
Ivy Princeton
MAAC Fairfield
MAC Toledo
MEAC Howard
Missouri Valley Southern Illinois
Mountain West UNLV
Northeast Fairleigh Dickinson
Ohio Valley Belmont 
Pac-12 Stanford
Patriot Holy Cross
SEC South Carolina
Southern Mercer 
Southland Houston Baptist
SWAC Jackson State
Summit League South Dakota 
Sun Belt  Troy
West Coast  BYU
Western Athletic Conference Stephen F. Austin

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