What: NCAA Women’s Basketball Championship Selection Show
When: Monday, March 12 on ESPN at 7 p.m. ET.
What do we know?
On Sunday, the NCAA Selection committee revealed which eight teams are being considered for the final four spots in the tournament. Those include: Buffalo, Creighton, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Purdue, Rutgers, Southern Cal and West Virginia.
Nebraska has been regarded as a bubble team for a most of the latter part of the season. Not appearing on this list means the Huskers are either safely in or not as close as we thought to breaking through. My guess (along with most of the media reports I’ve seen)? The Huskers are “in”.
The Big Ten has a lot riding on the bubble choices as three of those eight teams are from the B1G. Minnesota, Purdue and Rutgers finished as the #4, #8, and #9 seeds respectively. Minnesota and Rutgers are currently #41, and #40 in RPI. I have a really hard time getting past Rutgers sub .500 conference record (7-9) but the Scarlet Knights are a very good team. Purdue sits two spots below Nebraska in RPI (#62 compared to #60). Of those three teams, I think Minnesota has the best chance to be “in” tonight with Rutgers and Purdue being too close for me to call.
The Big Ten teams that are in the tournament include Ohio State (conference champ) and Maryland. The Buckeyes have climbed into “host” territory. Terrapins were a lock to host until their late-season swoon, which likely cost them home floor advantage. (The women’s tournament is hosted in the first two rounds by the top 16 seeds on their campus.) Michigan and Iowa are regarded as safe, with Nebraska being considered ‘likely in’ by more of the media after the committee’s bubble reveal. That gives the B1G five representatives with as many as eight possible (although I don’t see all three ‘bubble’ teams making it in).
WNIT-bound for the B1G are likely Michigan State and Indiana, along with whichever bubble teams above fall on the wrong side of the cut line. Penn State may have a chance as well. I feel bad for any team that faces Indiana right now. They are on a roll and could do some serious damage in the WNIT.
Just In Case
Thirty-two first round games of NCAA tournament games are on Friday, March 16 with the rest on Saturday, March 17.
The WNIT first round starts Wednesday, March 14 and continues through March 16.