Much like Herald Sports Editor Jonathan Lintner did for the men last night, let’s take a quick look at the Lady Toppers’ opponents from this season that are headed to the Big Dance. Here they are:
No. 2 seed, Memphis region: Duke
No. 6 seed, Sacramento region: Vanderbilt
No. 10 seed, Dayton region: Middle Tennessee
No. 11 seed, Kansas City region: Arkansas-Little Rock
No. 14 seed, Dayton region: Louisiana Tech
No. 14 seed, Kansas City region: South Dakota State
For the record, the Lady Toppers went 1-7 against that group this season, grabbing their lone victory over SDSU early in the year.
Kind of surprised to see Sun Belt champion MTSU (25-5) get a 10-seed with an RPI of 19. UALR getting in the tournament was a bit of a surprise, but their 11-seed is even more of a shocker as it seems to indicate that they weren’t even that close to the bubble.
Any way you slice it, it’s a big victory for a Sun Belt Conference ranked 16th in conference RPI to get two teams in the tournament.
Well, that’s why they call it March Madness.
Arkansas-Little Rock ends up getting an unexpected at-large bid to the women’s NCAA Tournament, which means that the Lady Toppers (21-10) will receive an automatic berth to the Women’s National Invitation Tournament.
UALR (26-6) received an 11-seed and will meet sixth-seeded Georgia Tech in the Kansas City region. The Trojans were projected as one of the “next four out” on ESPN.com on Sunday.
As I wrote this morning, the WNIT field will be released later tonight on the tournament’s Web site. I’ll be back later with more on Western’s trip to the WNIT after the bracket is released.
The Lady Toppers will watch the women’s NCAA Basketball Tournament selection show intently tonight, but not for their own dreams of going dancing.
They’ll be watching to see whether or not Arkansas-Little Rock is chosen. If the Trojans (26-6) make the tournament, Western would gain an automatic bid to the Women’s National Invitation Tournament as the next-highest finisher in the Sun Belt Conference.
That seems unlikely, though, as ESPN’s women’s bracketologist Charlie Creme had UALR as one of his “next four out” of the NCAA Tournament on Sunday.
If UALR is snubbed by the NCAA selection committee, the Trojans will earn the Sun Belt’s automatic bid to the WNIT. Then Western’s fate comes down to whether the WNIT selects more than one team from a pretty weak Sun Belt Conference.
But many things seem to be in the Lady Toppers’ favor for an at-large bid, including that their RPI was 82 as of Sunday, according to RealTimeRPI.com.
The NCAA Tournament field will be revealed at 6 p.m. CT tonight on ESPN. The WNIT will release its bracket after on its Web site.
I’ll be back tonight with an update on Western’s WNIT status, including whether or not they will be able to host a first-round game in the tournament.