March 13, 2023
What the selection committee chair said about the 2023 NCAA Tournament
South Carolina, Indiana, Virginia Tech and Stanford earned No. 1 seeds
On Sunday, ESPN aired its selection show for the 2023 Division I NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament. Four teams earned No. 1 seeds in the regionals; South Carolina in Greenville 1, Indiana in Greenville 2, Virginia Tech in Seattle 3 and Stanford in Seattle 4.
The last four teams that are in this year’s women’s tournament are Illinois, Mississippi State, Purdue and St. John’s, which are all playing in the First Four games on Wednesday and Thursday. The Columbia Lions, Kansas Jayhawks, UMass Minutewomen and Oregon Ducks were the first four teams out of the tournament.
There were among the several revelations that women’s basketball selection committee chair Lisa Peterson gave in a virtual press conference, which was held less than an hour after the unveiling of the full bracket.
Peterson made note about about how overall No. 1 seed South Carolina could be the fifth team to have an undefeated season and win the NCAA Women’s Championship as well as the four teams making their first NCAA Tournament appearance: Saint Louis, Southeast Louisiana, Southern Utah and Sacramento State.
Among the biggest discussing points that gave committee a challenge this year was debating which four teams would get the two No. 1 seeds out of Virginia Tech, Stanford, Iowa and UConn.
“I would say we spent a lot of time on a variety of things,” Peterson said. “Certainly, that number one seed and ensuring that we had the right 16 teams hosting. But then it also goes to the last teams that are in in the first four teams that are out, you know, you want to make sure that you get that right. So there were a lot of things but I would say is probably the number one seed was the most.”
Peterson explained the reason why the Columbia Lions were one of the last four teams out based on the results in the Ivy League tournament. The Lions had a record of 23-5 (12-2 in Ivy League) throughout the season. They also won 13 road games, most in NCAA, and had seven NET Top 100 victories. The Lions were upset by No. 3 Harvard in overtime in the semifinal round of the Ivy League tournament.
“Unfortunately, them losing in the first round of their tournament is what kept them out of the field,” Peterson said. “They had a great season. The Lions were playing very well at the beginning of the season. But, they fell off a little towards the end of the season and how they’re playing. But, specifically, it may have been losing that first round of their conference tournament.”
The Next and The Equalizer are teaming up
The Next is partnering with The Equalizer to bring more women’s sports stories to your inbox. Subscribe to The Next now and receive 50% off your subscription to The Equalizer for 24/7 coverage of women’s soccer.
A team Peterson was specifically asked about was the Tennessee Lady Vols and how they earned the advantage to host as the No. 4 seed in Seattle Regional 3. Tennessee struggled in nonconference play early this season, but surged in SEC play, finishing with a record of 23-11 (13-3 in SEC) and reaching the SEC Tournament Championship game before the Lady Vols lost to South Carolina.
“I think their strength of schedule was for overall, and they had struggles in the beginning with their variety of lineups,” Peterson said. “The way that they’re playing right now and getting into that conference tournament, we thought that that was what made them deserving of hosting.”
The tournament will begin with the matchups of the first four teams, starting with Illinois vs. Mississippi State on Wednesday, Mar. 15.
Add Locked On Women’s Basketball to your daily routine
Here at The Next, in addition to the 24/7/365 written content our staff provides, we also host the daily Locked On Women’s Basketball podcast. Join us Monday through Saturday each week as we discuss all things WNBA, collegiate basketball, basketball history and much more. Listen wherever you find podcasts or watch on YouTube.
Written by Aya Abdeen
Aya Abdeen is a student in sports journalism at Arizona State University and has been a contributing writer for The Next Hoops since December 2022. Her work has also appeared on AZPreps365.