Sunday was Selection Sunday for the NCAA men's basketball championship. Monday is Selection Monday on the women's side, as the field of 64 is announced at 6 p.m. on ESPN for the NCAA women's championship, which will end up three weeks from now at New Orleans Arena.
The women's draw has a couple of noticeable differences from the men. Instead of eight sites with eight teams each the first week, there are 16 sites with four teams. And unlike the men, women's teams can play at home.
One of the 16 first and second-round sites is the Pete Maravich Assembly Center in Baton Rouge, where the LSU Lady Tigers (20-11) will play at home in the postseason for the second straight year. Nikki Caldwell's team is likely to draw anywhere from a No. 7 to No. 9 seed. The Lady Tigers are No. 34 in the final RPI.
The bracket principles remain in play, though, so if LSU is seeded No. 8 or No. 9, that means the NCAA women's basketball committee will ship a No. 1 seed to Baton Rouge. While there was considerable debate in recent weeks on the four men's No. 1 seeds, it's pretty straightforward on the women's side – Baylor, Notre Dame, Connecticut and Stanford are virtual locks to get regional top seeds.
Since Baylor, UConn and Stanford all are hosting first and second-round sites, that means Notre Dame would head to LSU.
If the Lady Tigers are a No. 7 seed, there are more options. The only probable No. 2 seed that is hosting is Duke. ESPN.com projects California, Penn State and Kentucky as the other No. 2 seeds, with Cal coming to Baton Rouge. That would seem the most likely scenario, since Kentucky could not travel to Baton Rouge because conference rivals cannot meet in the second round, and Penn State was sent to the PMAC last year.
Probable No. 3 seeds who are not hosting are Nebraska and UCLA. If LSU crept up to a No. 6 seed, the possibility of a second-round matchup with Caldwell's former team, UCLA, could come into play.
Bridgeport, Conn.; Norfolk, Va.; Oklahoma City and Spokane, Wash., will host the four regionals, with those winners advancing to New Orleans.
Later Monday night, the Women's NIT field will be unveiled. Tulane is hopeful of hosting a first-round game again this year, possibly on Thursday. The Green Wave men will entertain South Alabama Wednesday night in the first round of the CollegeInsider.com Tournament (CIT).
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