The so-called “geographic S-curve” that’s used in the NCAA women’s basketball tournament is one of those things that, no matter how often it’s explained, still doesn’t sink in with everybody.
I’m not just talking about people who only occasionally tune in to the women’s game. Folks who follow the sport regularly still sometimes hit the wall with that S-curve. Probably because it doesn’t necessarily always fit with that unwritten part of “procedures and principles.” To wit, common sense.
But this year, I think the NCAA women’s selection committee applied its guidelines with a sensible acknowledgement of potential regional attendance considerations. That’s the part of the women’s bracket process that adds in more nuance and sometimes increases the difficulty.
Charlie does a little Tuesday Morning Quarterbacking: Geography, RPI not clear-cut
This year’s bracket offered few surprises, but was very revealing at the same time. From seeds to the at-large teams selected, the bracket shaped up largely as expected, but there’s still plenty to analyze.
Geography didn’t matter at all
When it came to the top seeds at least, the committee stuck strictly to the S-curve and didn’t apply those rankings geographically. The surprise is that it goes against one of the NCAA’s stated goals. As stated in the principles and procedures for bracketing the teams: The committee will attempt to assign each team to the most geographically compatible regional and first‐/second‐round site, by order of the S‐curve
Geography may not matter, but time does. So hurry up and fill out a bracket!
Michelle identifies the 2015 bracket winners and losers
There’s one constant to this bracket-revealing practice that we’ve come to expect — not everyone is happy when their names and seed numbers are revealed. But some programs will clearly be more pleased than others as the field of 64 settles into national consciousness before games begin on Friday.
Need a little help filling out your bracket? (And DO fill out a bracket. If you whine about the lack of coverage, the biggest way to show you WANT an increase is to fill out a bracket!! Fill out SEVERAL brackets!) Maybe this will help: 2015 March Madness Predictions
FiveThirtyEight’s women’s NCAA tournament forecasting models calculate the chance of each team reaching each round, taking into account a composite of power rankings, pre-season rankings, the team’s placement on the NCAA’s S-curve, player injuries and geography, where data is available.
From Graham: Five burning questions off the bracket
A change in scheduling format this year means one fewer day to wait for the start of play in the NCAA tournament. But there is still plenty of time before Friday’s first-round games to ponder these five questions about the bracket.
1. What is next for undefeated Princeton?
Leave it to the NCAA women’s basketball committee to turn a glass slipper into glass ceiling.
Win all the games you want. Earn whatever votes you can. Make whatever history you will. It matters not to the selection committee. The first undefeated team not named Baylor, Connecticut or Notre Dame in nearly two decades, the No. 13 team in polls of both Associated Press voters who cover the sport all season and coaches who make their living within the sport, Princeton is a No. 8 seed in the NCAA tournament because, well, the committee says so.
And the committee knows perfection, and it hasn’t been wrong yet.
Agree with the committee? Disagree with the committee? Prove you know more than them and fill out a bracket!
From espnW: THE A-LIST: 11 CRAZY SELECTION MONDAY REACTIONS
Let the madness begin! From light shows to subdued golf claps, here are some celebrations that stood out on Selection Monday.
11. The “Dramatic Lighting” – Florida Gulf Coast even got the lighting crew involved in the celebration. Wait for it … wait for it …
On St. Patrick’s Day, Graham celebrates orange: Dietrick drives Princeton to 30-0 – Senior guard leads way as best season in program history continues
It took more than four months, but Princeton finally needed someone to put the ball in the net.
With university presidents current and past looking on from the stands at the Palestra in Philadelphia and a national television audience observing from afar (the latter possibly as unusual as the former when it comes to the Ivy League), Princeton couldn’t shake rival Penn as the seconds ticked away early in the second half of the regular-season finale. Seeking to become just the 15th Division I team to complete an undefeated regular season, the Tigers led by five points at halftime but watched the Quakers score the first four points of the second half and cut the deficit to a single point.
All the while, Princeton coach Courtney Banghart stood with arms folded and watched, the pose as much spring-loaded as stoic. Good plays and bad plays came and went; her arms stayed fixed in place.
Still thanking the Knicks for losing! Connecticut Occupies Usual Perch
It has been 20 years since Rebecca Lobo led Connecticut to the undefeated season that started it all for Coach Geno Auriemma and the Huskies. On Saturday, UConn will begin its quest for a 10th title over that span.
The bracket for the N.C.A.A. women’s tournament, announced Monday night, revealed the Huskies as the No. 1 seed of the Albany Region for the ninth consecutive year. Just as men’s teams around the country plot ways to foil undefeated Kentucky’s path to a national title, so, too, does it appear as if the women’s tournament will run through Connecticut yet again.
On her way to helping Seton Hall earn its first berth in the N.C.A.A. women’s basketball tournament in two decades, Daisha Simmons had to make a few stops. Literally.
Many days this season, she drove her brother, Chaz, to and from his dialysis treatments as he struggled with end-stage renal disease. On other nights, often after 11 p.m., she also picked up her mother, Christena, from work at Target, a crucial timesaver because Christena otherwise relied on public transportation and had an early morning job delivering mail for the Postal Service.
That was on top of Simmons’s basketball commitments and, of course, her schoolwork at Seton Hall.
From the Trentonian: Undefeated Princeton women’s basketball shown lack of respect with No. 8 seed
For the first time all season, the Princeton women’s basketball team had something of a bad night.
Owners of a perfect 30-0 record, an RPI of 12 and a Sagarin Rating of seven, the Tigers entered Monday night’s NCAA Tournament selection show watch party at the Shea Rowing Center hoping to snag a No. 4 seed.
Note to the rest of women’s basketball: If Courtney asks you to play’em, say yes! (And not saying these folks refused) How N.J. women’s college basketball missed a big opportunity in 2015 | Politi Bits
The NCAA Tournament women’s selection show will take place tonight at 7 p.m., and New Jersey will have three teams in the field — and three compelling stories.
Rutgers, one year after winning the NIT, will return to the NCAA Tournament field in its first Big Ten season. Seton Hall, with an experienced lineup, will make its first tournament appearance in two decades. And Princeton, in perhaps the most compelling story in the entire field, is just one of two unbeaten Division 1 basketball teams in the country — along with the powerhouse Kentucky men.
You’re probably wondering how those three teams did in head-to-head competition, right? Well, they never played each other. And that stinks.
One of Larry Joe Inman’s initiatives when he became women’s basketball coach at Tennessee State was to bolster the level of competition on the schedule.
“I said it all along, we have to play better teams to get better,” said Inman, who took over in 2012.
Over the next three seasons he scheduled the likes of Tennessee, Louisville, Florida, Ole Miss and North Carolina State.
By the time the Lady Tigers played No. 12-ranked Kentucky in their final non-conference game this season, they were vastly improved. They led midway through the first half and trailed only 65-61 with 8:14 left.
TSU went on to lose 87-75, but it will get another shot at Kentucky in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
Hey, take a moment from reading and fill out your bracket!!
From Ann Killioin at the SF Chronicle: Stanford women’s success this season comes as pleasant surprise
When Tara VanDerveer sat her team down at the start of the season, she asked about expectations.
And she told the team hers: “We’d like to host the tournament.”
Sure, sure, agreed her players. After all, doesn’t Stanford regularly host an NCAA game or two?
“No, you don’t understand,” VanDerveer said last fall. “That would be a tough goal for us.”
But mission accomplished Monday, when the NCAA Tournament pairings were announced. This year, the NCAA returned to a system in which the top 16 seeds host the first two rounds.
Glad the Buckeyes are in the tourney… gives us more Jim Massie: Ohio State draws No. 5 seed, will play James Madison on Saturday – Buckeyes grow up fast, back in NCAA tournament
The Ohio State women’s basketball team watched the NCAA tournament selection committee talking heads fill two brackets Monday night before finally learning its seed and destination for the opening round.
As waits go, this evening didn’t resemble a flight delay in Chicago or Atlanta.
The NCAA Tournament field has been announced, and the South Carolina Gamecocks are a top seed, as expected. If they make it out of Columbia alive, they’ll travel to Greensboro, N.C. for the Sweet 16.
The Greensboro bid comes as a minor surprise to some pundits, many of whom expected the spot to go to the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, who are ranked ahead of Carolina by most voters. The selection committee is thought to reward deserving teams with favorable geographic destinations. With the Irish headed to Oklahoma City, either that didn’t happen in this case or the committee decided South Carolina deserved the geographically friendly bid. The two team are obviously very close.
There was a time three months ago when they were a 6-2 team, missing their star player from the previous season and unsure of the road ahead.
The Maryland women’s basketball team found itself in those early days of disappointment — found its identity as a joyous team without an obvious center.
The Terps haven’t lost since, and they had the perfect chance to reflect on their journey Monday night as they found out they will be a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament, which will begin this weekend.
Do the math: Can Notre Dame women’s basketball overtake UConn?
Geno Auriemma and his UConn Huskies are such heavy favorites to win another women’s national title that they’ve already been penciled in as the inevitable champs. So it seems all they need to do is just roll out the ball to hoist the trophy.
Don’t count the Hall of Fame coach among those who believe the top-seeded Huskies are a lock to three-peat.
”The fact that everybody thinks it’s a done deal, that we’re going to win the whole thing,” Auriemma said, ”are probably people who have never coached, or haven’t coached in a Final Four or have won a national championship.”
UConn’s Chris Dailey not a typical assistant coach. (We knew this already, ’cause she’s an Associate coach.)
Keith Sergeant writes: Rutgers’ C. Vivian Stringer takes high road (sort of) on NCAA Women’s Tournament draw
If C. Vivian Stringer was less than thrilled about a NCAA Tournament first-round matchup against in-state rival Seton Hall, just imagine how the Rutgers women’s basketball coach feels about a possible second-round game against Connecticut on the powerhouse’s home floor of all places.
Actually, you don’t have to. The Hall of Famer let her feelings be known to anyone able to read between the lines.
Speaking of not avoiding UConn: U of L, UK, WKU women all in UConn’s region
From Rick Bozich – Shhh! Louisville women not ready to talk about Kentucky — yet
It is the most intriguing game on the NCAA women’s basketball tournament bracket that nobody at the University of Louisville wanted to talk about:
A Sweet Sixteen women’s version of a Louisville-Kentucky Dream Game – with the winner almost certainly drawing an opportunity to play defending national champion Connecticut.
Psssst! Have you filled out your bracket!!
Imagine the Boise State football team drawing a playoff game at Notre Dame. Or the men’s basketball team opening the NCAA Tournament against UCLA at Pauley Pavilion.
That’s the scenario that faces the women’s basketball team, which will play its first NCAA Tournament game in eight years Saturday at Tennessee – the school that brought the sport to the national stage.
“That’s about as legendary a program as there is,” Boise State coach Gordy Presnell said moments after Monday’s bracket announcement on ESPN. “The greatest fan base there is in basketball, basically.
The Pitt women’s basketball program had waited six years to return to the NCAA tournament.
ESPN and the selection committee decided to make them hold on for an agonizing 40 minutes longer.
“You’re going to play somebody tough whether you’re a 15 or 16 seed,” NMSU coach Mark Trakh said. “We’re just excited and we’re going to prepare to win the game on Saturday. That’s the only way to prepare. You could tell by the reaction of the kids and the community that this is something special right now. Hopefully, we’ll just build on it. And next year we’ll be a 14 seed, the following year a 12, a 11 and work our way down. But for the first step, and considering we were picked to finish fifth in our conference, we’re really, really excited about this right now.”
Albany is coached by Katie Abrahamson-Henderson, who was an assistant to Duke coach Joanne P. McCallie at Michigan State.
“We really have to plan for the entire weekend, be efficient and smart,” said McCallie, who had the Blue Devils in the Elite Eight four straight years before falling to visiting DePaul in the second round last season.
“I don’t know if the selection committee has a sense of humor or not – when I have all these former players and former assistants in the business themselves, I guess it just means I’m getting old.
Here’s a burning question for the Committee: have you filled out your bracket?
Speaking of tournaments, don’t forget about the WNIT. A new friend just asked an innocent question about the WNIT, and I answered:
I’m always intrigued by the non-major conference folks who won their regular conference title but missed out on the NCAA’s because they lost their conference tourney games. SO, my eye is on: Maine, UT – Martin, Colorado State, Hawai’i, Drake…
I think ETSU has a chance to make a name for themselves. Fresno St. is, traditionally, tough. And Eastern Michigan’s been on a mission. All of the WCC teams are dangerous.
Ole Miss is seasoned unlike most any other team. They’re probably the most “grownup” team out there – athlete-wise…
And the WBI –
More from the Times: Diana Taurasi Focusing on Playing in Russia, Where the Money Is
It’s a March evening in this mining city, which straddles the border of Europe and Asia, and 4,000 locals have come to see Taurasi’s team, UMMC Yekaterinburg, play Orenburg Nadezhda in the quarterfinals of the Euroleague, the top women’s professional basketball league in Europe. In the upper deck, groups of miners and factory workers who have been bused in from the provinces stomp their feet, blow horns and bang on drums. Most of them work for various subsidiaries of the Ural Mining and Metallurgical Company, the multibillion-dollar metal producer that owns the team.
“Vperyod! Vperyod!” they shout in unison. Forward! Forward!
Deftly, fluidly, her aquiline features fixed in airtight concentration, Taurasi drives the lane, pivots around a pick set by her teammate Candace Parker and maneuvers past the 6-foot-4 frame of DeWanna Bonner to sink a perfect left-handed layup. “Tau-ras-eee!” booms a thickly accented announcer.
She may be playing in Russia, but do you think has Taurausi filled out her bracket? DA!
On the flip side of the tournament bound teams, you have this from Florida: InstaGraham: UF women’s basketball team feels the disappointment
It’s only fitting that the Gators women’s basketball team’s season ended in a 71-49 blowout loss to Auburn in the first round of the Southeastern Conference Tournament on Wednesday.
That’s the way Florida’s season went and it’s what the players unfortunately had to get used to.
The season is over for the Gators — there will be no NCAA tournament, not even the WNIT.
And if the Gators get invited to the Women’s College Basketball Invitational today, I doubt they’ll go.
Because there is no more room for disappointment this season – Florida has experienced too much of it.
Women’s basketball won 12 games and lost 17 times in 2014-15. It went 8-10 in conference play and was bounced from the MAC Tournament in the first round. It registered only three victories away from home.
Yet, 2014-15 proved to be head coach Kathi Bennett’s best coaching job in her five seasons at NIU. Managing a Div. I basketball team is a tall task; keeping that team together and on track through injuries that ravaged more than half the roster requires a certain level of leadership and command.