4 key questions the ladies’s choice committee should reply forward of NCAA bracket

After one of the thrilling and unpredictable girls’s faculty basketball seasons in latest reminiscence, Choice Sunday has arrived.

It has been a unbelievable journey, from Caitlin Clark‘s record-breaking season to a different unbeaten run by South Carolina, and from the ultracompetitive race within the last season of the Pac-12 to all the dynamic freshmen lighting up courts throughout the nation.

Evaluating schedules, high quality wins, questionable losses, NET rankings and all of the observations from video games has stuffed the land of Bracketology for the previous six weeks. Now it is time for the ladies’s NCAA match choice committee to take middle stage and supply the ultimate 68-team subject.

Because the committee continues to satisfy in Indianapolis forward of Sunday’s Choice Particular (8 p.m. ET, ESPN/ESPN App), some choices and crew placements are simple. No one will spend a lot time on the No. 1 general seed. The Gamecocks had that wrapped up weeks in the past. Many different points of the bracket won’t be really easy to find out.

So what are the largest questions dealing with the choice committee? Here’s a have a look at essentially the most urgent discussions these 12 committee members are dealing with.

What’s the influence of Elizabeth Kitley’s damage?

Having seen how Virginia Tech performed down the stretch in its regular-season finale (upset by Virginia) and the ACC match (blowout loss to Notre Dame within the semifinals), it is clear the Hokies are considerably diminished with out their star middle. The three-time ACC Participant of the 12 months suffered a knee damage in opposition to the Cavaliers and hasn’t performed since, sitting out the ACC match. Virginia Tech hasn’t disclosed Kitley’s standing, together with to — to our information — the choice committee. She remains to be being described as day-to-day.

The committee has no selection however to take that at face worth.

The philosophy on accidents is that solely a crew’s full résumé will have an effect on its inclusion within the NCAA match, however participant availability, or lack of it, can influence a seed. The Hokies have been in place to be a top-16 crew and thus host first- and second-round video games. If the committee knew for certain that Kitley was not going to play, Virginia Tech’s place as a number could possibly be in danger.

Relating to seeding, there’s not a lot precedent for late-season accidents to stars. In 1998, Stanford misplaced Vanessa Nygaard to an ACL tear within the last sport of the common season after which Kristin Folkl 4 days later to the identical damage. In that a lot totally different period, the Cardinal nonetheless obtained a No. 1 seed. Finally, they turned the primary and solely high seed to lose to a No. 16, falling to Harvard.

Final yr is the closest and most up-to-date comparability to the Kitley state of affairs. Notre Dame misplaced star level guard Olivia Miles within the regular-season finale to a knee damage. The Irish had been in an identical spot because the Hokies, hoping to host NCAA match video games. However Notre Dame’s standing as a top-16 seed was much more tenuous than Virginia Tech’s this yr. Miles remained listed as day-to-day proper up till the beginning of the NCAA match; the Irish obtained a No. 3 seed and received two video games in South Bend, Indiana, to achieve the Candy 16.

Per week earlier than the tip of this common season, Virginia Tech was contending for a No. 1 seed if the Hokies had a robust end. That pursuit ended with a decisive loss to Notre Dame on Feb. 29. The Hokies’ spot continued to fall primarily based on how they performed, dropping from a No. 2 seed to No. 4. With none additional information of Kitley’s enjoying standing, that must be the place they keep.

Stanford, USC or Texas for the ultimate No. 1 spot?

The Cardinal have a regular-season championship within the nation’s highest-rated convention. USC received the Pac-12 match title. Texas got here up in need of first place within the regular-season race however received the match within the Massive 12, the nation’s second-highest rated league. The Longhorns have the highest NET rating of the three. The Trojans have essentially the most top-25 NET wins. Stanford has essentially the most within the high 50.

It is that shut amongst these three groups, however there are solely two remaining No. 1 seed slots after South Carolina and Iowa. Somebody should be a No. 2 seed.

The explanation Texas possible is the odd crew out comes all the way down to nonconference schedule energy. The excessive worth positioned on how a crew schedules is the one constant marker for the NCAA match choice committee over the previous few seasons, whilst members change from yr to yr. The Longhorns rank 159th in nonconference schedule. USC ranks 93rd, Stanford forty sixth. Whereas Texas performed — and convincingly beat — UConn and Arizona, each different nonconference sport was in opposition to groups exterior the NET high 100.

Will Gonzaga maintain on to a spot within the high 16?

The Bulldogs had been a lock to host NCAA match video games earlier than the WCC match. They received all their convention video games by a mean of 30.7 factors throughout the common season. And Gonzaga had overwhelmed its finals opponent, Portland, by 50 simply two weeks earlier.

However the Pilots shocked the Zags within the WCC title sport for the second straight yr, and now Gonzaga is resigned to an anxious Sunday. Bracketology saved the Bulldogs within the high 16 following the loss. As a result of Oklahoma and Kansas State misplaced within the Massive 12 match semifinals, and Syracuse and the Utah Utes went out early of their tournaments, there wasn’t a crew to come back up and take Gonzaga’s spot.

Nonetheless, the committee might give the top-16 edge to the Sooners, who received the Massive 12 regular-season title, or the Wildcats, who’ve wins over Texas and Iowa.

It must be famous that Oklahoma cannot host even when the Sooners land within the high 16. The Massive 12 gymnastics championships are the identical weekend as the primary and second spherical of the NCAA match and are being held on the Lloyd Noble Middle, the Sooners’ basketball residence enviornment. Meaning the next-highest seed in Oklahoma’s half of the bracket would have the choice to host.

On this case, the No. 5 seed (with Oklahoma because the No. 4) in that area would host video games.

Will 17-15 Arizona make the sector?

The Wildcats have been the “final crew in” ESPN’s subject of 68 for greater than per week. It isn’t unprecedented for a crew this near the .500 mark to make the sector. However it is not widespread, both. Oklahoma made it at 16-14 in 2018. Auburn was 17-14 when the Tigers obtained a No. 11 seed in 2017.

The Wildcats have a lot going for them, together with energy of convention (the Pac-12 is No. 1 within the NET) and the way they completed heading into Choice Sunday (a late-season win over Stanford and two aggressive losses to USC). They rank No. 2 in energy of schedule and thirty fifth within the NET.

The general report works in opposition to them, as does a 2-10 mark in opposition to the NET high 25 and a 7-15 report in opposition to the highest 100. Nevertheless, these two top-25 wins are greater than different bubble groups like Mississippi State and Penn State have, each of which additionally completed the season poorly. Arizona had a 19-point win in its most up-to-date sport in opposition to Washington State, one other bubble crew.

Relating to the Wildcats, there’s loads of contrasting information the committee members will possible focus on proper to the tip.

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