Selection Sunday and the most important questions for the NCAA girls’s choice committee

After a wild February and an much more thrilling begin to March, Selection Sunday has arrived.

We’ve evaluated schedules, high quality wins, questionable losses, NET rankings and observations from video games throughout the nation over the previous six weeks in ESPN’s ever-evolving girls’s Bracketology. On Sunday night time (8 ET, ESPN/ESPN App), it is the choice committee’s flip to run the via the method one closing time and reveal the 2023 NCAA match bracket, the highway map to the following three weeks.

With 5 closing automated berths on the road on Sunday, the committee continues to satisfy in Indianapolis, making an attempt to unravel the solutions to the most important questions: which groups to incorporate and the place to seed these groups within the area, particularly perplexing this yr on the high of the S curve. But there’s nuance to all of that. Some issues are black and white; most are usually not.

As the clock ticks nearer to ESPN’s choice present, we deal with essentially the most urgent questions for the committee and analyze the knowledge these 12 individuals will use to attract the ultimate conclusions — a few of which could be scrutinized into the tip of the primary video games or all through March Madness.

No. 1 seeds: Recent or résumé?

The largest determination going through the committee is the best way to fill out the No. 1 seed line. South Carolina and Indiana ought to already be written in ink. But the committee nonetheless could be utilizing a pencil for the opposite two spots. Iowa, Stanford, UConn and Virginia Tech are all in consideration.

The most intense dialog within the committee room simply could be the burden positioned on how a workforce is enjoying just lately versus its total physique of labor. Virginia Tech checks each of these bins with 11 consecutive wins and a 10-2 file towards the NET high 25. The Hokies’ first ACC match title is a vital piece of the résumé, as nicely. While the Hokies’ No. 9 NET rating is the bottom of the 4 groups (UConn is 2, Stanford is 4 and Iowa is 6), it might be a light shock if Virginia Tech is not a No. 1 seed Sunday night. It could be the perfect seed in program historical past, eclipsing the earlier highest seed of No. 4 in 1999.

A debate between Iowa and Stanford will come right down to a transparent distinction of philosophies. The Cardinal have the higher full-season physique of labor, with a barely harder schedule, a 9-3 file towards the NET high 25 and a 15-4 mark towards the NET high 50, which ties South Carolina for essentially the most wins in that class. Iowa’s file in these two classes is 6-4 and 12-5, respectively. Stanford additionally has a regular-season convention championship on its résumé.

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Iowa received the Big Ten match, and it’s the hotter of the 2 groups. The Hawkeyes received seven of their final eight video games, with victories over Indiana, Maryland and Ohio State — all groups that will probably be within the high 16 — throughout that stretch. Stanford solely misplaced two of its closing eight video games however did not even attain the finals of the Pac-12 match.

UConn could be the wild card. It will probably be attention-grabbing to see how the committee views the Huskies’ run via the Big East match versus their struggles in February. The portion of UConn’s résumé that’s 11-3 towards the NET high 25 and a No. 2 total NET score suggests the potential for a No. 1 seed. However, losses to Marquette and St. John’s within the closing month — plus struggles towards DePaul and Georgetown, groups with dropping data — is also a part of the Huskies’ story. How Azzi Fudd’s absence and return performs into it’s a compelling matter too.

Losses are one other method to examine Iowa, Stanford and UConn — and it is staggering how comparable they’re. Let’s begin with simply the uncooked quantity: The Cardinal and Huskies every have 5. The Hawkeyes have six.

Iowa misplaced to Kansas State (“next four out”) and Illinois (a projected No. 9 seed). Stanford was tripped up by Washington (“next four out”) and USC (a No. 8 seed). UConn misplaced to a pair of groups — Marquette and St. John’s — that are among the many “last four in.” UConn and Iowa each misplaced to Maryland. The Huskies and Cardinal every misplaced to South Carolina. Iowa additionally misplaced to a No. 1 seed (Indiana). UConn’s loss to Notre Dame matches up with Stanford’s to Utah; these groups are Nos. 6 and seven within the NET. Iowa misplaced to UConn head-to-head — 86-79 in Oregon on Nov. 27 — which may loom giant … or won’t be an element given the variations in these two groups now.

Which groups are within the high 16 and can get to host?

Oklahoma’s 82-72 loss to Iowa State in Saturday’s Big 12 match doubtless made one determination a lot simpler for the committee. The Sooners have been the one workforce remaining that would have performed its manner into the highest 16 for the suitable to host first- and second-round NCAA match video games. Saturday’s semifinal loss eradicated that chance, seemingly shoring up the highest 16.

North Carolina and Villanova are No. 15 and No. 16 now. The Wildcats appeared in each of the NCAA’s top-16 reveals, they usually have a No. 12 NET rating. North Carolina is 21 however is 6-7 towards groups ranked within the NET high 25. That’s as many wins in that vital class as the following groups on the record, Colorado and Tennessee, have mixed. Oklahoma solely has two, together with a NET score of 36. The Sooners wanted two extra wins, plus the status a Big 12 championship would have supplied, to go the opposite contenders.

Texas has reached the Big 12 title sport, and if the Longhorns can win their second consecutive convention match crown, they need to transfer from a No. 4 seed to a No. 3. That would bump Duke to a No. 4 seed.

The bubble: Who’s in, who’s out?

Upsets within the WCC and AAC tournaments this week narrowed the out there at-large spots. But as extra video games have been performed, the variety of groups with good probabilities to fill out the previous few bids additionally dwindled. The bubble seems to be down to a few groups (all of that are achieved enjoying) battling for one spot. Much just like the query across the No. 1 seeds, the selection for the final spot within the area may come right down to philosophy. St. John’s is presently projected because the final workforce within the area, adopted intently by Columbia and West Virginia. And on this case, the résumés are completely different.

The Red Storm have the perfect wins, with victories over UConn and Creighton. The Mountaineers, with a 5-5 file towards groups ranked 26 to 50 within the NET, have the most important assortment of fine wins. Columbia has the perfect NET quantity (44) of the three, shared the Ivy League regular-season title and performed the higher nonconference schedule. If St. John’s and West Virginia are not noted, it is a close to certainty the committee would level to their poor nonconference schedules. The Lions’ high quality wins begin and cease with an time beyond regulation victory over Princeton and a Thanksgiving weekend upset of Miami. It helps that each have been on the highway, however it’s a small basis on which to construct a résumé.

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So is it variety of good wins (West Virginia), beating a greater high quality of opponent (St. John’s) or making an attempt to play a greater schedule (Columbia)? We’ll know which manner the committee leaned on that debate once we see which workforce makes the sphere.

Health and availability of key gamers



Olivia Miles in obvious ache with knee damage

Notre Dame’s Olivia Miles exited the sport with a knee damage within the second quarter and wouldn’t return.

That Fudd missed 22 video games this season however was the important thing participant in so a lot of UConn’s vital November wins — and is now again after a second lengthy layoff — is simply one of many injury-related matters going through the committee.

Rori Harmon missed video games firstly of the season for Texas, together with a loss towards the Huskies on Nov. 14. The Longhorns struggled with out her (2-3 to begin the marketing campaign) however proceeded to win the Big 12 regular-season crown, and they’re in Sunday’s match championship sport.

North Carolina missed key gamers for a stretch in mid-February and misplaced three ACC video games throughout that point. Will that affect the Tar Heels’ probabilities at a spot within the high 16?

The largest query could be one the committee cannot reply. Will Notre Dame’s Olivia Miles, who injured her knee within the regular-season finale towards Louisville and missed the ACC match, be able to go within the NCAA match? And if she is not, how does that affect the Fighting Irish’s seed? It appears unlikely, even when Miles cannot go, that Notre Dame would fall solely out of the highest 16. However, a No. 4 seed as an alternative of a No. 3 is a chance, and that would considerably change a path to the Final Four.

This may all hinge on how a lot data the committee is given about Miles.

The query additionally applies to the standing of NC State level guard Diamond Johnson, who hasn’t performed since Feb. 16 because of an ankle damage. The Wolfpack seem like a No. 7 seed proper now, but when Johnson is not enjoying, it is potential it may drop them right into a far much less fascinating 8- or 9-seed state of affairs.

Even if their seeds aren’t impacted, enjoying with out Miles and Johnson would considerably hamper the prospects of NCAA match success for these groups.