NCAA Women’s Tournament Sneak Peek Keeps BYU Out Of Top 16

Jan 27, 2022, 7:20 PM
BYU Women's Basketball - Jeff Judkins...
BYU Cougars head coach Jeff Judkins argues a call with a referee as BYU and San Francisco play in West Coast Conference basketball tournamemt semifinal action at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas on Monday, March 8, 2021. (Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News)
(Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News)

PROVO, Utah – Despite bracketologists projecting them as one, nationally-ranked BYU didn’t land a top-16 seed in the early reveal of the NCAA Women’s Tournament.

The NCAA put together a sneak peek of the women’s bracket for the first time ever. On the men’s side, the early sneak peek practice has been a common occurrence for the past decade.

A top-16 seed in the women’s bracket could be even more significant than the men’s side because the top four seeds in each region have the first two rounds on their home floor. With a 16-1 record overall entering Thursday night, BYU was not part of that top-16.

ESPN Bracketologist Charlie Creme coming into the Top-16 sneak peek, had BYU as a No. 3 seed. However, the NCAA Selection Committee thinks otherwise at this moment.

Currently, the NET rankings have BYU ranked No. 14, entering Thursday’s game against Santa Clara.

The next time BYU finds out if they received a top 16 seed or not will come on Selection Monday in March.

Led by guards Shaylee Gonzales and Paisley Harding along with All-American forward Lauren Gustin, BYU boasts the 13th best scoring offense in the country, averaging 77.9 points per game. In addition, BYU is beating teams by an average of 18.8 points per game, which ranks ninth nationally.

The conference that BYU plays in could be the most significant factor in hurting the Cougars’ potential seed at the moment. Only one other team is in the NET top 30 within the West Coast Conference. That team is Gonzaga. BYU has yet to play the Zags this season.

Two more WCC teams crack into the top 100 of the NET rankings; Portland at No. 69 and San Diego at No. 79. BYU defeated San Diego twice in three days this past weekend.

The NCAA’s top overall seed is South Carolina from the SEC. South Carolina and Tennessee are the only two teams in the top-16 seeds that have one loss this season. Everyone else in the top-16 seeds has at least two losses.

Last season, BYU advanced to the Round of 32 in the NCAA Tournament before falling to the eventual National Runner-Up Arizona Wildcats. BYU has advanced in the NCAA Tournament in their last two appearances.

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12–3 p.m.) on KSL Newsradio. Follow him on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper. 

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