We’re a little more than a month away from the 2020 NCAA DI women’s selection show so we asked NCAA.com basketball expert Michelle Smith to fill out a projected women’s bracket based on everything she has seen so far this season.
These are her picks alone and are predictions for who will be in the field when it is revealed Monday, March 16, during the selection show.
We’ll break down her bracket and predictions in a second, but let’s take a look at it first. (Click or tap here to open the bracket in a new window.)
And here’s that same bracket in table form.
|Greenville, S.C.||Dallas, TX||Portland, OR||Fort Wayne, IN|
|16||North Carolina A&T||Kansas City||Campbell||Abilene Christian|
|8||South Dakota||Drake||Virginia Tech||Central Michigan|
|5||TCU||Florida State||Kentucky||Texas A&M|
|12||Fresno State||WKU||Colorado||Old Dominion|
|3||UCLA||Gonzaga||Mississippi State||Oregon State|
|14||James Madison||UNCG||Rider||Montana State|
|7||Princeton||Missouri State||North Carolina||LSU|
|15||Texas Southern||UC Davis||Stony Brook||Robert Morris|
KEEP AN EYE ON: Princeton, UNC and FGCU are three unranked teams to watch
Oregon, Baylor, Louisville and South Carolina are No. 1 seeds
Smith’s No. 1 seeds have changed since her last bracket prediction. Stanford and UConn are out. South Carolina and Louisville are in.
Getting a No. 1 seed and getting placed in Greenville would be huge for Dawn Staley’s Gamecocks, as Columbia, S.C. is just a 90-minute drive from the regional site. This could give the Gamecocks a home-court advantage through the regionals as they try to get back to the Final Four for the first time since they won it all in 2017. Staley’s squad is No. 1 in the AP Top 25 Poll and has won 16 straight games.
Since losing a neutral site game to South Carolina in November, Baylor — the reigning champs — have rolled and are on a 13-game winning streak, a run that includes a pair of impressive wins over ranked teams in UConn and West Virginia. The Lady Bears have the second-best offense in the country and the third-best defense in the country in terms of points scored and allowed per game. A season ago, they played their Sweet 16 and Elite Eight games in Greensboro, North Carolina. Playing closer to home in Dallas this season would certainly be an advantage for Kim Mulkey’s team.
Louisville suffered just its second loss of the season Thursday night, falling at home to No. 17 Florida State. Still, Smith thinks the Cardinals will have a resume fit for a No. 1 seed as they’ve notched wins over ranked teams in Oregon and Kentucky. A big match-up awaits Jeff Walz’s side on Feb. 13, when they travel to No. 7 N.C. State for a battle that could have an impact on seeding in the ACC and NCAA tournaments. Louisville has been led this season by Dana Evans, who is averaging 18.7 points, 2.8 rebounds and 4.4 assists per game.
Oregon isn’t invincible this season, but they’ve still proven that they can play with — and beat — the best that women’s college basketball has to offer. While the Ducks suffered losses to Louisville and Arizona State, they’ve also posted wins over ranked teams in UConn, Oregon State, Stanford and Arizona. In a year where the Pac-12 is loaded with talented and competitive teams, getting the No. 1 seed in Portland — the only regional based on the west coast this year — is crucial for the Ducks. Kelly Graves’ team, led by the supremely talented Sabrina Ionescu, has shown it has what it takes to get back to the Final Four.
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- 1 SEEDS — Oregon, Baylor, Louisville, South Carolina
- 2 SEEDS — Maryland, Stanford, UConn, N.C. State
- 3 SEEDS — Mississippi State, Gonzaga, Oregon State, UCLA
- 4 SEEDS — DePaul, Arizona, Northwestern, Iowa
HOW ABOUT THE COMMITTEE? What the women’s basketball committee’s Top 16 reveal means
- America East — Stony Brook
- American Athletic Conference — UConn
- Atlantic 10 — Dayton
- ACC — Louisville
- ASUN — Florida Gulf Coast
- Big 12 — Baylor
- Big East — DePaul
- Big Sky — Montana State
- Big South — Campbell
- Big Ten — Maryland
- Big West — UC Davis
- Colonial Athletic Association — James Madison
- Conference USA — Rice
- Horizon — IUPUI
- Ivy League — Princeton
- MAAC — Rider
- Mid-American — Ohio
- MEAC — North Carolina A&T
- Missouri Valley — Missouri State
- Mountain West — Fresno State
- Northeast — Robert Morris
- Ohio Valley — Belmont
- Pac 12 — Oregon
- Patriot — Colgate
- SEC — South Carolina
- SoCon — UNCG
- Southland — Abilene Christian
- SWAC — Texas Southern
- Summit League — South Dakota
- Sun Belt — Troy
- West Coast — Gonzaga
- Western Athletic Conference — Kansas City
SABRINA’S IMPACT: 5 things that make Sabrina Ionescu a singular talent