Hello and welcome to Selection Sunday 2022!
Later today, we’re going to find out exactly which 68 teams are in the 2022 NCAA women’s basketball national championship tournament. Yes, later in the day on Sunday. That’s different than in years past. Back in November — after the season started no less — the NCAA officially approved expanding the women’s basketball tournament to 68 teams to match the men’s tournament. Was this expressly done to make the two tournaments match each other? Yes! In the NCAA’s own words:
The decision follows a recommendation from a comprehensive external gender equity review of NCAA championships conducted by Kaplan Hecker & Fink. The first phase of the review examined historical inequities in college basketball and was spurred by issues that arose during the 2021 Division I Men’s and Women’s Basketball Championships.
I get your point and your reasoning, but also: Thanks, I hate it. I hate that the men’s tournament is 68 teams, I hate that they expanded it to 68 just to avoid removing an at-large bid back in 2011 when they were totally fine doing exactly that to women’s basketball, women’s soccer, and women’s volleyball, I hate that they’re expanding the women’s tournament now to make the two tournaments equal instead of just making a nice even round 64 team tournament all over the place.
ANYWAY, the expansion to 68 teams for the women’s tournament means First Four games, which means those have to be played before the Round of 64 starts on Friday, which means that in order to get teams to where they need to be, they need an extra day for travel, and so ta-da: Selection Sunday instead of Selection Monday.
I don’t care for this either, by the way. Instead of the women’s tournament getting its own day to shine in the sun for the announcement of the bracket, it’s now being crammed later in the day after the men’s bracket is announced. Super neat, definitely going to get lots of attention for the tournament now, great plan, definitely didn’t rush into it after the season started without thinking it through, no notes.
By the way, Marquette women’s basketball is almost assuredly not getting into the NCAA tournament.
The Golden Eagles are 21-10 on the year after going 13-7 in Big East play. They stand at just #69 in the NET with a 0-3 record against the top 25 teams and a 1-3 record against the teams ranked #26-51 in the NET. That’s 1-6 against the teams most likely to get into the tournament with an at-large bid, and at the end of the day, that’s probably just not good enough. It’s a good season for Marquette, giving them 20 wins for the fifth time in the last six years, and they won 19 games a year ago after playing only four non-conference games and losing out on two Big East games due to COVID protocol reasons.
But it probably won’t be enough for the NCAA tournament. ESPN’s Charlie Creme has Creighton (NET #32) as one of the last four teams to skip past the First Four games, Villanova (#71) as one of the Last Four In, and DePaul (#53) as one of the First Four out. No mention of Marquette as Next Four Out, either. If you’re wondering about Villanova being in with a worse NET than Marquette, that can be explained fairly easily, and I don’t just mean Nova’s road win over UConn. The Wildcats are 23-8 on the year, but 20-5 with Big East Player of the Year Maddy Siegrist in the lineup. Both of their losses outside the top 100 happened during the six game stretch that Siegrist missed, and so when trying to evaluate what Villanova is right now, you can kiiiiiiind of throw those losses out the window, along with the impact to the NET along the way.
We’ll keep an eye on the women’s bracket selection show juuuuust in case. If Marquette does not qualify for the NCAA tournament, I feel pretty confident in saying that they will be a lock for the WNIT. That’s a 64 team field, and they take an automatic bid from every single conference. That autobid goes to the team with the best record in the league that did not qualify for the NCAA tournament. If DePaul gets in and makes it four Big East teams in the national championship, MU becomes the automatic bid to the WNIT. Past that, if you’re taking 32 at-large bids into the bracket, I don’t see any way you can possibly skip past the Golden Eagles.
The WNIT will announce their field of 64 on Sunday night once the NCAA field of 68 is set, with a full bracket coming before 1pm Central on Monday. Keep your eyes and ears open as the night rolls on.....
2022 NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament Selection Show
Date: Sunday, March 13, 2022
Time: 7pm Central