The 2015 NCAA women’s tournament field was released on Monday and to no one’s surprise the Connecticut Huskies (32-1) received the top overall seed and was placed in the Albany Region.
UConn, which is seeking its third straight national title, has won 31 straight games. If the Huskies do indeed win the crown, it would be their 10th title under Geno Auriemma — which would tie him with former UCLA coach John Wooden for most all-time.
“This is why you coach,” Auriemma said. “This is why you come to Connecticut if you are one of these players. Are we mature enough to handle it? We will find that out very soon.”
UConn is the favorite to win the tournament and with good reason. The Huskies are 78-1 in their last 79 contests and they have two of the best players in the country in Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis and Breanna Stewart. UConn has defeated two of the other No. 1 seeds — Notre Dame and South Carolina– as well as Duke quite handily already this season. However, the Huskies 88-86 overtime lost to Stanford demonstrates that they are capable of being upset.
Notre Dame (31-2) is the top seed in the Oklahoma City Region while South Carolina (30-2) received the nod in the Greensboro Region and Maryland (30-2) is the No. 1 seed in the Spokane Region.
The Fighting Irish have the No. 1 RPI ranking and have won 17 straight. Notre Dame has reached the Final Four the last four years and has had the most success against UConn of any team in tournament in the recent past.
South Carolina ran through their nonconference schedule undefeated that included an exciting one point win at Duke. The Gamecocks also went 15-1 in the SEC regular season before taking the conference tournament crown by defeating Tennessee by 16. However, their two defeats have been by 11 to Kentucky and 25 to UConn.
South Carolina has the No. 8 defense in the nation, surrendering 52.6 points a game.
Maryland has won 25 straight games. The Terrapins two losses have come against Washington State and by 20 to Notre Dame.
1. UConn: This tournament is the Huskies 27th NCAA appearance.
2. Kentucky (23-9): The Wildcats finished fourth in the SEC and then lost to Tennessee in the semifinals in the SEC tournament.
3. Louisville (25-6). The Cardinals finished third in the ACC but have lost three of their last five games.
4. California (23-9). The Golden Bears finished fourh in the Pac-12 but are only 4-4 in their last eight games.
5. Texas (22-10). The Longhorns finished third in the Big 12 and then beat Oklahoma in the conference tournament semifinals before losing to Baylor in the finals.
6. USF (26-7). The Bulls are 6-2 in their last eight games with both losses coming against UConn. The Bulls finished second in the American Athletic and reached the finals of the conference tournament.
7. Dayton (25-6). After starting the season, 1-3, the Flyers finished the season winning 24 of their last 27 contests. Dayton’s last three losses came at the hands of A-10 regular season and tournament champion George Washington.
8. Rutgers (22-9). The Scarlett Knights finished tied for fourth in the Big Ten with a 12-6 record after going 3-3 in their final six games. Rutgers then lost to Northwestern in the quarterfinals of the conference tournament.
9. Seton Hall (28-5). The Pirates tied for first in the Big East but was awarded the No. 1 seed in the conference tournament. Seton Hall, which has 14 of 18 games, fell to DePaul in the finals of the conference tournament.
10. Iowa State (18-12). Iowa State tied for third in the Big 12 regular season with four other teams. The Cyclones are just 4-8 in their last 12 contests.
`11. LSU (17-13). LSU with tied for fourth in the SEC with three other teams. The Tigers have some good wins — Baylor, Mississippi State, Texas A&M — but also several bad losses — Arkansas-Little Rock, Tulane and Santa Clara.
12. Western Kentucky (30-4). The Lady Toppers received an automatic bid after taking home Conference USA’s regular season and conference tournament title. Western Kentucky has won 12 straight.
13. Wichita State (29-4). The Shockers ran through the MVC regular and conference tournament, pretty easily — Wichita State’s only conference loss was a three-point setback at Drake on Feb. 1. Wichita State has won 23-of-24 games since losing at Tennessee (54-51).
14. BYU (23-9). The Cougars finished fifth in the West Coast during the regular season then earned the conference’s automatic bid by winning three straight games and taking home the conference tournament crown.
15. Tennessee State (18-12). The Lady Tigers have won 10 straight, which includes an upset overtime victory over Tennessee-Martin in the finals of the OVC tournament.
16. St. Francis-Brooklyn (15-18). The Terriers won the NEC automatic bid after finishing fifth in the conference during the regular season. St. Francis, which is making its first NCAA appearance, has won five straight.
Which top seed is most likely to get upset? 1.California 2. Texas.
Which double-digit seed has the best chance to win at least two games? Wichita State.
Which teams could surprise? Dayton, USF and Seton Hall.
Which teams could disappoint? Louisville and Kentucky.
Region champion: UConn
2. Tennessee (27-5). The Lady Vols finished tied for first in the SEC and lost to South Carolina in the finals of the conference tournament. Tennessee is 23-3 in its last 26 games, losing to the Gamecocks (twice) and Notre Dame.
3. Oregon State (26-4). The Beavers won the Pac-12 regular season crown but was upset by Colorado in the quarterfinals of the conference tournament. Oregon State has won six-of-their last eight games.
4. Duke (21-10). The Blue Devils had an up-an-down season, finishing tied for fourth in the ACC. Duke has a couple of bad losses recently — Georgia Tech and North Carolina State — and is just 2-4 in their last six games.
5. Mississippi State (26-6). The Bulldogs finished third in the SEC during the regular season.
6. George Washington (29-3). The Colonials steamrolled through the A-10 this season, winning both the regular season and conference tournament crowns. George Washington is on an eight-game winning streak but two of their three losses are considered bad setbacks. The Colonials are making their 16th NCAA appearance.
7. Chattanooga (29-3). The Lady Mocs have won 25 straight games. Chattanooga suffered a two point loss to USF and were blown out by 35 by Notre Dame.
8. Princeton (30-0). The Tigers are the only undefeated team in the women’s bracket. Princeton has beaten Pitt and Duquesne this year.
9. Green Bay (28-4). The Phoenix won both the Horizon regular season and conference titles. Green Bay has won 11 in a row and has played well in losses to Vanderbilt, UConn and Dayton.
10. Pittsburgh (19-11). The Panthers finished seventh in the regular season then lost a first round matchup in the conference tournament to lowly Virginia Tech.
11. Gonzaga (24-7). The Bulldogs have dropped three of their last five games, including a 61-55 loss to BYU in the semifinals of the West Coast tournament. Gonzaga won the West Coast regular season crown and defeated Dayton in the opening game of the season.
12. Tulane (22-10). The Green Wave finished tied for fifth in the American Athletic. Tulane is 3-5 in their last eight contests.
13. Albany (24-8). The Great Danes have won five straight en rout to earning an automatic bid into the NCAA tournament as a result of winning the America East conference tournament. Albany is making its fourth NCAA tournament.
14. South Dakota State (24-8). The Jackrabbits finished second in the Summitt League then defeated rival South Dakota in the championship of the conference tournament to earn the automatic bid. South Dakota State has won 12-of-13 and eight straight.
15. Boise State (22-10). The Broncos earned their way into the tournament by defeating New Mexico in the championship game of the Mountain West tournament. Boise State has won 8-of-11.
16. New Mexico State (22-7). The Aggies have won 22-of-24 games since starting the season 0-5.
Which top seeds are most likely to get upset in the first round? George Washington.
Which double-digit seed has the best chance to win at least two games? Gonzaga.
Which teams could surprise? Green Bay,Princeton and Mississippi State.
Which teams could disappoint? Oregon State and George Washington
Region Champ? Tennessee
Oklahoma City Region
1. Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish is making their 22nd NCAA tournament.
2. Baylor (30-3). The Lady Bears won the Big 12 for the fifth consecutive season. Baylor has won four straight games and all three of their losses has come away from home. The Bears are making their 14th NCAA appearance.
3. Iowa (24-7). The Hawkeyes finished second in the Big Ten and lost to Ohio State in overtime in the semifinals of the conference tournament. Iowa has won 7-of-their -last 10 games.
4. Stanford (24-9). The Cardinal finished third in the Pac-12 and have won 9-of-their-last 11. Stanford has defeated UConn, Oregon State and Arizona State.
5. Oklahoma (20-11). The Sonners finished second in the Big 12 and then lost to Texas in the semifinals of the conference tournament. Oklahoma is 4-4 in its last eight games.
6. Washington (23-9). The Cougars finished fifth in the Pac-12 regular season and has won 7-of-their-last 10.
7. Northwestern (23-6). The Wildcats finished tied for fourth in the Big Ten regular season. Northwestern is 9-2 in its last 11 games.
8. Minnesota (23-9). The Golden Gophers finished sixth in the Big Ten. Minnesota has lost three-of-four games, including their quarterfinal matchup against Ohio State in the Big Ten tournament.
9. DePaul (26-7). The Blue Demons have won seven straight games and defeated Seton Hall in the conference tournament finals to receive the Big East’s automatic bid. Five of DePaul’s losses have been by single digits. This is the Blue Demons 20th NCAA appearance
10. Arkansas (17-13). The Razorbacks finished 10th in the SEC but still earned an at-large bid. Arkansas is 1-3 in its last four games.
11. Miami (Fla.) (19-12). The Hurricanes finished eighth in the ACC and has lost five-of-six.
12. Quinnipiac (31-3). The Bobcats have won 21 straight to earn the MAAC’s automatic bid. Except for a 70-point loss at Notre Dame, Quinnipiac has shown well and has wins over Alabama, and Albany.
13. CS Northridge (23-9). The Matadors earned the Big West automatic bid by defeating Hawaii in the finals of the conference tournament. Northridge, which finished second in the regular season, has won nine straight games.
14. American (24-8). The Eagles won the Patriot League and they have won 11 straight. American is making its first ever NCAA tournament appearance.
15. Northwestern State (19-14). The Lady Demons won five straight in the SWAC to take the conference tournament title and earn the automatic bid. Northwestern State entered the tournament as a No. 6 seed.
16. Montana (24-8). The Grizzlies earned the automatic bid as the champion of the Big Sky conference. Montana has won three straight and seven-of-eight.
Most likely top seeds to get upset in the first round? Oklahoma
Which double-digit seed has the best chance to win at least two games? none.
Which teams could surprise? DePaul, American and Quinnipiac.
Which teams could disappoint? Iowa and Oklahoma
Region Champion: Notre Dame
1. South Carolina
2. Florida State (29-4). The Seminoles won their last five regular season games to finish second in the ACC. Florida State, which has won 16-of-18 games, lost to Notre Dame in the conference finals.
3. Arizona State (27-5). The Sun Devils finished second in the Pac-12 and then fell to Stanford in the conference tournament. Four of Arizona State’s five losses have been by single digits. ASU has won six-of-seven games.
4. North Carolina (24-8). The Tar Heels finished sixth in the ACC. North Carolina is 4-2 in its last six games.
5. Ohio State (23-10). The Buckeyes finished third in Big Ten and lost to Maryland (77-74) in the conference tournament finals. Ohio State is 8-2 in its last 10 contests.
6. Texas A&M (23-9). The Aggies finished tied for fourth in the SEC. Texas A&M is 4-4 in their last eight games but they have dropped three-of-four, including a 71-66 decision to LSU in the quarterfinals of the SEC tournament title.
7. Florida Gulf Coast (30-2). The Eagles coasted to the Atlantic Sun title with an undefeated regular season. FGCU has won 25 straight and their losses has been to Auburn (72-69) and Ohio State (90-83 2OT). FGCU is making its third NCAA appearance.
8. Syracuse (21-9). The Orange finished fifth in the ACC but were upset by Wake Forest in the first round of ACC tournament. Syracuse has won six-of-eight and nearly pulled off upsets over South Carolina, Baylor and Duke. Syracuse has wins against UNC and Pitt (twice).
9. Nebraska (21-10). The Cornhuskers finished seventh in the Big 12. Nebraska is 4-6 in its last 10 games.
10. Oklahoma State (20-11). The Cowgirls finished tied for third with three other teams and then fell to Baylor by 17 in the conference tournament semifinals. Oklahoma State is 2-3 in its last five games with each of those three losses have been by double digits.
11. Arkansas-Little Rock (26-4). UALR won the Sun Belt Conference regular and tournament titles. The Trojans are on a six game winning streak and have won 12-of-13.
12. James Madison (29-3). The Dukes ran through the Colonial with just one lost — a one-point setback to Hofstra on February 22 — on its way to the conference’s automatic bid.
13. Liberty (26-6). The Flames have won 14 straight and claimed the Big South’s regular and tournament crowns.
14. Ohio (27-4). The Bobcats earned the automatic bid to the tournament as champion of the MAC. Ohio has won seven straight games.
15. Alabama State (17-14). The Lady Hornets finished tied for third during the SWAC regular season and then won the conference’s tournament by defeating Southern in the finals. Alabama State has won five-of-six.
16. Savannah State (21-10). The Lady Tigers won the MEAC conference tournament to gain entrance into the tournament. Savannah St. has won 11 in a row and 14-of-15.
Which top seeds are most likely to get upset in the first round? North Carolina, Ohio State
Which double-digit seed has the best chance to win at least two games? James Madison and Liberty.
Which teams could surprise? Syracuse, James Madison, Florida Gulf Coast and Liberty.
Which team could disappoint? Florida State, UNC and Ohio State.
Region champion? South Carolina
NCAA Women’s Tournament Schedule
First Round: March 20-21
Second Round: March 22-23
Sweet 16: March 27-28
Elite Eight: March 29-30
Final Four: April 5
Championship Game: April 7
TV Coverage: ESPN, ESPN2
Live Stream: WatchESPN
[photo by Andy Lyons/ Getty Image]