By Charlie Creme Updated: 3/11/2023 at 9:40 p.m. ET
The women's NCAA tournament will undergo significant change for the second consecutive season. The field expanded to 68 teams last year. This season, the customary four regional sites have been reduced to two: Seattle and Greenville, South Carolina. The top 16 teams will continue to host the first and second rounds, and the First Four games will again be played at the site of the first-round games to which they feed. Defending champion South Carolina is the heavy favorite, and the Gamecocks seek to become the first repeat champions since UConn in 2015-16. The Final Four is March 31 and April 2 at American Airlines Center in Dallas.
In the final top-16 reveal, the NCAA committee leaned toward recent success over full body of work -- even though that hasn't been what the committee has prioritized in the past. This week, a nagging feeling has lingered that the trend will continue. So as we head into Selection Sunday, Iowa has been elevated to the fourth No. 1 seed, dropping Stanford to the 2-line. The Cardinal have a better overall résumé than Iowa, but the image of the Hawkeyes beating Indiana on a buzzer-beater in the regular-season finale then blowing out Ohio State in the Big Ten tournament title game might prove too much to ignore for this committee. Stanford losing in the Pac-12 tournament semifinals opened the door; the committee will push Iowa through it. UConn also slides up the 2-line and to No. 5 overall. Deciphering the paper-thin differences among the Huskies, Hawkeyes and Cardinal looms as the committee's most difficult task.
On the Bubble
Salt Lake City
Photo illo by ESPN Illustration, additional photos courtesy of Getty Images, Associated Press, Imagn, Icon Sportswire, EPA/Shutterstock