Going into the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament selection show on Monday night, there was reason for some optimism. The Syracuse Orange were guaranteed to make it, and projections had them around a No. 6 seed. At worst, SU was probably looking at a tough matchup with a 3-seed in round two — not easy, but certainly not impossible.
Instead, they got hosed by the committee.
Despite some marquee wins, a No. 31 RPI and a good collection of road and neutral wins (eight overall), Syracuse was handed an 8-seed in the 2017 NCAA Tournament.
What’s worse? They’re in UConn’s bracket.
The Huskies haven’t lost in years (literally), play all four rounds of this year’s tournament in Connecticut and beat the Orange when they last met in the National Championship in 2016.
All of this also assumes SU can get by 9-seed Iowa State. The Cyclones were 18-12 and 9-9 in the Big 12 this season; a far cry from Syracuse’s 22-10 and 11-5 record in the much tougher ACC.
The Orange women will tip off vs. ISU at 1:30 p.m. ET on Saturday, March 18. The game will be played at the Harry A. Gampel Pavilion in Storrs, Conn., and you can find it on ESPN2. Opposite them, UConn will face 16th-seeded Albany. Assuming both former Final Four combatants win, they’ll play again next Monday, March 20 (also in Storrs).
Considering the strides Syracuse has made in recent seasons, it’s disappointing to see the committee underseed them, and slot them in against a near-impossible opponent like UConn. One reminder, however, despite the bleak outlook now: the Orange women have beaten the Huskies before. They knocked off a top-ranked UConn team in 1995-96 as well -- though this victory would be even more surprising (despite this SU team being better).
We’ll have a preview up before the Iowa State game, and then hopefully for the UConn contest as well. For now, might as well get even more irate with the NCAA than you were after yesterday...