Women's Bracketology: Ohio State and Colorado earn No. 1 seeds in top 16 reveal



The NCAA Tournament Selection Committee had the first of two scheduled “top 16” reveals on Thursday night, revealing which teams are currently on track to receive No. 1-4 seeds and host games in the opening weekend of March Madness.

South Carolina and Stanford were locks as the top two overall seeds, and Ohio State joining them up top was not a surprise. The unexpected twist came as Colorado snagged the final No. 1 seed. 

The Buffaloes don’t have as many NET top 50 wins as teams like Iowa or UCLA but they haven’t dropped a game to a team with a NET below 17.

Overall, the Pac-12 claimed five of the top 11 spots as Oregon State cemented its spot among the conference elite, and Virginia Tech joined the Beavers on the No. 3 line on the heels of an eight-game winning streak.

Big names like UConn (No. 3 seed) and LSU (No. 4 seed) who don’t have any more NET top 25 games left on the schedule are coming to face with their ceilings, while Gonzaga (25-2, NET 11) was surprisingly left out of the reveal, leaving the Bulldogs to wonder if running the table will be enough to earn a hosting spot.

We’ll receive the second top 16 reveal on Feb. 29. There will no doubt be many changes between now and Leap Day, but here’s how the field stands entering the back half of February.

No. 1 seeds

*South Carolina (24-0, 11-0 SEC): NET 1, SOS 14

Thursday at Tennessee was the third time this season that South Carolina trailed at halftime, but the team has won all of those games by at least six points. Tennessee now falls to the first team out of the projected field. As the only women’s team to play in every NCAA Tournament, a win would’ve eased many a Volunteer’s fear.

*Stanford (22-3, 11-2 Pac-12): NET 2, SOS 5

It wasn’t an easy trip to the state of Washington for Stanford. The Cardinal needed OT to take down Washington and were in a two-point game with Washington State before pulling away in the fourth quarter. Still, those are quality wins that give Stanford padding ahead of other teams eyeing a No. 1 seed. It would take multiple losses for Stanford to move off the top line.

Ohio State (22-3, 13-1 Big Ten): NET 8, SOS 15

Since the start of 2024, Ohio State has arguably looked like the best team in the country. After Nebraska pulled off a major upset against Iowa, the team traveled to face the Buckeyes and were promptly squashed 80-47. That pair of results explains why Ohio State has leapfrogged the Hawkeyes.

Colorado (20-4, 10-3 Pac-12): NET 15, SOS 11

That Colorado remained a No. 1 seed despite losing its last game to Oregon State suggests that the Buffaloes were No. 3 or perhaps even No. 2 overall before that game. If they want to keep their position heading into March, they’ll have to earn it. Three consecutive road games at Utah, USC and UCLA is quite the gauntlet, but JR Payne’s team is 7-1 in true road contests this season. 

No. 2 seeds

*Iowa (23-3, 12-2 Big Ten): NET 5, SOS 22

After a scoreless fourth quarter in the loss at Nebraska, Caitlin Clark responded with 23 points in the first period against Michigan. Of course, she only needed eight for the D-I women’s scoring record. That took just over two minutes, thanks to a couple of 3-point bombs from another zip code. It was a school-record 49 for Clark on an enthralling night at Carver-Hawkeye Arena, but the focus must quickly turn to Thursday’s top-tier tangle with Indiana.

*NC State (22-3, 10-3 ACC): NET 10, SOS 28

In South Bend on Thursday, NC State held Notre Dame’s Hannah Hidalgo to a season-low 10 points and the Irish as a team to just 43 points, nearly 40 under their season average. The Wolfpack blew past their win total from last year’s 20-12 season this week and are right back where they want to be as a Final Four contender. 

UCLA (19-4, 8-4 Pac-12): NET 7, SOS 1

I thought UCLA’s position as No. 7 overall in the top 16 reveal was very low for a team with nine NET top 50 wins including a head-to-head victory over Colorado. Two of the Bruins’ losses also came without starting center Lauren Betts, who has since returned from her four-game absence. Still, UCLA remains a favorite to lock up their first top-two seed in program history.

*Texas (23-3, 10-3 Big 12): NET 4, SOS 47

The Longhorns had no trouble with TCU and Houston on the road last week, nor should they have. Texas’ week-to-week fate will come down to the teams around them. They aren’t able to stop schools like Ohio State from picking up huge wins and vaulting up the field, but that should balance out as top teams give each other losses.

No. 3 seeds

USC (18-4, 8-4 Pac-12): NET 16, SOS 8

Averaging 35.8 points per game over the Trojans’ four-game win streak, JuJu Watkins is only improving over the season, which should terrify any opposing team. The Trojans are a three-point home loss against Washington away from being in the No. 1 seed discussion and benefit from playing in the Pac-12, where opportunities for quality wins come nearly every time out.

Virginia Tech (21-4, 12-2 ACC): NET 17, SOS 38

What does the ceiling look like for Virginia Tech? If the Hokies can pull out a win at Louisville on Sunday, a No. 2 seed starts to become a real possibility. That would be a fourth win over the NET top 25 for a team that’s been on fire as of late. And remember, performance later in the season is weighted higher by the women’s committee, unlike the men’s.

Oregon State (20-3, 9-3 Pac-12): NET 18, SOS 26

Last week, I wrote that Oregon State could continue to impress by winning one of their upcoming road games at Utah and Colorado. They picked up both, and have now swept the Utes and Buffaloes. This has been a season beyond anyone’s wildest dreams for a program that missed each of the previous two NCAA Tournaments and it was good to see the top 16 reveal validate that.

*UConn (21-5, 13-0 Big East): NET 3, SOS 3

Was UConn supposed to beat South Carolina, even with the Gamecocks missing Kamilla Cardoso? Of course not. But it now becomes difficult to see how UConn can improve upon its No. 3 seed standing. Creighton just moved into the NET top 25, yet if UConn defeats the Jayhawks on Monday, the result will likely knock them back out. At the end of the day, the Huskies missed their chances. Their five toughest games according to NET all ended in double-digit defeats.

No. 4 seeds

Kansas State (21-4, 10-3 Big 12): NET 14, SOS 34

The end of Kansas State’s 2OT loss at Iowa State was something of a comedy as it continued to get “quick twos” but couldn’t get a lucky missed free throw from the Cyclones on the other end. K-State has now dropped three straight road games and needs to lock in to avoid risking losing its spot in the top 16.

LSU (21-4, 8-3 SEC): NET 9, SOS 59

The defending champs are regaining momentum after three straight wins over bubble teams (literally half the SEC is on the bubble) by an average of 27.3 points per game. Every team is giving LSU their best shot, and even more so for teams around the cut line. Angel Reese can still turn in massive games like her 27-point, 19-rebound, six-assist effort Sunday against Alabama.

Indiana (21-3, 12-2 Big Ten): NET 12, SOS 40

The last time Indiana faced off with Iowa, it ended with a Caitlin Clark buzzer-beater three for the win to close out the 2022-23 regular season. But if any team is going to out-shoot Clark, Indiana’s a great bet. The Hoosiers are shooting an almost impossibly-high 41.4% from beyond the arc this year, and Sara Scalia has already set a program record with 79 made triples in a season.

Louisville (21-5, 10-3 ACC): NET 22, SOS 35

Louisville squeaked into the top 16 and nearly played its way out shortly afterward at Boston College. Instead, Nina Rickards’ late layup sealed a 69-67 victory. Sunday’s clash with Virginia Tech can allow the Cardinals to solidify their position as a top-four seed stronger.

No. 5 seeds

Syracuse (21-4, 11-3 ACC): NET 38, SOS 56

*Gonzaga (25-2, 12-0 WCC): NET 11, SOS 85

Creighton (20-3, 11-2 Big East): NET 25, SOS 63

Oklahoma (18-6, 12-1 Big 12): NET 28, SOS 23

No. 6 seeds

Baylor (18-6, 7-6 Big 12): NET 20, SOS 29

Notre Dame (18-6, 8-5 ACC): NET 13, SOS 32

Utah (18-7, 8-5 Pac-12): NET 6, SOS 4

West Virginia (21-3, 10-3 Big 12): NET 19, SOS 78

No. 7 seeds

Michigan State (17-7, 7-6 Big Ten): NET 23, SOS 50

Duke (16-8, 8-5 ACC): NET 21, SOS 19

North Carolina (16-9, 8-5 ACC): NET 29, SOS 12

*Princeton (18-3, 8-0 Ivy): NET 30, SOS 84

No. 8 seeds

Florida State (18-8, 9-5 ACC): NET 41, SOS 41

Ole Miss (17-7, 7-4 SEC): NET 49, SOS 53

Mississippi State (20-6, 7-4 SEC): NET 31, SOS 77

*UNLV (21-2, 11-1 MWC): NET 36, SOS 200

No. 9 seeds

Nebraska (16-9, 8-6 Big Ten): NET 32, SOS 21

Washington State (15-10, 4-8 Pac-12): NET 24, SOS 13

Iowa State (14-9, 8-5 Big 12): NET 39, SOS 27

Penn State (16-9, 7-7 Big Ten): NET 26, SOS 43

No. 10 seeds

Maryland (14-10, 6-7 Big Ten): NET 33, SOS 2

Marquette (19-6, 8-6 Big East): NET 35, SOS 74

Saint Joseph’s (23-2, 12-1 Atlantic 10): NET 56, SOS 166

Texas A&M (17-7, 5-6 SEC): NET 34, SOS 73

No. 11 seeds

*Richmond (22-4, 12-1 Atlantic 10): NET 50, SOS 96

Miami (Fla.) (16-8,6-7 ACC): NET 43, SOS 48

*Green Bay (20-5, 13-2 Horizon): NET 54, SOS 151

California (15-10, 5-8 Pac-12): NET 60, SOS 16

Alabama (19-7, 6-5 SEC): NET 27, SOS 70

No. 12 seeds

Michigan (16-10, 7-7 Big Ten): NET 48, SOS 36

Vanderbilt (19-7, 6-6 SEC): NET 59, SOS 64

*Middle Tennessee (20-4, 10-0 CUSA): NET 37, SOS 183

*Florida Gulf Coast (22-4, 12-0 ASUN): NET 57, SOS 119

*Ball State (21-3, 10-1 MAC): NET 75, SOS 175

No. 13 seeds

*Belmont (18-6, 11-2 MVC): NET 70, SOS 99

*South Dakota State (19-5, 11-0 Summit): NET 61, SOS 92

*Fairfield (21-1, 13-0 MAAC): NET 82, SOS 343

*Chattanooga (21-3, 9-0 SoCon): NET 100, SOS 305

No. 14 seeds

*Eastern Washington (20-5, 10-2 Big Sky): NET 81, SOS 243

*Stony Brook (19-3, 9-2 CAA): NET 69, SOS 327

*Grand Canyon (21-4, 13-1 WAC): NET 85, SOS 333

*North Texas (19-5, 9-3 AAC): NET 84, SOS 245

No. 15 seeds

*Marshall (18-6, 12-1 Sun Belt): NET 96, SOS 265

*Jackson State (16-6, 11-0 SWAC): NET 102, SOS 79

*Maine (17-8, 10-1 America East): NET 110, SOS 236

*Lamar (17-5, 11-1 Southland): NET 125, SOS 161

No. 16 seeds

*UC Irvine (15-7, 10-3 Big West): NET 126, SOS 326

*Norfolk State (17-5, 6-1 MEAC): NET 134, SOS 292

*Holy Cross (14-9 8-4 Patriot): NET 165, SOS 299

*Sacred Heart (15-9, 9-1 NEC): NET 242, SOS 332

*Tennessee Tech (13-12, 8-6 OVC): NET 202, SOS 311

*High Point (15-10, 10-2 Big South): NET 274, SOS 172

Last Four In

California (15-10, 5-8 Pac-12): NET 60, SOS 16

Alabama (19-7, 6-5 SEC): NET 27, SOS 70

Michigan (16-10, 7-7 Big Ten): NET 48, SOS 36

Vanderbilt (19-7, 6-6 SEC): NET 59, SOS 64

First Four Out

Tennessee (15-9, 8-4 SEC): NET 42, SOS 17

Villanova (16-8, 9-4 Big East): NET 40, SOS 61

Auburn (16-8, 5-6 SEC): NET 55, SOS 69

Minnesota (14-10, 4-9 Big Ten): NET 47, SOS 37





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