Mississippi State earns No. 1 seed in NCAA Women’s Tournament
Published 5:29 pm Monday, March 18, 2019
NEW YORK (AP) — Baylor, Notre Dame, Mississippi State and Louisville are the No. 1 seeds in the women’s NCAA Tournament, leading a March Madness field revealed early thanks to a production error.
The bracket was mistakenly put out by ESPN hours before the network had its selection show. ESPN apologized and scrambled to air an early selection show to release the brackets while screenshots of the picks were shared across social networks.
“In working with the NCAA to prepare for tonight’s Women’s Selection Special we received the bracket, similar to years past. In the midst of our preparation, the bracket was mistakenly posted on ESPNU,” the network said in a statement. “We deeply regret the error and extend our apology to the NCAA and the women’s basketball community. We will conduct a thorough review of our process to ensure it doesn’t happen in the future.”
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Mississippi State (30-2) is the No. 1 team in the Portland Regional where Oregon — which handed the Bulldogs one of their two losses this season — is the second seed.
Mississippi State will host first- and second-round games this weekend in Starkville.
The weekend begins with No. 8 seed South Dakota (28-5) matching up with No. 9 seed Clemson (19-12) at 6 p.m. on Friday.
Mississippi State will then play No. 16 seed Southern University (20-12) 30 minutes after the conclusion of the first game, at approximately 8:30 p.m. Both games will air on ESPN2.
The two winners will meet on Sunday with a tipoff time to be announced following the conclusion of all games on Friday. The winner of the second-round game will advance to the Portland regional on March 29 and April 1.
Mississippi State is one of seven SEC teams in the bracket, with Texas A&M also hosting the first and second rounds. The other SEC teams that qualified are South Carolina, Kentucky, Missouri, Tennessee and Auburn.
Mississippi State is the only SEC team in the Portland Regional.
South Carolina, Kentucky and Missouri are all in the Greensboro Regional, where Baylor is the No. 1 seed.
Texas A&M and Auburn are in the Chicago Regional, where Notre Dame has the top seed.
Tennessee sneaked in to the field as an 11-seed. The Lady Vols have been in every NCAA Tournament since the first one in 1982. They’ll have a tough path to the Final Four in the Albany Regional — No. 2 seed Connecticut awaits in the Sweet 16 if they survive that long.
It’s the first time since 2006 that Connecticut is not a No. 1 seed.
The women’s tournament begins play on Friday. The Final Four is in Tampa, Florida, on April 5 and the championship game is April 7.