By Nathan Keil | Sports Editor
The Lady Bears have work to do if they want to find their way back on the top line of the bracket come Selection Sunday.
The NCAA announced its top 16 teams Thursday night at halftime of the Tennessee and Notre Dame game. Baylor, who has been either a No. 1 or No. 2 seed the last eight seasons, currently ranks No. 9 on the committee’s list, making the Lady Bears the top No. 3 seed if the tournament were to start today.
Baylor’s spot drew most of the attention from the ESPN halftime crew. EspnW Bracketologist Charlie Creme said that it is the Lady Bears’ non-conference schedule and rating that are the main reasons for the initial seeding.
“The Lady Bears have a non-conference rating of 164 and that significantly affects the overall RPI. That’s whats really killing the Lady Bears right now. I think that there aren’t eight teams right now better in the country than Baylor as we speak today,” Creme said. “This is going to be a problem for Baylor going forward because at this time last year, Maryland came in at the No. 3 line and never moved past it despite winning the Big Ten regular season championship, won the tournament title and finished 32-2. So Baylor is going to be a team to watch the rest of the way for that reason. The Lady Bears do really have their work cut out for them.”
On the current 4-seed line are Georgia, Rutgers, Texas A&M and Missouri. Joining Baylor on the 3-seed line are UCLA, Baylor’s lone loss, Florida State and Ohio State. The current two seeds are defending National Champion South Carolina, Texas, Notre Dame and Tennessee and the top seeds are Oregon, Louisville, Mississippi State and Connecticut.
NCAA women’s basketball committee chair Rhonda Lundin Bennett told espnW.com’s Michelle Voepel that there are plenty of chances for teams to move up in the next few weeks due to important upcoming conference games.
“The first ranking serves as a conversation starter, as there are numerous games in the next several weeks that will help to identify where teams should be seeded,” Bennett. “The committee will continue to monitor play closely, and then revisit on Feb. 1 for second of the three regular-season rankings.”
The Bears do not currently own any wins over teams ranked in either the Associate Press or the USA Today Coaches Poll Top 25, although both Kentucky and Stanford were ranked at the time Baylor beat them.
After Saturday’s contest with Kansas State, Baylor’s next three games will come against ranked opponents, including Texas, a trip to West Virginia and Oklahoma State, so the Lady Bears will have opportunities to improve their resume by Feb. 1 when the next rankings are released.