Charlie Creme, 583d

Selection Monday winners and losers

Women's College Basketball, Baylor Lady Bears, Kansas State Wildcats, South Carolina Gamecocks

Which teams are smiling after Selection Monday and which teams have plenty to grumble about? We take a look at both sides.


1. Baylor. The Lady Bears were beaten handily in the Big 12 title game by West Virginia; have a star player in Alexis Jones whose health status is up in the air; suffered two of their three losses in the season's final month; and could conceivably win a national championship and never get on an airplane. Baylor will open at home in Waco, then get to play the regionals in Oklahoma City -- a 287-mile bus ride away. The Final Four is in Dallas. The committee placing the Lady Bears in the Oklahoma City region gave Baylor by far the easiest geographical path to a title.

2. Kansas State. Some middle seed was going to have the good fortune of hosting games because of Stanford's venue conflict and inability to accommodate basketball games at Maples Pavilion. That lottery winner is the No. 7 seed Wildcats. While it's tough to see a seed as high as a No. 2 have to play a second-round road game, this is a nice reward for a very loyal fan base in Manhattan.

3. Miami. Hosting is also on the mind of the Hurricanes, who snuck in as the presumptive No. 16 overall team. The RPI of 16 is likely what got Miami games in Coral Gables, despite a relatively weak nonconference schedule and just three top-50 RPI wins -- fewer than that of a number of other teams in contention.

4. Cal and Northern Iowa. Both were among the last teams in the field, and both can be thankful for a weak bubble. Cal lost five of its last six games in the regular season and finished 6-12 in the Pac-12, a highly unusual combination for inclusion. Northern Iowa gets in despite not winning the Missouri Valley Conference -- only the RPI's 16th-rated league -- and losing four games to conference foes. Typically, mid-majors that are at-large selections are league champs or come from a strong conference. The Panthers made it in with neither.

5. Kentucky. For the second straight year, the Wildcats will host first- and second-round games at Memorial Coliseum and, should they advance, then play at Rupp Arena in the regionals. Last year, it didn't quite work out, with Washington upsetting Kentucky in Lexington in the regional semifinals. But the Wildcats can, once again, make a Final Four by traveling a few blocks.


1. Duke and Maryland. The last place any higher seeded team on the board wanted to be was No. 8 or No. 9. Based on the S-curve, that means being placed in the region with the top overall seed -- the giant at the top of Storrs mountain, Connecticut. That's exactly where the Blue Devils and Terrapins ended up. Maryland is probably upset enough being slotted as a No. 3 seed, but to also have to get through the Huskies to reach a Final Four could put a damper on the entire final tournament for senior All-Americans Shatori Walker-Kimbrough and Brionna Jones.

2. South Carolina. With Baylor being placed in the Oklahoma City Regional, that means the higher-rated Gamecocks are off to the furthest possible region for the third time in four years. This marks the second time in four tournaments that South Carolina has been shipped to the West Coast. The trip itself is not a big deal, but the dramatic time zone shift is. Those three hours can make routines and schedules a difficult adjustment. The only time Dawn Staley's team has made it to the Final Four in this four-year window is when they stayed in the Eastern time zone and played in the Greensboro regional. The Gamecocks were out in the Sweet 16 at both Stanford in 2014 and Sioux Falls last year.

3. Drake. The committee felt the Missouri Valley Conference was worthy of two teams, taking Drake and Northern Iowa, but somehow felt that the unbeaten regular-season and tournament champion Bulldogs should be a No. 10 seed, the same as the Panthers. Not only that, Drake has to play a first-round game against Kansas State on the Wildcats' home floor, while Northern Iowa, which lost to Drake three times and finished three games behind them in the regular-season standings, gets to play on a neutral court against DePaul.

4. Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish can't complain about a No. 1 seed and have won in all circumstances in tournaments past, so Notre Dame will likely be just fine. But after leaving South Bend, the Irish will likely be the "road" team in the regionals, no matter what. Even if Kentucky doesn't reach the Lexington region to face Notre Dame, the likely alternative is then Ohio State. The Columbus faithful should also be in full force at Rupp.

5. Syracuse. The Orange, a Final Four participant a year ago, not only are underseeded at No. 8, but they also are playing in Storrs, with a second-round game against UConn looming, even if they survive an Iowa State team that is playing its best basketball of the season.

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