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UConn earns top overall seed; defending champ South Carolina No. 2 seed

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Geno: 'I'm not surprised by the brackets' (2:01)

UConn head coach Geno Auriemma explains his feelings on the bracket and where the Huskies' health stands as they prepare for the NCAA tournament. (2:01)

NEW YORK -- UConn is back in a familiar place -- the No. 1 overall seed in the women's basketball NCAA tournament.

Joining the Huskies as top seeds are Notre Dame, Louisville and Mississippi State.

The Huskies enter as the lone unbeaten team and will be vying for their 12th national championship. Last season, UConn came into the NCAAs as the overwhelming favorite before losing to Mississippi State in the Final Four.

This year's Final Four is in Columbus, Ohio, and will take place on March 30. The national championship game is on Sunday, April 1.

Defending national champion South Carolina and A'ja Wilson await as a possible Elite Eight matchup for UConn in the Albany Regional. The Gamecocks are the 2-seed.

"What can you do? You have to beat some pretty good teams. Is it an impossible feat? Obviously not,'' South Carolina coach Dawn Staley said. "We saw that last year. If we're in the position where we have to play them, we're going to play them. We're going to give it our best shot and let the chips fall where they may.''

The Gamecocks lost by 25 at home against UConn on Feb. 1.

Florida State and Georgia are the other top seeds in the Huskies' part of the bracket.

"Brackets are brackets. There are good teams in every bracket,'' UConn coach Geno Auriemma said. "There are great matchups in every bracket and it doesn't really matter at this stage where you're placed, what region, you're going to have to beat some really good teams. The schedule we play, I knew we'd get somebody two or three that we already played. We know that.''

UConn, which has been a No. 1 seed every year since 2007, opens up against 16-seed Saint Francis (Pennsylvania) on Saturday morning. All four top seeds play the opening two rounds at home.

Like the Huskies, the Irish are a No. 1 seed again. Notre Dame has been a top seed the past seven years. This might be one of coach Muffet McGraw's finest accomplishments, as Notre Dame lost four pivotal players to injury, but only three games on the season.

The Irish are in the Spokane Regional and open up against Cal State Northridge on Friday. If Notre Dame advances, the Irish would potentially face No. 2 Oregon if the seeds hold.

The Ducks potentially could stay out West and play in Spokane, where Oregon coach Kelly Graves spent many years as Gonzaga's coach.

"We wouldn't be in that kind of position if we didn't have a great year, and we hope to keep that going,'' Graves said. "The growth of our program at this time last year, we were hoping to have done enough to get in. It's funny how things changed in a year.''

Louisville won the ACC for the first time this season and earned its first No. 1 seed. The Cardinals open up against Boise State.

"We're really excited about the opportunity,'' Louisville coach Jeff Walz said. "We're excited to host the first two at home against two very good basketball teams. If we're fortunate enough to advance, we get the opportunity to play in Lexington, which would be great for our fans.''

The Lexington Regional is stacked with former NCAA tournament winners with Baylor the 2-seed, Tennessee at No. 3 and Stanford at No. 4. While the Lady Vols have been in the NCAA tournament every year since it began in 1982, Nicholls State, Northern Colorado, Mercer and Seattle will be making their first appearances.

Stanford could be headed to Lexington for the third straight year if it can advance.

Mississippi State is a No. 1 seed for the first time in school history. The Bulldogs won their first 32 games this season before losing to South Carolina in the SEC title game. With most of their players back from last season's runner-up finish -- including Morgan William, who hit the game winner in overtime to knock off UConn -- the Bulldogs hope to make another deep NCAA run.

The NCAA revealed Sunday night the final eight teams under consideration for the last four spots in the tournament. Buffalo, Creighton, Minnesota and Oklahoma got in. Purdue, Rutgers, USC and West Virginia were the first four teams out.

Oklahoma got in with a 16-14 record -- the fewest wins for an at-large team since 2005 -- a day after the Oklahoma men got an at-large berth with an 18-13 record and losses in 11 of their final 15 games.

"We spent almost seven hours on that decision of who those last four teams in and first four out were,'' NCAA women's basketball committee chair Rhonda Bennett said. "We went through those résumés and their body of work. We took as long as it took to get those teams into the bracket.''

Bennett said Oklahoma's strength of schedule, which was second best in the country, was a key to its selection.