Heading into Sunday's women's college basketball games, the schedule looked fairly nondescript. The slate included just one matchup between Top 25 teams. It seemed like favorites would take care of business, Bracketology would remain largely unchanged and many teams would be gearing up for the final week of the regular season.
Then they played the games.
By day's end, 12 teams that started Sunday in the projected NCAA tournament field had lost. The upsets ranged from subtle -- Georgia over LSU, Texas Tech over Iowa State -- to profound -- Villanova over DePaul, Alabama over Mississippi State, Washington over UCLA.
None of the No. 1 seeds was impacted and only one No. 2 went down, but the ripple effect in the bracket will be felt right into Championship Week. Let's break down what the Sunday of surprises means to the field with a look at which teams gained and lost the most.
Winner: Georgia Tech
The Yellow Jackets held on to upset Florida State for the second time this season, launching themselves back into the field. After a five-game losing streak that included stumbles to sub-.500 Notre Dame and Miami, Georgia Tech's NCAA tournament chances looked doomed. But Sunday's win over the Seminoles was the second win a week over a top-25 RPI team (the Yellow Jackets also won at NC State last Sunday).
In a year when the résumés of the teams at the bottom of the at-large pool are so resoundingly lacking substance, Georgia Tech now has four wins against teams in the RPI top 50. So while the RPI at 66 doesn't look appealing, the Yellow Jackets have more quality wins than anyone in that group of teams. They can't afford to lose to Clemson in their regular-season finale or go out early in the ACC tournament. The work isn't quite done, but the bounce-back by this defense-first Georgia Tech team against high-caliber opponents in the last week has recharged its chances.
Meanwhile, Florida State has lost two of its last three games and is now in jeopardy of losing out on a top-four seed in the ACC tournament. The Seminoles currently sit in a three-way tie for fourth place. With two games left in which it will be a big favorite -- against Notre Dame and Clemson -- beating Georgia Tech would have put Florida State in great position for the double-bye. Not only is that now uncertain, but the chances of getting a top-four NCAA tournament seed and the privilege to host first- and second-round games is gone.
The idea that UCLA could challenge for the final No. 1 seed was real just a week ago. The Bruins only needed to build on the momentum of wins over Stanford and Oregon State and finish the regular season with a flurry. But after Sunday's loss at Washington -- in which the 13-14 Huskies outplayed the Bruins for the majority of the game -- not only is a No. 1 seed no longer a possibility, but a No. 2 seed will be hard to come by.
Perhaps seed isn't that important to the Bruins since they were unlikely to play in a regional close to home under any scenario, but Sunday again exposed just how poor of a perimeter shooting team UCLA is without starting wing Natalie Chou, who missed Sunday's game with an injury. The Bruins made just 5-of-26 from 3-point range and shot 31.6% from the field overall.
Loser: The No. 3 seeds
DePaul, Arizona and Mississippi State, which all came into Sunday on the 3-line, each lost. The Blue Demons inexplicably lost by 18 points to Villanova in the final home game of Wildcats coach Harry Perretta's 42 years on the sideline on the Main Line. Emotions aside and perhaps excusing DePaul since it had already clinched the Big East regular-seasons title, the loss dropped the Blue Demons' to a No. 4 seed -- and if so many others in that area of the S-curve hadn't also lost, they would have little chance of getting back to a No. 3 seed.
Arizona was without star Aari McDonald (lower leg injury) in its loss to Colorado, but that can't excuse getting outrebounded 48-27 and only scoring 38 points. That's a hard day to rationalize, and now the Wildcats are more susceptible of falling out of the top 16 than they are of getting back to a No. 3 seed. With Stanford still to come on Friday night and a red-hot Missouri State team looming just outside the top 16, Arizona's prospects of hosting first- and second-round games is in serious jeopardy.
The Bulldogs were the one team of this group that didn't fall off the 3-line, but the last-second home loss to Alabama likely ended their chances at a No. 2 seed. Mississippi State has lost two of its last three games, and the win in that stretch was in overtime over 9-16 Auburn, so the loss to the Crimson Tide on Sunday might be more of an indication that something isn't quite right in Starkville.
Vic Schaefer's club is young and maybe the rigors of SEC play have taken a toll. Thursday's home matchup with Arkansas, another team which suffered a head-scratching loss, 83-80 to Florida, takes on greater meaning. With last-place Ole Miss in their final regular-season game and the Bulldogs still in second place in the SEC, Mississippi State is likely safe to finish in the top four of the SEC and get the important double-bye in the conference tournament. A win over Alabama on Sunday would have locked that in.
The Huskies played on Saturday and rather routinely beat UCF to move to 133-0 in American Athletic Conference play and clinch the regular-season title. Sunday's chaos might have clinched the Huskies a No. 2 seed in the NCAA tournament as well.
UCLA's loss to Washington, along with those aforementioned No. 3 seeds -- teams that were right behind UConn on the S-curve -- means much of UConn's competition took a hit. The Huskies are unlikely to lose the rest of the way before the NCAA tournament, and most of the teams that remain just behind them probably will. That makes it a pretty safe bet that UConn's spot on the 2-line is secure.
Winner: Texas A&M and Tennessee
While fellow SEC members Mississippi State, Arkansas and LSU were all losing to teams below them in the standings, the Aggies and Lady Vols delivered wins as expected, albeit in different fashion and with different things at stake.
The Aggies beat Auburn by 30 for their fourth straight win. With a healthy Chennedy Carter back, they look like the biggest threat to South Carolina's dominance in the conference. Next Sunday we will have a chance to find out when Texas A&M visits Columbia on the final day of the regular season in the SEC. Sunday's win didn't add much to the Aggies' résumé, but it allowed them to move up while others were moving down. They are now solidly a No. 3 seed.
Tennessee's narrow escape over Vanderbilt in Knoxville wasn't the performance that would impress a committee member, but it was a win on a day when those weren't easy to come by. It was also one that the Lady Vols needed to keep a grip on a spot in the field. Tennessee is in very much the same position it was last year when it ultimately got a No. 11 seed. The schedule and number of top-50 wins was much better a year ago, but the number of bad losses and overall record are better this time around.
Not every win is going to help the Lady Vols, but any loss will hurt, which makes Sunday's victory important. The two remaining games against the two worst teams in the SEC -- Ole Miss and Auburn -- are must-wins. With a bubble this weak and fragile, holding onto a spot is there for the taking for Tennessee now that the five-game losing streak is over.
Loser: The Big 12
Georgia Tech's win and subsequent move into the field took a spot away that could have gone to Oklahoma State or West Virginia. The conference now only has four teams in the field, and Iowa State -- another team to suffer a head-scratching loss, this one at home to Texas Tech -- and Texas, which lost on Saturday, have slowly slipped into dangerous territory.
As No. 10 seeds they are each just one level above the Last Four In. If a team like Colorado or Boston College does what Georgia Tech just did in their conference tournaments, the Cyclones and Longhorns become vulnerable.