After UCLA defeated Southern Cal on Saturday at the Pac-12 men's tournament, I thought that would help the Bruins and hurt the Trojans in the NCAA seedings, but it didn't, with Southern Cal staying at No. 1 and UCLA actually falling from its April 22 ranking of 5 to the No 6 seed. The ITA rankings aren't revealed until Thursday, so we won't know until then whether the committee deviated from the rankings, but if the two teams should meet for the fifth time this year, it will be for the NCAA title, as they are in opposite sides of the draw, which was revealed a few hours ago.
The top 16 men's seeds:
1. Southern Cal
3. Ohio State
7. North Carolina
8. Texas A&M
13. Notre Dame
Seeds 1-15 are hosting regionals, but Columbia is not, with Vanderbilt, a 17-32 seed, serving as a host and Columbia traveling to Nashville. According to the NCAA release, "per NCAA policy, the top 16 seeds are guaranteed to host if a bid was submitted and criteria are met," so it can only be assumed that Columbia did not submit a bid.
Notably absent from the 64-team field are the following schools, with their April 22 rankings in parentheses: Alabama(36), Dartmouth(42), LSU(46), TCU(47), VCU(50) and Pepperdine(51).
The complete men's bracket is available here:
There were a few surprises in the men's seedings, but nothing compared to the what happened in the women's seedings. The 16 women's seeds:
7. North Carolina
10. Texas A&M
16. Southern Cal
All of the top 16 seeds are hosting regionals, with five each in the ACC and SEC, four in the Pac-12 and just one in the Big Ten and Big 12.
Where to start on the surprises? UCLA was ranked No. 1 in the April 22 rankings, but they are now at No. 5, and still the highest Pac-12 seed. Duke moved up to No. 4, despite losing to Virginia in the ACC conference tournament final, and if the Bruins and Blue Devils do get by No. 12 Miami and No. 13 Clemson in the round of 16, which is by no means a given, we could have a quarterfinal rematch of the dramatic Women's Team Indoor final, but this time in a standard scoring format. The best projected round of 16 match is likely to be defending champion Stanford, seeded 11th, against No. 6 seed Cal, who just beat the Cardinal at home to claim its first Pac-12 title.
Georgia, who was No. 2 in last week's rankings, is now the top seed, the first time the Bulldog women have ever been the No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament. They have looked strong recently, avenging losses to Vanderbilt and Alabama in winning the SEC tournament, but no team has separated itself from the other contenders this year, which should make for an exciting week in Athens next month.
It should be noted that last year it was No. 12 seed Stanford against No. 3 seed Texas A&M in the final.
The bubble teams that didn't make the tournament include: Illinois(37), Utah(38), Washington(39), Saint Mary's(44), Memphis(45) and Yale(47).
Also of note, Jackson State lost in the conference final to Southern University, but Jackson State received the SWAC conference bid, with Southern not eligible to take part due to an insufficient NCAA Academic Progress Rate.
The complete women's draw is here.
The NCAA deserves credit for producing a quick and efficient show that provides all the necessary information without adding extraneous fluff.
I will have more comments on the tournament in the Tennis Recuiting Network's annual roundtable. TRN has opened their May Madness challenge, so head over there to make your picks. As always, there are some valuable prizes awarded to the winners.
Tomorrow the singles and doubles selections and seeds will be announced, although just via a release, on or about 6 p.m. EDT at ncaa.com.