Owners of a perfect 30-0 record, an RPI of 12 and a Sagarin Rating of seven, the Tigers entered Monday night’s NCAA Tournament selection show watch party at the Shea Rowing Center hoping to snag a No. 4 seed.Green Bay are the representative, as they almost always are, from the Horizon League, which has not been the same since DePaul and Northern Illinois left a precursor conference for other affiliations.
Instead, the selection committee pegged them as a No. 8 seed, sending them to College Park, Maryland to take on No. 9 Green Bay at 11:00 a.m. Saturday in the Spokane region.
“We were a little bit surprised, but that’s okay,” senior guard Blake Dietrick said after the bracket was revealed. “It’s true that we haven’t beaten any top 25 teams, so that was definitely something that counted against us.”
Dietrick’s assessment was likely accurate. Though the Tigers were undefeated, they only played two other tournament teams — Pittsburgh is the No. 10 seed in the Spokane region and American is the No. 14 seed in the Oklahoma City region. Twenty-one of their 30 wins were against teams with RPIs outside of the top 100.
The intriguing matchup of top mid-major teams is slated to be broadcast on ESPN2.Not that anything earth-shaking will go on in the second round Monday, as there is less competitive balance in the women's tournament, and among the conferences, than there is in the men's tournament.
Princeton, the Ivy League champion, is the first mid-major women's team to go into the NCAA tournament undefeated since Liberty in 1998. As a No. 16 seed, Liberty was quickly dispatched by No. 1 seed Tennessee in resounding fashion, 102-58.
The UWGB contingent had to wait about 40 minutes into ESPN's hour-long selection show to hear its name called in the last of the four regions of brackets unveiled. Now, the Phoenix has added incentive as it plays in the NCAA tournament for the first time in two years.
"I think, for us, we want to be that team that is the team that gets to say, 'Hey, we're that (first) win against them. That (first) loss is against us,'" [senior guard Megan] Lukan said about playing the Tigers.