By Harry Allison
An 8th seed?!
Are you kidding me?
This would never happen in the men’s field.
At 30-0, Princeton is the only undefeated women’s team in the country:
They are 13th in the USA TODAY Sports Coaches and Associated Press polls, the highest ranking for an Ivy League team ever. And they are 12th in the Ratings Percentage Index.
Still, when the pairings were announced on Monday night, Princeton was a No. 8 seed. The Tigers face No. 9 Green Bay on Friday in the first round and could meet No. 1 Maryland on Sunday on the Terrapins’ home floor.
It was the highest seed in Ivy League history, but it was lower than expected considering Princeton’s record and ranking.
“I’m very sympathetic to Princeton’s situation,” Dru Hancock told USA TODAY. “They’ve had an historic year, and it’s not really what they did. It’s what they didn’t have on their schedule that really hurt them.”
And yet, the scheduling problem is beyond Princeton’s control. The Tigers have become too successful for their own good.
This season, Princeton had to play 12 of its 16 non-conference games on the road because teams aren’t willing to travel to face the Tigers, which have made the NCAA tournament five times in the past six seasons. Princeton is winning by an average of nearly 25 points per game, is shooting 49.3% from the field (third-best in Division I) and 40.6% from three-point range (second in Division I).
Banghart also felt bad for Green Bay, which is 28-4 and in the NCAA tournament for the sixth time in the past seven seasons. She was surprised the committee had two of the nation’s best mid-major programs play each other.
“Of course it makes you wonder how far does the committee want to give you a chance beyond that first round knowing the one seeds in women’s basketball are heads and shoulders above a lot of the other teams in the country,” Banghart said in a conference call on Tuesday.
“I just feel for the mid-majors and the opportunity that they have earned to advance and be relevant … I just found it quite ironic that Dru Hancock’s issue was scheduling the BCS schools and then when she had the chance to put us against whoever, we get together against another mid-major.”