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South Carolina captures the No. 1 seed

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The NCAA selection committee on Sunday confirmed what many observers had been waiting for months: South Carolina is the No. 1 seed in the NCAA women’s tournament. South Carolina, along with Stanford and NC State make up three of the four No. 1 seeds in the tournament, as expected.

However, the final No. 1 seed was up for debate. The committee opted to go with Louisville for that location.

Louisville was the favorite for that spot going into Sunday, but an upset loss to Miami in the ACC quarterfinals opened the door for either Baylor or Iowa State to sneak into that spot. Despite the loss, Louisville avoided Baylor, which took the No. 2 spot, and Iowa State, which finished with the No. 3 spot.

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A shocking loss to Kentucky in the SEC championship wasn’t enough to keep South Carolina (29-2) from clinching the top spot overall.

Here’s a full look at the group of women:

Iowa secures the No. 2 seed

A Big Ten championship win was enough to propel Iowa to the No. 2 seed. Iowa, led by shooting guard Caitlin Clark, is seeded in the Greensboro region, where it could eventually meet South Carolina if both teams perform according to The expectations.

Before that happens, Iowa could face a big rival in the state. Iowa State received the No. 3 seed in the Greensboro region. The two teams could meet in the regional semifinal. The last time the two teams met, Iowa State won, 77-70.

UConn picks up a No. 2 seed in the Bridgeport region

The UConn Huskies weren’t expected to be seeded No. 1 in the girls’ pool, but a No. 2 is a welcome consolation, especially considering they’ll start the tournament in their home state.

Paige Bueckers, one of the most exciting players in college basketball, missed time during the regular season with a knee injury, but returned to action in late February. Her return makes UConn a formidable force in the Bridgeport region, though she is an underdog in that part of the pack. That place belongs to NC State.

Kentucky, which defeated South Carolina in the SEC championship game, earned its spot as the No. 6 seed in the Bridgeport region. Kentucky has won its last 10 games and will be looking to carry the momentum into the tournament.

Baylor can’t take the No. 1 seed from Louisville

Baylor was thought to be in contention for a No. 1 seed prior to Sunday, but a loss to Texas in the Big 12 tournament championship game dropped Baylor to the No. 2 seed in the Wichita region. It is the 11th consecutive season that Baylor has entered the tournament as the No. 1 or No. 2 seed. It will face No. 15 Hawaii in the first round on Friday.

Baylor and forward NaLyssa Smith have a chance to prove the committee wrong. The team was seeded in the same region as Louisville. The two teams could meet in the Elite Eight. Smith, a senior, will be looking to take Baylor as far as possible before making the jump to the WNBA. Smith is a candidate to be selected with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2022 WNBA draft, which will take place in April.

When will NCAA women’s tournament games start?

NCAA women’s tournament games will begin on Wednesday and Thursday, when the top four take the field. Howard will face Incarnate Word and Dayton will play DePaul on Wednesday. Longwood will face Mount St. Mary’s and Missouri will face Florida State on Thursday.

The first round will take place on Friday and Saturday. The second round games will be held on March 20 and 21.

The teams will then be given a few days off before participating in the regional round, which runs from March 25-28. The women’s Final Four will take place on April 1 and the national championship will take place on April 3.

South Carolina is the top seed in the NCAA women’s tournament. (Photo by John Byrum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

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