Duke women's basketball awarded No. 4 seed in NCAA tournament
The road to the Final Four will again run through Durham.
The Blue Devils were awarded a No. 4 seed in the 2015 NCAA tournament by the selection committee when the bracket was revealed Monday evening. Should Duke advance to the second weekend, they will travel to their regional in Spokane, Wash., and will not have the luxury of playing in nearby Greensboro, N.C., which is another of the regional sites.
“We’re excited to have an opponent and play and it’s an honor to host anytime in the NCAA tournament,” Duke head coach Joanne P. McCallie said.
Duke (21-10) will host 13th-seeded Albany (24-8) Friday at noon at Cameron Indoor Stadium. The winner of that contest will meet the winner of the matchup between No. 5 Mississippi State and No. 12 Tulane in second round action Sunday for the right to go to the Sweet 16 in Spokane.
“Albany is a great program,” McCallie said. “My former assistant Katie Abrahamson-Henderson coaches there and she’s done a fabulous job with the program. They have some nice players and like everybody else in this tournament, they’re a very good team.”
The Blue Devils will face a difficult path through the Spokane region if they hope to reach the Final Four in Tampa Bay, Fla., for the first time since 2006.
Maryland—one year removed from playing in the ACC—earned the top seed after a dominant run through the Big Ten. Tennessee was awarded the second seed, and Oregon State will have the opportunity to stay close to home as the No. 3 seed. At 30-0, Princeton—the only undefeated team in women’s Division I college basketball and the champion of the Ivy League—was given a No. 8 seed by the selection committee and could meet the Terrapins in the second round.
Although the Blue Devils are happy to be hosting once again, it appears that Duke’s 10 losses prevented the committee from giving the Blue Devils as high of a seed as the squad thought it deserved.
“We were a four-seed and that’s not indicative of our body of work and I don’t like that,” McCallie said. “We had a 12 RPI and with who we played and what we did...but that’s where they slotted us.”
In a rule change this postseason, the host sites for the tournament’s opening weekend were not predetermined ahead of the bracket reveal. Instead, the top four seeds in each region—the tournament’s top 16 teams as chosen by the committee—will host. The one exception is No. 3 Louisville, which will travel to Tampa Bay for its opening weekend on the home court of No. 6 South Florida. The Cardinals’ home arena, the KFC Yum! Center, is being used as an opening-weekend site for the men’s tournament.
Duke has now hosted the tournament’s first two rounds in six of the past seven years.
“It’s anytime, any place, anywhere at this time of the year,” McCallie said. “It’s a great opportunity to get there, play well, really get after it and be successful and move on.”