The men weren’t the only ones to learn their bracket fate on Sunday night: ESPN revealed that the Carolina women’s basketball team earned another bid to the NCAA Tournament, something they’ve done each season Courtney Banghart has coached the team.
There was an upset, though. ESPN’s women’s bracketologist had the Tar Heels as a solid four seed, which would have meant they would have hosted the events in Carmichael next weekend. Instead, they fell all the way to a six seed, where they will head up to Columbus, Ohio as the Buckeyes host with the three seed.
The Tar Heels will face the winner of the Purdue/St Johns First Four game, and that winner will go up against the winner of Ohio State/James Madison.
The Brackets look a little different this season, as the women’s tournament has decided to just have two regional sites, and will just have games at each site every day. The Tar Heels are in the “Seattle” bracket, with their one seed being the Virginia Tech Hokies. Carolina wouldn’t face the Hokies until the Elite 8, perineal power UConn is the two seed in the region, and Tennessee rounds out the top as the 4 seed.
The path ahead for Carolina is really tough. They’d have to beat a team who’ll have a one game head start, then likely the host school that made a run to the Big 10 title game, then the powerhouse that is UConn, then the team that swept them this season. That’s just to get to the Final Four.
The stumbles the Tar Heels had while three players were recovering from injuries likely cost them a better seed and the chance the host. That said, unlike last season the juggernaut that is South Carolina isn’t the the Heels’ path until the very end, and this squad has shown they’ll play with anyone. They've also had two weeks since the ACC Tournament to get healthy.
The first round games get going on Friday and Saturday, with the second round going Sunday and Monday. The Final Four will be in Dallas on March 31 with the title game being played on April 2nd on ABC.