Baylor, Notre Dame, Mississippi State and Louisville earned No. 1 seeds in the NCAA women’s basketball tournament, leaving national power Connecticut off the tournament’s top line after ending the regular season ranked No. 2 in the Coaches Poll.
Baylor will headline the Greensboro Region and face No. 16 Abilene Christian, making its NCAA tournament debut, in the first round. Notre Dame (30-3) tops the Chicago Region ahead of No. 2 seed Stanford (28-4), which extended its tournament streak to 32 years.
Mississippi State (30-2), the national runner-up in each of the past two years, is in the Portland Region opposite No. 2 Oregon (29-4), the Pac-12 regular-season champions.
In a surprise, the top four seeds do not include UConn (31-2), which will enter the tournament as No. 2 seed in the Albany Region, one slot below Louisville (29-3).
The Huskies have reached the tournament’s Sweet 16 every season since 1994 and the Final Four in each season since 2008. The program had been a No. 1 seed in each tournament since 2007.
It wasn’t the only controversial moment involved in the bracket’s release: Earlier on Monday, ESPN inadvertently posted the full bracket on ESPNU, forcing the network to move its selection show up two hours, to 7 p.m. to 5 p.m. ET.
“We deeply regret the error and extend our apology to the NCAA and the women’s basketball community,” the network said in a statement. “We will conduct a thorough review of our process to ensure it doesn’t happen in the future.”