March Madness: NCAA unveils first women's top 16 one month ahead of Selection Sunday

GREENVILLE, NORTH CAROLINA - DECEMBER 30: Chloe Kitts #21, Tessa Johnson #5, Raven Johnson #25, MiLaysia Fulwiley #12 and Kamilla Cardoso #10 of the South Carolina Gamecocks huddle during their game against the East Carolina Lady Pirates in Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum on December 30, 2023 in Greenville, North Carolina. SC won 73-36. (Photo by Lance King/Getty Images)

With Selection Sunday 31 days away and Iowa star Caitlin Clark's record-breaking moment at hand, the NCAA women's basketball selection committee presented its first in-season top-16 reveal on Thursday.

The undefeated South Carolina Gamecocks were inevitably awarded the No. 1 seed. They boast the only flawless record in women's and men's Division I basketball. Selection committee chairperson Lisa Peterson heralded the dominant squad as the "only obvious choice," challenging the subsequent picks to separate themselves before the next reveal.

The reigning champions, LSU, are currently the No. 14 seed. In the same rankings last year, they were placed at No. 5. They opened the 2023-24 campaign with a 92-78 loss to Colorado, which the committee has at No. 4 overall.

“I think one of the things that we looked at was the quality of wins and losses," Peterson said of the selection process. "But also how many people challenged themselves [with their non-conference schedules].”

The initial selection often works as a loose indication of how the NCAA tournament bracket might actually pan out. Across the teams that have been included in the committee’s initial reveal in the past 10 years, only Rutgers (2017-18) has missed out on the tournament entirely. Last year, Kansas State was the only other team to land in the bottom half of the bracket.

This month will also feature the next reveal, which will come ahead of the Notre Dame vs. Virginia Tech game on Feb. 29 (ESPN2, 6:30 p.m.). The full 68-team bracket will be unveiled at 8 p.m. ET on Sunday, March 17 on ESPN.

Here's the first top 16:

1. South Carolina

2. Stanford

3. Ohio State

4. Colorado

5. Iowa

6. NC State


8. Texas

9. Southern California

10. Virginia Tech

11. Oregon State

12. UConn

13. Kansas State

14. LSU

15. Indiana

16. Louisville

The committee also gave each team a regional assignment, placing them either in Albany, New York, or Portland, Oregon. In the final bracket, those regions will determine first-round matchups and where they will take place.

Albany 1

1. South Carolina


3. UConn

4. Louisville

Albany 2

1. Ohio State

2. NC State

3. Souther California

4. LSU

Portland 1

1. Stanford

2. Texas

3. Oregon State

4. Indiana

Portland 2

1. Colorado

2. Iowa

3. Virginia Tech

4. Kansas State