To no one’s surprise, undefeated Connecticut earned the No. 1 overall seed in the women’s NCAA Tournament when the field was announced Monday.
The three-time defending champions would not have to leave their home state to reach the Final Four.
The Huskies (32-0) face Robert Morris in their opener on Saturday morning, and if they win, they would meet either Seton Hall or Duquesne on Monday, with both games in Storrs, Conn. The regional semifinals and final will be held in Bridgeport, Conn.
Baylor (33-1) earned the No. 1 seed in the Dallas region. Notre Dame (31-1) tops the Lexington, Ky., region, and South Carolina (31-1) leads the Sioux Falls, S.D., region.
The Final Four is scheduled for April 3 and April 5 in Indianapolis, where Connecticut hopes to become the first women’s team to capture four consecutive titles. Tennessee won three in a row from 1996-98, while Connecticut posted “three-peats” from 2002-04 and again the last three years.
Huskies coach Geno Auriemma is also gunning for an 11th national crown, which would break the tie he currently has with legendary UCLA men’s basketball coach John Wooden for the NCAA basketball record.
The Bridgeport and Dallas region champs will meet in the semifinals to earn a showdown with the winner of the Lexington and Sioux Falls regions.
Joining the Huskies as the top teams in the Bridgeport region are No. 2 Texas, No. 3 UCLA and No. 4 Michigan State.
Baylor’s competition in the Dallas region includes No. 2 Oregon State, No. 3 Louisville and No. 4 Texas A&M. Oregon State’s first opponent will be St. Bonaventure on the Beavers’ home court in Corvallis, Ore., at 7:30 p.m. on Friday. Baylor’s first opponent will be Idaho (24-9) in Waco, Texas.
No. 2 Maryland, No. 3 Kentucky and No. 4 Stanford join Notre Dame in the Lexington region. Notre Dame will be home for a first round game against on Saturday against North Carolina A&T. The Irish lost to UConn, 65-53, in the 2015 championship game. Notre Dame has lost only once to teams other than UConn in their last 106 games. They are 0-4 against the Huskies in that time.
South Carolina is accompanied by No. 2 Arizona State, No. 3 Ohio State or No. 4 Syracuse in the Sioux Falls region. Ohio State will face the University at Buffalo at 2:30 p.m. on Friday. South Carolina will open the tournament at home against Jacksonville (22-10) on Friday.
The tournament field includes Tennessee, which has won eight NCAA titles, will be appearing in the tournament for the 35th time. The Vols have been in every tournament the NCAA sponsored.
Notre Dame will be seeking its second NCAA title. Baylor has won three times. South Carolina will be trying for its first national title.
First- and second-round games will be played at 16 home sites Friday through Monday. The second-round winners will move on to regional sites — March 25-28.
The four regional winners will advance to the Final Four, April 3 and 5 in Indianapolis.