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NCAA Women's Basketball Bracket 2019: Results, Seeds, Reaction and Analysis

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistMarch 18, 2019

RALEIGH, NC - FEBRUARY 18: Head coach Muffet McGraw of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish high-fives Arike Ogunbowale #24 during in the second half of their game against the North Carolina State Wolfpack at Reynolds Coliseum on February 18, 2019 in Raleigh, North Carolina. Notre Dame won 95-72. (Photo by Lance King/Getty Images)
Lance King/Getty Images

The 64-team field for the 2019 NCAA women's basketball tournament was unveiled Monday.

The defending champion Notre Dame Fighting Irish, Louisville Cardinals, Baylor Lady Bears and Mississippi State Bulldogs occupy the four No. 1 seeds. Notre Dame, Louisville and Mississippi State are all looking to return to the Final Four in Tampa, Florida.

Here are each of the four regions in the tournament bracket.

       

2019 NCAA Tournament Bracket

Albany

NCAA WBB @ncaawbb

The Albany regional! #ncaaW https://t.co/yKafxmASiS

      

Greensboro

NCAA WBB @ncaawbb

The Greensboro regional! #ncaaW https://t.co/nQTxz3D4Fv

       

Chicago

NCAA WBB @ncaawbb

The Chicago regional! #ncaaW https://t.co/NUFf1GtzWP

       

Portland

NCAA WBB @ncaawbb

The Portland regional! #ncaaW https://t.co/LC4eQOyCYA

       

Analysis

Monday's selection show was originally scheduled to air at 7 p.m. ET. However, ESPN bumped up the broadcast after High Post Hoops' Blake DuDonis discovered ESPNU began airing the full bracket well before the official reveal:

Blake DuDonis @BlakeDuDonis

In what can only be described as remarkable, the #NCAAW bracket was just on ESPNU by mistaken. I’ve managed to grab three sections of it if anyone else wants to help fill it out. Spoiler: UCF & Tennessee are IN https://t.co/xzpKpGpjdT

ESPN subsequently confirmed the matchups were posted prematurely:

ESPN PR @ESPNPR

ESPN Statement Regarding the NCAA Women’s Tournament Bracket https://t.co/NpWbMoDCV2 https://t.co/zffGXI6BTx

The mistake revealed one of the biggest surprises in this year's bracket: the Connecticut Huskies fell to the second seed in the Albany Regional. It's the first time since 2006 the Huskies aren't a No. 1 seed in the Big Dance.

Russell Steinberg @Russ_Steinberg

Despite UConn being in the AAC and Mississippi State in the SEC, UConn still finished with a better RPI. A 2 seed makes no sense.

Debbie Antonelli @debbieantonelli

Not shocked UConn a 2 seed or in Albany. When committee revealed UCF as bubble team yday & UCF was 3 of the 6 quality wins UCONN had this yr, UCONN should be a 2 seed & UCF was in the field. @ncaawbb @ESPN_WomenHoop Why Louisville in Albany is question for me? S Curve? G Curve?

LukeMeredith @LukeMeredithAP

Iowa has the same seed as UConn. Imagine hearing that in October

UConn sits second in the Associated Press Top 25 poll, while ESPN.com's Charlie Creme projected the team to be the top seed in Albany.

The Albany Regional sets up a potential rematch between UConn and the Louisville Cardinals. The two teams have split their regular-season meetings the last two years, with the Cardinals most recently winning 78-69 at home in January.

Notre Dame received a relatively favorable draw. In the Chicago Regional, the Fighting Irish will stay close to home assuming they advance beyond the second round. They also avoided the two most dangerous No. 2 seeds: UConn and the Oregon Ducks.

Adam Derengowski @AdamDerWSBT

There it is. Notre Dame is OFFICIALLY the No. 1 seed in Chicago. @Arike_O missed the reveal... https://t.co/LJ7KPeaWFB

Stanford reeled off a 28-4 record in the regular season and earned wins over Oregon, Baylor and the Arizona State Sun Devils. With only three seniors—of whom Alanna Smith is the only key contributor—the Cardinal might come unraveled against a team with the experience Notre Dame boasts.

The Fighting Irish are effectively the same squad that defeated Mississippi State in the 2018 title game.

Whether Sabrina Ionescu can lead Oregon to its first-ever Final Four is one of the bigger stories in the 2019 tournament. The Ducks reached the Elite Eight in 2017 and 2018, and this might be their best chance to get to the semifinals over the next few years.

Ionescu is eligible for the 2019 WNBA draft, and she'd almost certainly be the first player selected were she to enter the professional ranks this spring.

The Ducks can't complain with their tournament draw. They have a head-to-head win over Mississippi State—the No. 1 seed in their region—and they'll potentially have the luxury of playing the Bulldogs in Portland, Oregon.

The Tennessee Lady Volunteers found themselves in the somewhat unfamiliar position of being on the bubble heading into selection Monday.

Tennessee ranks 60th in RPI, so extending its tournament streak to 38 years wasn't a foregone conclusion. The NCAA announced Sunday the Lady Vols were among the "debatable eight," leaving them as one of the "Last Four In" or "First Four Out."

Holly Warlick's seat might be the hottest in women's college basketball. A quick exit by the Lady Vols could be the final straw, whereas Warlick might be able to buy herself another year on the sideline with a deep tournament run.

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