NCAA Women's Tournament winners, losers: LSU vs. Iowa rematch a strong possibility based on bracket reveal



The 2024 NCAA Women’s Tournament bracket is set, and the best surprise the selection committee provided was a possible rematch of last year’s championship game with Iowa and LSU in the Elite Eight. 

Iowa got the No. 1 seed in the Albany 2 Region, a spot the Hawkeyes earned after winning their third consecutive Big Ten Tournament. Being on that side of the bracket means they could potentially face Kansas State — the team that handed them their first loss of the season — in the Sweet 16. 

Meanwhile, the third-seeded Tigers — which rank No. 8 in CBS Sports’ rankings of the entire 68-team tournament field — will have to get the job done against tough teams like UCLA, Louisville and Creighton. If both LSU and Iowa manage to make the Elite Eight, we could get another Caitlin Clark vs. Angel Reese showdown.

On the opposite side of the bracket, we got the least surprising No. 1 seed: the South Carolina Gamecocks. Dawn Staley’s team had long locked up the top seed by going undefeated through the regular season and then winning the SEC Tournament with a victory over LSU in the title game. On paper, the Gamecocks are looking like the clear favorite in the Albany 1 Region, but perhaps Notre Dame will find a way to the Elite Eight to give the Gamecocks a rematch from their season-opener. 

This has been an exciting season and it should be an even more exciting tournament. But with the dust just settling on the Selection Sunday bracket reveal, it’s time to take a look at some winners and losers throughout the 68-team field. 

Loser: LSU is a No. 3 seed … again

The Tigers are the reigning national champion, but just like last year, they are entering the Big Dance as a No. 3 seed in the Albany 2 Region. While this seeding might seem a little low for LSU — yes, despite its slip-ups early in the season — this actually sets the Tigers up for a potential matchup against Iowa, the team they defeated in last season’s national title game.

Winner: Pac-12 ends with a bang

The Pac-12 as we know it is saying goodbye after this season, but its teams are making sure the conference leaves a lasting legacy. For the first time in Pac-12 history, three teams are seeded No. 2 or better. USC earned the No. 1 seed in the Portland 3 Region after winning the conference tournament. That was no easy task as it meant getting through a double-overtime battle against UCLA and a championship matchup against a tough Stanford team. 

USC got the biggest reward, but UCLA got its highest seed in program history at No. 2. Tara VanDerveer’s Cardinal are also a No. 2 seed. It’s also important to note that during the Selection Sunday broadcast, a representative of the committee said one of the biggest discussions they had was about Stanford almost getting the No. 1 seed that was given to Texas. 

And here is one more impressive number: The Pac-12 has seven teams in the NCAA Tournament, tying a conference record.

 Speaking of the Pac-12… 

Winner: Arizona makes the Big Dance

The Wildcats’ record is not impressive on paper, and, in fact, it might raise some eyebrows. Arizona finished 17-15 overall and 8-10 in the Pac-12, but this is when strength of schedule and playing in a tough conference matter. 

Adia Barnes had three freshmen starting and they continued to improve as the season developed. Arizona gave USC an upset scare during the Pac-12 Tournament quarterfinals, but ultimately the Trojans found a 65-62 win. 

Now, the Wildcats are heading to their fourth consecutive NCAA Tournament. They got a ticket to the First Four to play Auburn (20-11, 8-8 SEC), and the winner will move on to face No. 6-seeded Syracuse.

Loser: UConn misses No. 2 seed

Albany is about a two-hour drive from Storrs, Conn., but if the Huskies make it to the Sweet 16, they will have to fly across the country to Portland, Ore. — which is significantly less convenient for their fans.

On the bright side, the Huskies are competing in their 35th-consecutive NCAA Tournament, and being one of the top-16 seeds, they get to host early-round games. The No. 3-seeded Huskies have made it to the Sweet 16 every year since 1994, so fans probably won’t mind the location as long as their team keeps the streak going. 

Winner: Columbia facing Vandy after coach’s SEC criticism

This is the first time the Ivy League gets two bids since 2016, but this is about so much more. The Lions could not get past Princeton in the Ivy League Tournament championship, losing 75-58 the day before Selection Sunday. However, the Lions were one of the fortunate bubble teams who heard their named called, and now they get to prove themselves with a First Four matchup against Vanderbilt. 

Columbia coach Megan Griffith wasn’t too sure her team would make it in. After losing to Princeton, she commented on how mid-major teams don’t get as much leeway as teams from major conferences. 

“The NCAA talks about wanting to grow the game, and we just consistently put SEC teams in that are 15-14,” Griffith said.

And in an interesting turn of events, the Lions will be playing their First Four matchup against Vanderbilt, a team that went 9-7 in the SEC. 

“We are really looking forward to representing the SEC,” said Vanderbilt coach Shea Ralph, as reported by The Tennessean. “And I know that we’re battle-tested.”





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