Iowa coach brushes off No. 1 seed snub: ‘What’s the difference?’

Iowa star Caitlin Clark and coach Lisa Bluder are excited to start the NCAA Tournament on their home court. (Joseph Cress/USA TODAY NETWORK)

Iowa basketball isn’t worried about losing out on the final No. 1 seed for the NCAA Tournament.

While Stanford received the spot over the Hawkeyes, who will start the tournament as the No. 2 seed in the Cardinal’s region, Iowa coach Lisa Bluder is fine with her team’s spot.

“It appears we were the first No. 2. What’s the difference between being the fourth No. 1 and the first No. 2? There’s absolutely no difference, so I don’t really care at all about that,” Bluder said after Sunday’s bracket reveal. “I’m just excited we get to play in Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Friday.

“To be a No. 2 seed I think really shows what the nation feels about Iowa women’s basketball and what we’ve put together all year long.”

Iowa will host No. 15 seed Southeastern Louisiana in the first round. With a win, the team would advance to face either No. 7 seed Florida State or No. 10 seed Georgia in the second round, also at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

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The Hawkeyes were considered for a No. 1 seed, NCAA women’s basketball committee chair Lisa Peterson told ESPN after the bracket reveal.

“Certainly the way that they were playing, that last second shot against Indiana in the regular season and then how they managed themselves throughout the Big Ten tournament, they were definitely a part of the conversation,” Peterson said. “In all honesty, it was probably the Iowa-Stanford conversation that was the longest.”

Rather than debate the final seeding, Iowa will turn its eyes toward the NCAA Tournament, which will feature a sellout crowd and a chance for redemption after last year’s Sweet 16 exit.

“I’m so excited,” Iowa star Caitlin Clark said. “Our fans are the best in the country. I know tickets are going to be super hard to get their hands on. I think we’re already over 10,000 (tickets sold) and they aren’t even on sale yet just because of season-ticket holders. It’s going to be a hard ticket to come by, which is really special and unique for women’s basketball.”