LSU women’s basketball coach Kim Mulkey is remaining realistic about her team’s seeding in the NCAA Tournament.
While the Tigers (27-1) have had an outstanding season, with just one loss to No. 1 South Carolina, Mulkey does not foresee a No. 1 seed in their future due to their strength of schedule.
“If we were to beat South Carolina, I’ve said it many times, we’re not going to get a one seed,” Mulkey said prior to a Feb. 26 home game against Mississippi State. “Strength of schedule’s not going to change. The NET hasn’t changed. There’s nothing we can do that will change the committee’s mind.”
In nonconference games, LSU’s strength of schedule sits at No. 315 in the NCAA. Overall, the Tigers’ strength of schedule sits at 89th, though they have the No. 2 NET rating, No. 12 RPI and a 5-1 record in Quad 1 games.
The Tigers earned a double bye in the SEC Tournament. Yet while Just Women’s Sports writer Eden Laase believes they could secure the fourth No. 1 seed for the NCAA Tournament with a run to the conference crown, Mulkey had her doubts about the value of the competition for her squad.
“If I’m the champions of the SEC or second place, I struggle with the older I get, why do we play conference tournaments,” Mulkey said. “Why do you play them if you’re already in pretty good shape for postseason. You play them for the Cinderella’s. You play them for those who are on the bubble.”
Excited For The Show pic.twitter.com/l9sZlJOsEO— LSU Women's Basketball (@LSUwbkb) March 3, 2023
Excited For The Show pic.twitter.com/l9sZlJOsEO
No matter what, though, the Tigers will likely play host for the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament. They went undefeated at home this season and matched a program-best 27-1 record overall.
LSU, though, hasn’t advanced past the quarterfinals of the SEC tournament since 2015, and has not reached the championship game since 2012.
“I have to motivate this team to understand that we’re competitors,” Mulkey said. “We’re going to play for something. I’ve never won an SEC Tournament game as a coach. We got knocked out right out of the gates and then Kentucky went on and won it last year. Our goal is to win one more game in the SEC Tournament since this staff has been here.”