NCAA Tournament: Biggest snubs and surprises from bracket reveal

Oregon finished the season at 19th in the NET ranking but went 5-12 against teams in the tournament field. (Chris Pietsch/USA TODAY NETWORK)

The 68-team bracket for the NCAA Tournament was revealed Sunday.

While all of those teams have reason to celebrate, others were left out of the bracket. And still others faced some surprises with their placement. Just Women’s Sports takes a look at three of the biggest snubs and surprises heading into March Madness. 

Biggest snubs


The Lions were Ivy League champions in the regular season and had the best NET against the top 50 teams in the country of any the bubble team. They were also one of the best teams on the road this year, with a 13-2 record. Just two teams were better: South Carolina (13-0) and FGCU (13-1).

When considering the fact that West Virginia – who had the second-best NET against top 50 teams – made it in as a 10-seed, Columbia’s exclusion is all the more surprising despite the team’s semifinal exit from the Ivy League tournament.


Without Sedona Prince, Oregon misses the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2016. The Ducks stood at 19th in the NET ranking but went 5-12 against teams in the 68-team field. While they lost seven straight games at one point of the season, they finished the season strong, upsetting Arizona and blowing out Arizona State late in the regular season and then advancing in the Pac-12 tournament.

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For the first time since 2019, Arkansas won’t be dancing this March. The Razorbacks were not even among the first four teams outside the 68-team field; Columbia, Oregon, Kansas and UMass just missed the cut.

Arkansas started out the season 13-0 but didn’t finish as strong, dropping 12 of their last 20 to sit at 21-12 on the season.

Biggest surprises


Iowa missing out on the final No. 1 seed came as a true surprise, especially after the Hawkeyes featured as such in ESPN’s final bracket prediction. While Stanford certainly has the résumé of a top seed, Iowa has played better basketball of late and won its conference tournament. Stanford, meanwhile, lost to UCLA in the Pac-12 tournament and finished the regular season with a loss to Utah.

Notre Dame

Notre Dame remained a No. 3 seed despite speculation that the Irish could fall lower due to the uncertain status of injured star Olivia Miles. But NCAA D-I Women’s Basketball Committee chair Lisa Peterson told ESPN that while Olivia Miles’ participation is up in the air, the Irish haven’t completely ruled her out. The committee, she said, operated under the assumption that she would play “because we weren’t told any different.”

North Carolina

North Carolina as a No. 6 seed seems a bit low. The Tar Heels had an up-and-down season, but this is a team that cracked the top 10 and won the Phil Knight Invitational. Still, they’ve lost their last four and five of their past nine, which could have contributed to their dip in standing.