The 2021 NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament bracket is officially here.
64 teams are now heading to Texas in order to embark on one of the most ambitious sporting endeavors since the beginning of the COVID pandemic.
Stanford, UConn, South Carolina and North Carolina state were all awarded No. 1 seeds. It’s NC State’s first time as a top seed, and they are the only No. 1 to have never won a national championship.
The Huskies will be without coach Geno Auriemma through at least the first two rounds, as the coach tested positive for COVID on Sunday. He’s now in isolation and will have to wait until March 24th to rejoin his squad.
UConn is set to face No. 16 High Point on March 21st. If they win, their second-round game will be on March 23rd.
Auriemma has not had any close contact with any other team member since Friday, and all Tier I personnel have so far tested negative for COVID-19, according to the school.
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Last year, the cancellation of the 2020 NCAA tournament marked the start of several sports-less months. This year, tournament organizers are hoping that a semi-bubble environment will help them play 63 games in 15 days across five different sites, all within or near the San Antonio area.
Daily testing for the tournament began last week, and while the NCAA is hoping to maintain a virus-free environment, they also have teams on standby if a tournament squad is forced to drop out.
The four regions are named after San Antonio landmarks. Stanford is the top seed in the Alamo Regional, UConn in the River Walk Regional, South Carolina in the Hemisfair Regional, and NC State in the Mercado Regional.
The four No. 2 seeds are Louisville (Alamo), Baylor (River Walk), Maryland (Hemisfair) and Texas A&M (Mercado).
The bracket was announced on ESPN, and the ESPN network will cover every game of the tournament, beginning this Sunday at noon ET.