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NCAA Tournament bracketology: Battle for the No. 1 seeds

Could Iowa or UConn end up as a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament? (Michael Hickey/Getty Images)

South Carolina is the clear choice for the top overall seed in the NCAA Tournament. After that, the battle for the No. 1 seeds gets considerably murkier.

Stanford and Indiana exposed cracks in their cases during their conference tournaments, while other teams climbed their way into the conversation. Which teams could land on the No. 1 line come Selection Sunday this weekend?

Cases for six contenders are presented below in alphabetical order. Check out Just Women’s Sports writer Eden Laase’s projected bracket for her best guess at the No. 1 seeds.

Indiana (27-3)

Despite ending the regular season with a loss to Iowa and then falling to Ohio State in the Big Ten semifinals, the Hoosiers might have the best argument for a No. 1 seed of any team on this list.

Their consistency in one of the toughest conferences stands out from the pack. They have a No. 5 NET ranking, and a five-point loss to Michigan State in December is the only blemish on their résumé.

Iowa (26-6)

If the selection committee gives more weight to recent form than to overall body of work, then the Hawkeyes could find themselves with a No. 1 seed.

While Iowa lost to Kansas State early in the season, its other nonconference losses (UConn and NC State) are not major knocks against the Hawkeyes. The team has peaked in the last two weeks with a buzzer-beating win over Indiana to close out the regular season followed by a Big Ten Tournament title. And Caitlin Clark’s star power will shine brightly in the NCAA Tournament field.

Stanford (28-5)

The Cardinal rank fourth in the NET and third in strength of schedule. So, even though their loss to UCLA in the Pac-12 semifinals hurts, they still would look at home on the top line.

Stanford has wins against Utah, UCLA and Arizona, plus the team gave South Carolina its toughest battle all season in a 76-71 overtime loss back in November.

UConn (28-5)

Before the Big East tournament, even UConn coach Geno Auriemma had doubts about his team’s postseason chances. But the Huskies have found a new life in March, helped by the return of Azzi Fudd, which makes them as dangerous as ever heading into March Madness.

Utah (25-4)

After a win over Stanford late in the regular season, Utah could have locked up a No. 1 seed with a strong Pac-12 tournament. But even after losing to Washington State, which went on to take the title, the Utes still have an impressive résumé, including wins over Arizona and Oklahoma.

Virginia Tech (27-4)

Did the Hokies’ ACC tournament title run make believers out of the selection committee? We’ll find out Sunday, but their 10-2 record against Quad 1 teams should impress.

Virginia Tech has not lost since dropping a road game to Duke back on Jan. 26, though its strength of schedule (No. 31) and NET ranking (No. 9) could put a dent in the team’s chances.