The empty Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri, where the No. 3 Baylor Lady Bears would have fought for a Big 12 Tournament championship. | Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images
There will be no March Madness this year and many teams, especially the No. 1 South Carolina Gamecocks, deserve recognition for what they accomplished. Thus, we are embarking upon a countdown of the 64 teams we believe should have made the tournament. For starters, here’s a look at the 64-team field.
The NCAA isn’t releasing a bracket this year but at Swish Appeal we’ve decided to make one anyway.
With 25 ranked teams and 10 others receiving votes, we rewarded 37 points to the one team that beat the AP Top 25 No. 1 South Carolina Gamecocks — the No. 20 Indiana Hoosiers (Nov. 28 at Paradise Jam). After that, the teams that beat the No. 2 Oregon Ducks received 36 points and the points went down by one until we reached the final team receiving votes, the Central Michigan Chippewas. For beating the Ducks, teams were awarded two points.
All other wins counted as one point per win.
Teams also lost points for all of their losses, and losing to lesser RPI teams meant more points taken off:
- 1-70 loss: minus 1
- 71-100: minus 5
- 101-150: minus 10
- 151-200: minus 15
- 201-250: minus 20
- 251-300: minus 25
- 301-351: minus 30
Hypothetical NCAAW Tournament bracket
This formula rewards teams for beating better opponents and punishes them for losing to lesser opponents while also taking their overall record into account.
It looks at overall resumes and does not favor teams who entered the season with higher rankings, which is why the No. 3 Baylor Lady Bears fell to a three-seed and the No. 5 UConn Huskies fell to a four-seed. It’s also not based on which teams are more talented on paper, save for a few exceptions with UConn being put ahead of the Ohio State Buckeyes and the No. 16 Kentucky Wildcats and No. 19 Texas A&M Aggies being put ahead of the LSU Tigers and Michigan Wolverines.
UConn only lost to the Top 3 teams in the nation so one would assume they would have had a better resume if they played in a better conference. Meanwhile, Kentucky, with a star like Rhyne Howard, and A&M, whose record was hurt by Chennedy Carter’s mid-season injury, would be expected to do better in the tournament than LSU and Michigan.
The formula heavily favored the Pac-12 and the Big Ten, with the former sending in two one-seeds and two two-seeds. Meanwhile, the latter notched eight total bids with Iowa surprisingly sneaking into a two-seed spot. The formula was generous to Ohio State (a five-seed) and Michigan (a six-seed), while the Purdue Boilermakers and Rutgers Scarlet Knights got in as well.
The Tennessee Lady Volunteers have made the NCAA Tournament every year since the program’s inception. With no real bracket this year, the formula put them in as a nine-seed, which is on the surprisingly high side. The Lady Vols did not have any losses outside the Top 70 RPI and also had no wins against currently ranked teams or those receiving votes. Based on a judgement call, they made it to the hypothetical bracket because they lost a lot of close games and went 10-6 in a very good SEC. Also, their overall record (21-10) was better than that of the other Power 5 teams from 60 to 70 in the RPI, where Tennessee is No. 65.