DURHAM, N.C. – Duke coach Joanne P. McCallie is having a difficult time grasping the NCAA’s logic when it comes to her team’s tournament seed.
The Blue Devils (27-6) played the nation’s toughest schedule and had the third-highest RPI, but wound up seeded in the same region as perennial powerhouse Connecticut for the second time in four years.
If No. 2 Duke and the top-seeded Huskies each win their first three NCAA tournament games, they will meet in a regional final with a trip to the Women’s Final Four on the line.
That doesn’t seem fair to McCallie.
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“To me, that is kind of fascinating,” she said. “What are we trying to do, keep Duke out of the Final Four?”
McCallie said she understands not getting rewarded with a No. 1 seed after losing to Notre Dame in the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament final, but doesn’t know why the Blue Devils were ranked as the fourth No. 2 seed — and eighth seed overall — in the NCAA tournament.
“We should have been the number-one two seed,” McCallie said. “Look at the numbers.”
McCallie called the seeding “unforgivable,” and said she could see the dejection on her players’ faces when they were placed in the same bracket as UConn.
“Like, c’mon people, wake up,” McCallie said. “Look at these things scientifically. Have an objective reality. What’s going on with this? Does RPI matter at all? Does strength of schedule matter at all? … I have to stand up for this team.”
Baylor coach to watch from home
WACO, Texas – If Kim Mulkey doesn’t like how Baylor is playing in its first-round NCAA tournament game Saturday, the Bears’ coach might head out the back door and pull weeds.
Mulkey will be at her house instead of on the sideline at the Ferrell Center. She will serve a one-game NCAA suspension for criticizing the officiating after the then-defending national champion Bears’ upset loss to Louisville in a physical Sweet 16 game last March.
“I’m suspended, I don’t regret being suspended. I’m going to fight for my team, and that’s why I’m suspended,” said Mulkey, strongly adding she would prefer the focus to be on the game and players instead of her absence.
Big 12 champion Baylor (29-4) plays Sun Belt Conference winner Western Kentucky (24-8).