The Arizona Wildcats have been trying to host the opening rounds of the NCAA women’s basketball tournament for the past two years. They may finally get their chance this season.
The NCAA Selection Committee released its first look at the top 16 seeds in this year’s tournament during halftime of the game between South Carolina and Ole Miss on Thursday evening. Arizona was revealed as the No. 2 seed in the Greensboro, NC region.
The seeding would allow the Wildcats to host the first two rounds of the tournament at McKale Center. However, the reward for advancing through the bracket would be facing overall No. 1 seed South Carolina in the Elite Eight. That game would take place in Greensboro, NC less than three hours from the Gamecocks’ campus.
Arizona was on its way to a No. 2 or No. 3 seed in 2020 when the NCAA canceled the postseason due to the pandemic. Last season, the entire tournament was played within a controlled environment in San Antonio and Austin, Tex. for the same reason. Both events kept the Wildcats from being able to host the tournament.
Arizona and South Carolina both made the Final Four last season. The Wildcats advanced to the national title game by defeating Connecticut in Arizona’s first trip past the Sweet Sixteen in program history. The Gamecocks were knocked out by eventual national champion Stanford in the semifinals. Just as Arizona did in the championship game, South Carolina lost to the Cardinal by a single point.
This season, the top-ranked Gamecocks are 19-1 overall and 7-1 in SEC play.