For the second year in a row, NC State received a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament.
But it didn’t receive any favors from the selection committee.
While the Wolfpack is the top team in the Bridgeport, Connecticut, bracket, coach Wes Moore’s team will have to overcome a decided homecourt disadvantage against second-seeded UConn should both teams advance to the region final.
And State won’t have an easy road just to get to that point. Among the other teams in its bracket are ACC rival Notre Dame, one of the three teams that have beaten it this season, and SEC Tournament champion Kentucky, a team that has won 10 straight and upset top overall seed South Carolina in its conference final last week.
Along with the Wolfpack, North Carolina and Charlotte were among the 68 teams that received NCAA bids on Sunday.
While State (29-3) faces the possibility of a hostile atmosphere in Bridgeport, it will at least enjoy a true homecourt advantage for the first two rounds of the tournament.
The Wolfpack will host the winner of a play-in game between Longwood (21-11) and Mount St. Mary’s (16-12) on Saturday at Reynolds Coliseum. Eighth-seeded Washington State (19-10) will take on No. 9 Kansas State (19-12) in the other opening round game in Raleigh.
The winners will play a second-round game at Reynolds on Monday.
Conference USA champion Charlotte (22-9) is the 14th seed in the Bridgeport bracket. The 49ers are matched against third-seeded Indiana, the team that eliminated State in the Sweet 16 a year ago. The Hoosiers (22-8) will host the game on Saturday.
The rest of the Bridgeport Region has No. 2 UConn against No. 15 Mercer, Third-seeded Indiana vs. No. 11 Princeton, fourth-seeded Oklahoma against No. 13 IUIPUI, No. 5 Notre Dame vs. No. 12 UMass, and No. 6 Kentucky against No. 11 Princeton and No. 7 Central Florida against No. 10 Florida.
Unlike the Wolfpack, UNC (23-6) will get to play close to home if it survives the first two rounds of the Greensboro Region. The fifth-seeded Tar Heels would need all the advantages they can get in a bracket topped by No. 1 overall seed South Carolina.
In order to advance that far, though, coach Courtney Banghart’s team will first have to beat 12th-seeded Stephen F. Austin (28-4) in an opening-round game in Tucson, Arizona, on Saturday, then survive a second-round matchup against either host Arizona, the No. 4 seed, or 13th-seeded UNLV.
The other teams in the Greensboro bracket are second-seeded Iowa, No. 3 Iowa State, No. 6 Georgia, No. 7 Colorado, No. 8 Miami, No. 9 South Florida, No. 10 Creighton, No. 14 UT-Arlington and No. 15 Illinois State.
Dayton and DePaul will match up in a play-in game for the No. 11 seed, while the winner of a play-in game between Howard and Incarnate Word will be the No. 16 seed.
Defending national champion Stanford is the top seed in the Spokane, Washington, Region and Louisville is No. 1 in the Wichita Region.
The Women’s Final Four will be played on April 1-3 in Minneapolis.