Six Pac-12 women’s basketball teams selected for 2022 NCAA Tournament
SAN FRANCISCO - Six Pac-12 women’s basketball teams are headed to the 2022 NCAA Tournament, with Arizona, Colorado, Oregon, Stanford, Utah and Washington State chosen to represent the league in March Madness. At least half of the conference has now earned berths in five consecutive NCAA Tournaments and this will be the eighth consecutive event to feature at least five Pac-12 programs.
Pac-12 teams boast plenty of postseason success in recent years. Since the 2015-16 season, the Pac-12 leads all conferences in NCAA Tournament wins (70), NCAA Tournament winning percentage (.707) and Final Four appearances (6). Last season, the Pac-12's top two regular-season finishers – Stanford and Arizona – met for the national championship. The 2021 title game was just the seventh time in women’s basketball history that two teams from the same league met for a championship and was the first to feature two schools from west of the Mississippi River since 1986 (Texas vs. USC).
In addition to the aforementioned success over the past seven seasons, the Pac-12 also leads all conferences in Final Four appearances since 2012-13 with eight. Those eight appearances have been spread across six different programs - Arizona (2021), California (2013), Oregon (2019), Oregon State (2016), Stanford (2021, 2017, 2014), Washington (2016) - which is two more than any other conference. Simply put, in an amazing display of depth, half of the Pac-12 has appeared in a Final Four in the past eight NCAA Tournaments. The ACC has had four different programs make the Final Four over the same span, the Big East three, the SEC two, and the Big Ten, Big 12 and American each one.
Defending national champion Stanford (28-3), which swept the Pac-12 regular season and tournament titles in 2022, earned the No. 1 seed in the Spokane Region, the program’s 12th time as a No. 1 seed and the 18th for a current league member all-time (USC - 1982, 1983, 1984, 1986; Washington - 1990; Colorado - 1995). The Cardinal's 35 NCAA Tournament appearances are the second-most all-time and its 12 No. 1 seeds are the third most. The Cardinal's tournament will kick off on The Farm when its hosts No. 16 seed Montana State on Friday, March 18.
Arizona (20-7) is hosting first and second-round games in the tournament for the second time in program history (1998) as the No. 4 seed in the Greensboro Region. The Wildcats, which advanced to last season's national title game in their first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2005, will host No. 13 seed and Mountain West champion UNLV on Saturday, March 19 in Tucson.
The No. 5 seed in the Wichita Region, Oregon (20-11) is headed to its 17th NCAA Tournament all-time and fifth in a row. The Ducks have advanced past the first weekend in each of the first four years of its current run and made three Elite Eights. Oregon opens with No. 12 seed Belmont in Knoxville, Tenn. on Saturday, March 19.
Making its first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2013 and second as a Pac-12 member, Colorado (22-8) is the No. 7 seed in the Greensboro Region and will face No. 10 seed Creighton on Friday, March 18 in Iowa City, Iowa. The berth is the 14th all-time for CU, which is 17-13 in its previous NCAA Tournament appearances and has been to three Elite Eights (1993, 1995, 2002).
Also a No. 7 seed in the Spokane Region and making a return trip to the Big Dance for the first time in 11 years, Pac-12 Tournament finalist Utah (20-11) will take on No. 10 seed Arkansas in the first round on Friday, March 18 in Austin, Texas. The Utes last made the NCAA Tournament in 2011 and last secured a victory in the event in 2009. Last week, the sixth-seeded Utes advanced to the Pac-12 Tournament championship for the first time in school history, became the lowest seed to reach the finals and only the second team outside the top four to get there (No. 5 USC in 2014).
Washington State (19-10), which made its return to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 30 years in 2021, is back in 2022 as the No. 8 seed in the Bridgeport Region. Making consecutive tournament appearances for the first time in program history, the Cougars will begin with No. 9 seed Kansas State in Raleigh, N.C. on Saturday, March 19. Winners of nine of its final 12 games to end the regular season, WSU tied for second in the Pac-12 standings, a program best. The Cougars set a program record for Pac-12 wins (11) and secured a winning record in the league for just the second time (1990-91). At 19-10 overall, WSU has already established a program record for wins in the NCAA era.
UCLA (14-12) and Oregon State (14-13) were both selected to play in the WNIT, which tips off this Wednesday, March 16.
2022 NCAA Tournament
No. 1 Stanford vs. No. 16 Montana State - Friday, March 18 - Stanford, Calif.
No. 7 Utah vs. No. 10 Arkansas - Friday, March 18 - Austin, Texas
No. 4 Arizona vs. No. 13 UNLV - Saturday, March 19 - Tucson, Ariz.
No. 7 Colorado vs. No. 10 Creighton - Friday, March 18 - Iowa City, Iowa
No. 5 Oregon vs. No. 12 Belmont - Saturday, March 19 - Knoxville, Tenn.
No. 8 Washington State vs. No. 9 Kansas State - Saturday, March 19 - Raleigh, N.C.