The Western Kentucky women’s basketball team is in the NCAA tournament. But where will it end up?
That was the topic I discussed today with ESPN women’s bracketologist Charlie Creme, who was gracious enough to take some time to talk to me by phone.
Creme had WKU as a No. 15 seed playing second-seeded Baylor in Waco, Texas, in his updated projections early Sunday morning. He’ll do one final update today after all the conference finals are complete. The Selection Show takes place at 6 p.m. Monday on ESPN.
Creme says he has the Lady Toppers as his top 15 seed, and that moving up to a 14 is certainly possible. I asked him about the possibility that WKU is moved up to a No. 14 seed to play a third-seeded Kentucky team in Lexington, and Creme said that’s something the committee could consider.
Here are his full comments:
CHARLIE CREME, ESPN women’s bracketologist
Do you see Western Kentucky as a firm No. 15 seed? “I think 15 is probably the most likely scenario, but would a 14 shock me? It could very well be they’re a 15 in the eyes of the committee, but there’s a geographic component – they want to get someone else closer in traveling, or they want to get Western Kentucky to not have to travel so far. That’s possible. I have Western Kentucky as the top 15 seed, so the difference between them being a 14 and a 15 is really being 56 or 57 on the board. But I think higher than a 14 would be extremely unlikely.”
You say you have WKU as your top 15 seed. What goes into having them above the other teams on that 15 line? “Overall record, obviously, strength of schedule would go into it. Basically the same as any other evaluation – the same that would go into deciding between Stanford and Louisville for a No. 1. Basically, what the committee does is a series of votes amongst the 10 people in that room. … Winning the conference tournament and being right there in second place all year for the most part helps them considerably. It’s not like they came from a four-seed in the Sun Belt Tournament and won it. That’s something the committee will consider. They were a good team all year in that conference.
More on WKU’s position with those other 15s: “Their strength of schedule isn’t very good. The Sun Belt isn’t the league it used to be, necessarily, so that’ll play into it as well. The teams that I have them ahead of – Albany, Western Kentucky, I guess you could argue Albany had a better season overall, but their schedule was a lot worst. There weren’t many teams in the country that had a worse schedule than Albany. The America East just isn’t as good as the Sun Belt.”
Many here are speculating a potential matchup with a third-seeded Kentucky team as a 14 seed. Is that something that could be a possiblity? “It is a possibility. I certainly don’t think it’s out of that kind of realm. It’s a fairly interesting point, but there’s always another team involved in that. What’s the best from a travel point, but what’s also best from a fairness perspective? It would be reasonable. Would they switch them with Wichita State and have Wichita play in Waco, and have Western Kentucky play Kentucky in Lexington? Yeah, that’s a very reasonable thing the committee could do. Did Wichita State have a better season than Western Kentucky, though? Yeah, I think they did. Wichita is probably more deserving of that 14, but how highly the committee values that geographic component is something to think about.”