UK Women's Basketball

UK women curious about their NCAA fate

The wait is almost over.

On Monday night, Kentucky's players will crowd around the big television in Coach Matthew Mitchell's house and watch the women's basketball selection show.

A week after finishing a close second in the Southeastern Conference Tournament, the Cats will be watching and waiting to see their seed, their opponent and their site.

"I'm not nervous," Mitchell said on Sunday. "We definitely feel like we're in the field, so there's not that nervousness about getting in or not getting in.

"It's more of a curiosity as to how it's all going to play out."

There are sites close by, including one at Louisville's Freedom Hall, which would be the optimum location for UK, which averaged 5,624 fans at home games this year.

But ticket sales opportunities don't make the selections. It's often about putting the best team that doesn't have a host site closest to home.

That could mean the Louisville site would go to No. 8 Ohio State or No. 9 West Virginia.

"We really don't have any idea. We're really hoping we could get to Louisville somehow, but we don't know how that works.

"I do think if (the committee) can put us in Louisville they would because of issues with poor attendance on some of the neutral sites," Mitchell said.

But after two straight WNIT trips since he arrived at UK, Mitchell is just happy he gets to ponder seeds and sites in the bigger NCAA Tournament.

"We don't care where we go," he said. "We just want to find out who we're playing."

As of early Sunday morning, ESPN women's basketball bracketologist Charlie Creme had UK as a No. 4 seed headed to Norfolk, Va., to play Old Dominion at its home arena.

That is unlikely now, though, since ODU was beaten by James Madison in the Colonial Athletic Association Tournament finals. The Monarchs likely will be WNIT bound with the loss.

Norfolk would be a roughly nine-hour trip for UK fans in Lexington, but it beats other sites the Cats have been shuttled off to based on Creme's projections the past few weeks.

The prognosticator consistently has had UK as a No. 4 seed, but mostly he has seen the committee sending the Cats out West to various sites like Berkley, Calif., Tempe, Ariz., and Seattle.

As of now, Creme has seven Big 12 teams and seven Big East Teams getting into the field with six apiece for the Atlantic Coast and the Southeastern conferences.

CollegeRPI.com's Jerry Palm also listed UK as a No. 4 seed playing out West on his most recent bracket.

One thing both have noted is that the committee matches seeds with locations after it fills out the bracket on Selection Monday.

Mitchell has had conversations with previous committee members and seems to lean toward Kentucky being a No. 4 seed as projected, but it's hard to know for sure until it flashes up on the television in his den.

"We're thinking we're somewhere around a four seed, but that's just a guess on my part," he said.

The coach said he has encouraged his players, who got a full weekend off for the first time in nine weeks this past weekend, to not worry about the seed number before their team name, but instead focus on the "Kentucky" name on the front of their jersey.

Much like at the SEC Tournament last week, Mitchell is stressing that UK continue to do what it does best, being a running, aggressive, defensive-oriented team.

"When you're a team like that, you just stick to your identity," he said. "It kind of takes the pressure off as far as who's your opponent and what kind of draw you're going to get and where you're going to play."

  Comments