West Virginia at Baylor: The Mountaineers were knocking on the door for a No. 2 seed for a week. The breakthrough came with a win in Waco on Sunday. Despite some horrendous free throw shooting, West Virginia came back yet again for its biggest win of the season, fueled by the biggest play in the Big 12 this year -- Averee Fields' steal of an Odyssey Sims pass and subsequent three-point play. It moved the Mountaineers past Duke as the final No. 2 seed.
South Carolina at Tennessee: The Lady Vols played their best game of the season. That, combined with Duke's slip and West Virginia's upset of Baylor, assured Tennessee of not only hanging onto its No. 2 seed, but also advancing up the overall board to No. 6. Conversely, losing on the road to a top-10 team does not wipe out all the Gamecocks have accomplished; they remain a No. 1 seed. The profiles of South Carolina and Louisville are similar. The Gamecocks' tougher schedule and more quality wins separate the two slightly. South Carolina has had a more impressive season than the Cardinals to this point, but a Louisville upset of Connecticut on Monday night would immediately change that.
The last bit of interest from Sunday came in the bracketing, particularly that of the Mountaineers and Gamecocks. Both are slated in the latest bracket to potentially play on the home floor of their respective second-round opponents. Get ready for this because it is bound to happen. Here's the rationale behind it:
Notre Dame, South Carolina and West Virginia are the only teams among the Nos. 1 and 2 seeds that aren't protected by hosting the early rounds.
Toledo is the only geographically sensible sub-regional host site for those schools not already occupied by a team in the field.
LSU and Iowa State also fall in the seed range of being able to host any of these schools.
Because of their SEC affiliation, LSU and South Carolina cannot be paired together in Baton Rouge.
The committee also tries, but isn't mandated, to avoid having a team play true road game in consecutive years. Notre Dame and West Virginia both did it last season. But because Notre Dame had to play in Iowa in Iowa City last year as a No. 1 seed, and West Virginia played at Delaware as a No. 11, and because Notre Dame is also the higher seed this season, the Irish get the luxury of playing at the neutral Toledo, while West Virginia goes to Baton Rouge and South Carolina ends up in Ames.
That might seem confusing, but those are some of the processes the committee must go through to make the bracket work with all the rules in place.