- Associated Press - Monday, January 23, 2017

NEW YORK (AP) - UConn, Baylor, South Carolina and Mississippi State would be the four top seeds if the NCAA women’s basketball tournament began Monday.

For the second consecutive year, the NCAA provided a snapshot of the tournament field, unveiling the top 16 teams as of Monday, in order. Those schools would potentially host the opening two rounds of the NCAA Tournament, which begins March 18.

“There’s a lot of movement that will take place,” women’s basketball selection committee chair Terry Gawlik said in a phone interview Monday. “It’s a snapshot of what it looks like if you developed the bracket today.”

South Carolina and Mississippi State were set to play each other Monday night, and UConn and South Carolina face off in three weeks.

“There’s a lot more work to do. People will have their own opinions,” Gawlik said. “There will be some discussion out there. It’s fun to look at it in the snapshot.”

Following the top four seeds were Florida State, Washington, Notre Dame and Oregon State.

Maryland, which is third in the AP Top 25, is ninth according to the committee.

“We talked about them a lot,” Gawlik said of the Terps. “They had only three games in the top 25 and three games in the top 26-50. When looking at other folks, they have more games than that in those two columns. Those enter in the discussion. We all know Maryland’s a strong team.”

Texas, Duke and Stanford came after the Terrapins. The Cardinal are hosting the Pac-12 women’s gymnastics championships the weekend of the NCAAs, so they would have a conflict.

Louisville, UCLA, Kentucky and Arizona State round out the 16 teams.

Last season, the NCAA revealed the top 10 teams a few times while announcing a few other teams that were in the mix.

“The committee felt that the top 10 announcements were very successful last year in raising awareness and creating conversation around the game,” said Gawlik, who is the senior associate athletics director at Wisconsin. “We wanted to continue that this season with the addition of increasing the reveal to include the top 16 seeds.”

Gawlik said that there was a lot of discussion of five other schools that could have been in the top 16.

The committee will do two more top 16 reveals, on Feb. 6 and Feb. 20. The bracket will be unveiled on March 13.

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