The Mid-American Conference will be going dancing in the 2018 NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament and this time, it’ll be bringing a pair.
Central Michigan (28-4) won the MAC regular season and the MAC Tournament in Cleveland, Ohio last week, thus securing its automatic bid early. But it was their MAC Championship opponent Buffalo (27-5) who had to sweat it out until Selection Monday to see if they would be added in to the Big Dance.
Ultimately, the Bulls were the first of the “Debatable 8” reveaed as an at-large, being placed in the Albany Region. They will play South Florida (26-7) in Tallahassee, Florida on Saturday, March 17 at 1:30 p.m. in a game to be televised on ESPN2. Should the Bulls win, they’ll face the winner of the Florida State v. Little Rock game in the early session.
CMU won’t have to travel as far for their first-round matchup, as they’re slated to take on the LSU Tigers (19-9) in a game also scheduled for Saturday, March 17. They’ll play in Columbus, Ohio, at 11 a.m. and be televised on ESPN2. CMU was placed in the Spokane Region. Should the Chippewas win, they’ll face the winner of the Ohio State v. George Washington game in the late session.
Interestingly, both Buffalo and Central Michigan were given 11-seeds in their regions. It’s not often the MAC places two bids in the NCAA’s, but with both squads facing a fierce out-of-conference schedule and dominating in conference play, it would be hard to keep out one if the other won the MAC title.
That said, on the strength of their respective schedules, being seeded as an 11 is dangerous for the higher seeds they’ll be facing, as they easily have the resume to be slotted as an 8-or-9 seed.
The 2018 NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament begins in full on Friday, March 16. The full bracket can be found here.