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Central Michigan draws Iowa in the first round of the 2021 NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament

The Chippewas pick up a B1G-MAC matchup for their first NCAA appearance since 2018, taking on the Hawkeyes from Des Moines.

Randy Carpenter

The Central Michigan Chippewas, winners of their first MAC Championship Tournament since 2018, received their first round assignment on Monday evening, drawing the Iowa Hawkeyes of the Big Ten Conference.

The Hawkeyes stand at 18-9 overall (12-9 B1G), and finished in the “26th” position in the AP Top 25 poll prior to the tournament reveal, with the most votes from the “others receiving votes” category, and had won six of their last eight games coming into tonight. Their last game action was a 104-84 loss to the Maryland Terrapins in the Big Ten Tournament Championship Game. They hail Division 1’s leading scorer in true freshman and Des Moines native Caitlin Clark, who averages approximately 27 points per game.

The Chippewas stand at 18-8 (12-6 MAC), and came out on top in one of the fiercer mid-major divisions in women’s college basketball. Their last game action was on Saturday morning, as they took down #1 seed Bowling Green by a final score of 77-72. In their last NCAA Tournament appearance, the Chippewas went all the way to the Sweet 16, eliminating LSU and Ohio State to make it out of the initial rounds, their farthest run in program history. It was also their last under legendary head coach Sue Guevara, who retired after the season, handing the reins to assistant coach Heather Oesterle. This will mark Oesterle’s first appearance as a head coach in the NCAA Tournament.

The Chippewas will look to pull off an upset, as they are the 12th seed in the River Walk region, and should they advance, would face the winner of the 4/12 game between Kentucky and Idaho State.

This season, the NCAA women’s tournament is set to take place in San Antonio, Texas, with the first round of games set to begin on Sunday, March 21 at noon Eastern time, and concluding on April 4 at 6 p.m. Eastern time, with ESPN providing all television coverage. The four regions are named after various landmarks in San Antonio. Locations for the games are to be determined, as are times.

Here is a closer look at the River Walk region and the full women’s tournament bracket below.