IOWA CITY — Eight? Nine? Ten?
Chicago? Notre Dame? Norman? Maybe Ames?
Lisa Bluder hasn’t pondered those questions much. They’ll all be answered Monday night.
The NCAA women’s basketball tournament field will be revealed at 6 p.m. For the Iowa Hawkeyes, the question doesn’t appear to be whether they’ll make the bracket for the fifth straight year, but where they’ll go and who they’ll play.
“We’ll go wherever they send us,” Bluder said. “Chicago or Notre Dame would be the closest, but (the committee) has sent us everywhere but the Midwest recently.”
The Hawkeyes went to Stanford, Calif., in 2010, then to Spokane, Wash., last year.
Iowa (19-11) closed the regular season with eight straight wins, then lost to Nebraska in the Big Ten tournament quarterfinals. The Hawkeyes finished in a second-place tie in the Big Ten and entered the weekend with an RPI of 42.
There are 16 potential sites for first- and second-round games. Some are more likely destinations for the Hawkeyes than others.
For instance, cross off West Lafayette. Purdue will make the tournament, and the NCAA will not put two conference schools in the same four-team pod.
Ames is out if Iowa State makes the tournament, because the committee is discouraged from matching first-round opponents that played in the regular season. But the Cyclones sit smack-dab on the bubble, and if ISU is left out, Iowa is a good bet to play at Hilton Coliseum.
If Iowa is an 8 or 9 seed, it will be in the same pod as a No. 1. Those appear to be Baylor, Stanford, Notre Dame and Connecticut.
ESPN.com “bracketologist” Charlie Creme projects Iowa as a No. 9 seed and playing No. 8 seed Oklahoma at Norman. Creme has Stanford as a No. 1 seed and in the Norman subregion.
Notre Dame hosts a subregion, while UConn appears destined to play at Bridgeport, Conn. The whereabouts of Baylor and Stanford are a mystery.
Because of the strength of the likely No. 1 seeds, Bluder would prefer to avoid them by being assigned a 10 seed rather than an 8 or a 9.
“I think that would be a big advantage,” she said.
If Iowa draws a 10 seed, Chicago would be an option if DePaul is a 7 seed. Other prime possibilities for the Hawkeyes as a 10 seed would be College Park, Md. (assuming Maryland is a 2 seed), Nashville (if Vanderbilt is a 7) and Chapel Hill (if North Carolina doesn’t make it and if Duke is a 2). Iowa could go to Norman as a 10 if Oklahoma is a 7.
There will be no pre-NCAA speculation for Iowa in 2013. Carver-Hawkeye Arena will be a subregion host, so Iowa will either play in Iowa City, or not at all.
First-round games are next Saturday and Sunday; second-rounders are March 19-20. Depending on the schedule, it will be 15 or 16 days between the Hawkeyes’ Big Ten tournament exit and their first-round game in the NCAA.
“We have been trying to make ourselves better,” Bluder said. “We’ve done a lot of scrimmaging with the Gray squad. We brought it game officials and are keeping a game mentality. With so long between games, we don’t want to lose that edge.”
2012 NCAA TOURNAMENT FIRST- AND SECOND-ROUND SITES
Ames; Baton Rouge, La.; Bowling Green, Ohio; Bridgeport, Conn.; Chapel Hill, N.C.; Chicago; College Park, Md.; College Station, Texas; Little Rock, Ark.; Nashville, Tenn.; Norfolk, Va.; Norman, Okla.; Notre Dame, Ind.; Spokane, Wash.; Tallahassee, Fla.; West Lafayette, Ind.
2012 NCAA TOURNAMENT REGIONAL SITES
Des Moines; Fresno, Calif.; Kingston, R.I.; Raleigh, N.C.
2012 NCAA TOURNAMENT FINAL FOUR
LIKELY No. 1 SEEDS
Baylor, Stanford, Notre Dame, Connecticut
LIKELY No. 2 SEEDS
Four of these six: Duke, Maryland, Miami (Fla.), Kentucky, Tennessee, Delaware
IOWA’S NCAA HISTORY UNDER LISA BLUDER
2001 (at Salt Lake City): Beat Oregon, lost to Utah
2002 (at Storrs, Conn.): Beat Virginia, lost to Connecticut
2004 (at Blacksburg, Va.): Lost to Virginia Tech
2006 (at Denver): Lost to BYU
2008 (at Norfolk, Va.): Lost to Georgia
2009 (at Iowa City): Lost to Georgia Tech
2010 (at Stanford, Calif.): Beat Rutgers, lost to Stanford
2011 (at Spokane, Wash.): Lost to Gonzaga