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Northwestern women's basketball will be a 7 seed against Arkansas in the NCAA Tournament

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The Wildcats are back in the Big Dance!

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Northwestern women's basketball is headed back to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1997 and the first time since head coach Joe McKeown took over in Evanston. The Wildcats are a 7 seed and will play Arkansas in Waco, Texas. The game will be broadcast on Friday on ESPN2 at 11 am CT.

In a potential second round matchup, NU would play two seed Baylor. If NU advances out of the second round, the Wildcats would play in the Sweet 16 in the Oklahoma City regional, where Notre Dame is a one seed and Iowa is a three seed.

NU finished the season ranked No. 22 in the AP top 25 with a 23-8 record overall and a 12-6 finish in Big Ten play. They received a double bye in the Big Ten Tournament, earning a No. 4 seed and beating a ranked Rutgers team before falling to Maryland. It was an impressive season for the Wildcats, who took down Rutgers (twice), Minnesota, Nebraska and DePaul en route to the tournament.

Arkansas finished 17-13 and 6-10 in the SEC en route to the 10 seed. They play a low-scoring, slow-it-down style and have good wins against Iowa and Georgia.

The future remains bright in Evanston, as many of NU's main contributors are underclassmen. Sophomore Nia Coffey was named First Team All-Big Ten, while sophomore Ashley Deary became a steals artist and juniors Maggie Lyon and Lauren Douglas averaged 13.9 and 10.1 points per game, respectively. McKeown used a small, but talented rotation that also included sophomore Christen Inman and seniors Alex Cohen and Karly Roser.