Welcome to the top ten.
In the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee’s second and final release of its top 16 seeds on Monday night, Northwestern (26-3, 16-2 B1G) rose to the ninth overall seed, putting the Wildcats just outside the two-line.
NU received the 16th seed four weeks ago in the committee’s first release. The ‘Cats are on a nine-game win streak headed into the Big Ten Tournament and won their first B1G title in 30 years.
The leading women’s basketball bracketologists, ESPN’s Charlie Creme and High Post Hoops’ Russ Steinberg, each currently have the Wildcats as 2-seeds. NU is slotted in the West Region in Portland, featuring a potential date with top-seeded Oregon in the Sweet 16 should they emerge from their first two games.
It is all but assured that Joe McKeown’s team will host the first two rounds of the tournament at Welsh-Ryan Arena, which would be the first time NU has done so since 1993. Northwestern is on track to receive its highest tourney seed in program history. The current record is held by the 1990 Big Ten Championship team, which was a four seed.
The Wildcats will begin Big Ten Tournament play Friday in the quarterfinals as a result of earning the double bye. They’ll take on the winner of Michigan-Nebraska before potentially facing Iowa in the semis. A win against the Hawkeyes, the thirteenth seed in this release, would go a long way to securing a top-eight spot.