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Want in women’s NCAA tourney? Playing in SEC would be a big help

SHARE Want in women’s NCAA tourney? Playing in SEC would be a big help

Looking for a sure way to get into the NCAA women's basketball tournament?

Scheduling tough opponents certainly helps. So does winning a lot of games. But what really helps is playing in the Southeastern Conference.The NCAA selection committee loaded up its brackets with SEC teams Sunday, giving berths to defending national champion Tennessee and seven others from that league -- four of whom finished at .500 or below in the conference.

That's a record for one conference, and a deserved one at that, Georgia coach Andy Landers said. The SEC previously had as many as seven teams in the NCAA field.

"Certainly, we've lived for years with the idea that we play in the most competitive conference in the country," said Landers, whose team is seeded third in the Mideast Regional."Eight teams is certainly a compliment to the players and coaches. Most years, we easily could have had one more team."

Other SEC teams chosen for the tournament were Auburn, Alabama, Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana State and Mississippi State.

Tennessee (28-2) was seeded No. 1 in the East. The second-ranked Lady Vols begin their quest for a fourth consecutive NCAA championship at home Saturday against Appalachian State (14-14), which qualified by winning the Southern Conference tournament.

There were no surprises in the No. 1 seeds, with the other slots going to top-ranked Purdue (Midwest), third-ranked Louisiana Tech (West) and sixth-ranked Connecticut (Mideast).

The selection committee felt comfortable taking so many SEC teams because it was the No. 1-ranked league all season and all of those selected had strong power ratings, said Bernadette McGlade, who chairs the committee.