Erica Johnson and Gabby Burris run down the floor in the Bobcats win over Miami in the quarterfinals of the MAC Tournament on March 15, 2019. PHOTO: Michael Roth/WOUB

Ohio Women’s Basketball: ‘Cats Snubbed by NCAA Tournament, Receive No.2 Seed in WNIT

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ATHENS, OH — It was certainly a hectic Monday afternoon for all of NCAA division one women’s basketball. After the official tournament bracket leaked in its entirety on an ESPN show meant to talk about the men’s tournament nearly three hours before it was scheduled to be revealed in its own time slot, the world of women’s college basketball was worked into a frenzy.

However, when the dust settled, it was clear that the Bobcats had been left out of the tournament.

Despite tying the school record for wins in a season with 27 and having a Rating Percentage Index (RPI) ranking of 34th in the country, Ohio had failed to convince the selection committee enough to earn an at-large bid.

Shortly after the bracket was officially unveiled, NCAA Women’s Basketball’s official Twitter account (@NCAAWBB) indicated that the Bobcats were among the first four teams left out of the tournament, along with Arkansas (20-14, RPI 67), Texas Christian (20-10, RPI 58) and James Madison (25-5, RPI 36).

However, the last four teams in the tournament are where fans of the ‘Cats will likely take issue with the committee.

The selection committee announced that the final four teams in the tournament were Auburn, Indiana, Tennessee and Central Florida.

Central Florida should cause no debate amongst Bobcat fans. The Knights (26-6) were second in the American Athletic Conference behind the mighty UConn Huskies and had an RPI ranking in the top 15 nationally.

Auburn and Indiana should also be considered tournament teams. The Tigers (22-10) and Hoosiers (20-12) both had RPI rankings below the Bobcats, but they played in tougher conferences according to the RPI metric for conferences.

Tennessee is where a majority of Ohio fans will direct their frustration with the committee.

The Lady Vols, a foundational program in women’s basketball, had a down year for their standards. Finishing just 19-12, their lowest win total for a season since the 1975-76 season, Tennessee had the lowest RPI (60th) of an at-large bid in the entire tournament and have gone just 8-10 since the calendar flipped to 2019.

That being said, the day wasn’t all bad for the Bobcats.

At 8 p.m. on Monday night, the WNIT confirmed what had already been assumed by those close to the program: Ohio had received an automatic bid to the Women’s National Invitational Tournament.

The Bobcats earned a No.2 seed in the WNIT and are scheduled to take on High Point (20-8) on Thursday night at the Convo.

A No.2 seed is the highest seeding the Bobcats have received in either of their two previous appearances in the WNIT.

While it’s unlikely that the Bobcats will look ahead to future games without securing wins over High Point and the winner of Middle Tennessee State and IUPUI, the potential third-round matchups would either be the fourth matchup against arch-rival Miami or a visit from Ohio State.