It is safe to say the Badgers were slightly snubbed with their seed for the 2014 NCAA Tournament.
After compiling an 18-2-2 record, finishing second in the Big Ten in the regular season and then winning the Big Ten tournament, Wisconsin received a No. 4 seed from the NCAA selection committee.
“I thought we would have a 3 seed. You never know what’s going on with the NCAA committee and what plays into it. We thought we’d be a little bit higher seed,” said head coach Paula Wilkins.
This means UW will open up the tournament against DePaul, a team that has not lost a game all season. DePaul is 16-0-4 and won the Big East regular season title and the conference tournament.
“It’s upsetting a little bit, the echo of the players is that last year we felt we got slighted with Ohio State getting ninth in the Big Ten and making the NCAAs and us being fifth and not getting in,” Wilkins said. “I think they feel the same way this year in that they did enough to win the Big Ten Tournament, only lost two games all season, and now they’re playing a team that’s undefeated, but we’re excited for the challenge.”
The positive side of the No. 4 seed is that Wisconsin earned a home bid and will take on DePaul in Madison. The players echoed Wilkins’ attitude toward the tough test of facing an unbeaten team.
“We were all pretty surprised but I think this is just something you have to take in stride,” said redshirt senior Kodee Williams. “Yeah we’re playing an undefeated team and we’re prepared to give them their first loss.”
Calm, cool and confident. That sums up the Badgers’ attitude heading into what will certainly be a difficult match in the first round. Junior Kinley McNicoll, who sealed the Big Ten championship with her corner kick goal in the 104th minute, felt similar to Williams.
“At some point in the NCAAs we’re going to face adversity and I think the past season, this past year, we’ve overcome obstacles and this is definitely another obstacle we can overcome,” McNicoll said.
Big Ten Goalkeeper of the Year Genevieve Richard seemed utterly unaffected by the tough draw.
“I’m up for the challenge. I have faith in my team,” Richard said nonchalantly.
The Badgers will take on DePaul Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at the McClimon Sports Complex.