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March Mania

Gophers, South Dakota State playing in Spokane region of NCAA women's tourney

MINNEAPOLIS—The University of Minnesota women's basketball team is headed back to the Big Dance for the first time in three years.

The Golden Gophers were awarded the No. 10 seed in the 2018 NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament and will face No. 7 seed Green Bay in Eugene, Ore., on Friday, March 16, in the Spokane Region. The game is set for 4 p.m. CT and will be televised on ESPN2.

The other regional team in the tourney, in which the seedings were announced Monday night, is South Dakota State, which was awarded the No. 8 seed in the Spokane Region and will face No. 9-seeded Villanova, also on Friday.

The Jackrabbits and the Wildcats tip off at 6:30 p.m. and the game will be played at the Purcell Pavilion in Notre Dame, Indiana. The game, which will be televised on ESPN2, will be the second meeting between the two schools. Villanova won the first meeting 71-47 Nov. 10, 2012.

Oregon earned the No. 2 seed for the Spokane Region and will play No. 15 seed Seattle following the Gophers' opening round contest. The winners of the two contests will face off in the second round Sunday, March 18.

It will be the 10th NCAA Tournament appearance for the Gopher women and the first appearance since 2015. Minnesota is 11-9 all-time in the NCAA Tournament, which includes a magical run to the Final Four in 2004. The Gophers have advanced to the Sweet 16 three times (2003, 2004, 2005) in program history, while also competing in one Elite Eight (2004). Minnesota made its first NCAA Appearance in 1994.

Minnesota earned the No. 10 seed for the third time in program history after posting a 23-8 overall record, its most wins since 2014-15, which was the last time the team made the NCAA Tournament.

If South Dakota State beats Villanova, they will play the winner of No. 1 seed Notre Dame and No. 16 CSUN Sunday.

South Dakota State (26-6) completed its 12th 20-win season in 14 years and is making its eighth NCAA Tournament appearance in 10 years. The Jacks are 2-7 in the NCAA Tournament and 2018 is the first time the Jackrabbits earned the No. 8 seed. SDSU's highest seed came as the seventh seed in the 2009 NCAA Tournament. The Jackrabbits have been No. 13 and No. 14 seeds twice and No. 12 and No. 15 seeds.

Villanova went 22-8 overall and 12-6 in the Big East Conference and earned an at-large bid. The Wildcats lost to Georgetown in the Big East Tournament quarterfinals and are 2-3 in their last five games.

Overall, in the women's tourney, the No. 1 seeds besides Notre Dame (29-3), are Mississippi State (32-1), the team that shocked Connecticut and ended the Huskies' record-setting 111-game win streak last year in the Final Four, 11-time national champion Connecticut (32-0) in the Albany Region; and Louisville (32-2) in the Lexington Region. The Cardinals were national championship runners-up in 2009 and 2013. The Fighting Irish, which won the national title in 2001, have played in five of the past seven Final Fours.

In addition to Texas, the other No. 2 seeds are Baylor (31-1) in Lexington; Oregon (30-4) in Spokane; and South Carolina (26-6) in Albany.