With a couple of victories from Mississippi State in the early rounds of the women’s NCAA basketball tournament, Kansas City will brace itself for the sound of the Bulldogs — the cowbell.
The women’s field was announced on Monday, and the Bulldogs landed the No. 1 seed in the Kansas City Region.
Mississippi State will have to win two games on its home floor to reach Sprint Center, but assuming that happens, fans will arrive with Mississippi State's trademark cowbells in tow, prepared to celebrate victories.
The Bulldogs were the national runner-up in 2017 and provided one of the most memorable moments in the history of the tournament. Morgan William’s buzzer-beating jumper in overtime defeated Connecticut in the national semifinals and ended the Huskies’ 111-game winning streak.
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William is back as the Bulldogs’ playmaker and Victoria Vivians is the team's scoring leader at 19.6 points per game. She's also a Naismith Award finalist. Mississippi State won its first 32 games this season before falling to South Carolina in the SEC tournament final.
Texas is the region’s No. 2 seed, and much of the region has a Midwest flavor. Iowa is the No. 6 seed and will take on No. 11 seed Creighton in Los Angeles, with the winner taking on the winner of UCLA-American.
Oklahoma State is the No. 9 seed and will take on eighth-seeded Syracuse. The winner of that one will be aligned against Mississippi State.
Tenth-seeded Nebraska meets No. 7 Arizona State at Austin, and that winner would likely have to go through Texas to reach Kansas City.
Other first-round matchups in the Kansas City Region: No. 4 North Carolina State vs. 13th-seeded Elon and No. 5 Maryland against No. 12 Princeton.
First- and second-round contests are Friday through Monday. Games in the Kansas City Regional are March 23 and 25, with the winner advancing to the Final Four. Other top seeds and their regional-final sites include Connecticut and Albany, N.Y., Louisville and Lexington, Ky., and Notre Dame and Spokane, Wash.
The women’s Final Four is in Columbus, Ohio, March 30 and April 1.
Kansas City has been a women’s NCAA Tournament site on four previous occasions.
In 1998, the Final Four was played at Kemper Arena, with Tennessee putting the finishing touches on the first 39-0 season in the sport's history. The Vols defeated Louisiana Tech in the final for their third straight national championship. North Carolina State and Arkansas also were national semifinalists, and the event sold out.
Two years later, Kemper was the host site of the Midwest Region, and Penn State emerged from a field that included runner-up Louisiana Tech, Iowa State and Old Dominion.
Michigan State beat Stanford to advance from the Midwest Region in 2005. Vanderbilt and Southern California were the other semifinalists at Municipal Auditorium.
In 2010, Oklahoma defeated Kentucky in the regional final. Nebraska and Notre Dame were the other semifinalists.