BY JEREMY HOECK
The wait is almost over for the University of South Dakota women’s basketball team.
Six days after winning their first Summit League crown, the Coyotes will find out their date, location and opponent for the NCAA Tournament, when the brackets are announced tonight (Monday) at 6 p.m. on ESPN.
Understandably, the waiting has been hard on head coach Amy Williams and her players.
“I’m a planner, and a preparation freak,” Williams joked Sunday. “So I like to know things as soon as I can.”
Depending on the projected bracket you look at, USD (19-13) is likely to earn a 14 or 15 seed into the 64-team field.
The up-to-date bracket by ESPN guru Charlie Crème has consistently slotted the Coyotes as a No. 15 seed playing No. 2 Louisville in Ames, Iowa. The College Sports Madness bracket, meanwhile, has USD as a No. 14 seed playing No. 3 Nebraska in Seattle, Wash.
With so many possibilities and projections, the best course of action for the Coyotes is to just wait and see, Williams said.
“We feel like there’s enough uncertainty to those not to pay much attention,” said the second-year coach, who admits to checking bracketology websites.
Following the Summit League championship game victory over Denver last Tuesday, USD gave its players a couple of days off — it was, after all, spring break. The coaches, meanwhile, hit the road recruiting.
All along, the high from the title remained, Williams said.
“I talked to a lot of friends and colleagues in the coaching profession, and they all said, ‘You just have to enjoy every step,’” she said. “That’s what we’ve been doing.
“That just makes (today) all the more exciting.”
While this year will mark the first NCAA Tournament appearance at the Division I level for USD, it will mark the fourth for Williams. She was part of two tournament teams while in college at Nebraska, and was an assistant coach at Tulsa when it reached the ‘Big Dance.’
“I’m really excited that our young women can experience that same thing,” Williams said. “Now that the students are back in session, they can hopefully celebrate with them.”
USD will hold a watch party tonight starting at 5:45 p.m. at the Muenster University Center in Vermillion. It is open to the public.