Geno Auriemma on UConn’s NCAA tournament No. 2 seed: ‘If we weren’t called UConn, we’d be a No. 1’

Geno Auriemma was all over the place Sunday when asked about his thoughts on the NCAA UConn seeding.

The 38-year-old Huskies head coach with 11 NCAA titles on his resume seemed frustrated at times and understood that UConn hadn’t taken the top spot since Sunday’s bracket, which saw UConn runner-up. The Huskies have their first date with Vermont, both New England schools travel across the country to play in Seattle.

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Here’s what Auriemma told reporters about UConn’s seeding during press conferences after the revelation:

“I think if we weren’t called UConn, we would be number one,” Auriemma said. “Or if they used male criteria when you think about the victories we had in quadrant 1, 2, all of that. Who has a better record than us against these teams?

“So being number 2, I’m kind of happy that we are. There were a lot of teams that had great years. Four No. 1s, they all did great this year, otherwise they wouldn’t be No. 1 seeds.”

This Aureimma somehow sounds both disappointed and satisfied that UConn is responding in kind. Answering questions directly from SNY, Auriemma called the UConn seeding “expected”. Again, he didn’t look thrilled about going to the Northwest.

“It was expected,” Aueremma said of UConn’s No. 2 seed. “When you hear it the whole week before, you kind of look forward to it.

“The only surprise I had was that we were in Seattle. I just assumed for some reason – I don’t know why – that we would be here on the East Coast. Other than that, I’m not privy to . … as they are parenthesized. I think if you look at the four number 1s and then look at the four number 2s, you’ll think that’s where we belong. We belong to this group.”

Reluctant acceptance seems to have been the reason for Aueremma to land on the subject, a sentiment that can fairly sum up a regular season that produced largely outstanding results but was overshadowed by an excess of injuries – most notably Paige Buekers, who missed season due to a torn anterior cruciate ligament. .

There are worse places in the NCAA tournament than the No. 2 seed. It’s just not the thin air that UConn and Auriemma are used to. The #1 seeds are from South Carolina, Indiana, Virginia Tech, and Stanford. UConn joins Iowa, Utah and Maryland on Line 2.

March 5, 2023;  Uncasville, Connecticut, USA;  UConn Huskies head coach Jeno Oriemma watches from the sidelines as they take on the Marquette Golden Eagles at the Mohegan Sun Arena.  Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports
Geno Auriemma is not used to being the #2 seed. (David Butler II/Reuters)

Is UConn underseeding?

Does Auriemma have a right to the fact that UConn doesn’t get a proper result because of his performance against the best opponents? Women’s basketball does not grade teams according to the same quadrant metrics used in the men’s game. But he uses the same NET rating system which distributes teams into groups of 25 based on enemy performance and strength among other metrics.

Based on these numbers, Connecticut has had the toughest schedule in the nation this season. This finished 11-3 against NET top 25 teams. That’s more wins over the top 25 than any other program.

Virginia Tech finished 10-2, while South Carolina finished with a perfect 9-0 against top-tier opponents en route to a 32-0 campaign. No. 1 seed Indiana finished 6-2 against NET’s top 25 players, while Stanford finished 9-3.

It seems that these are the numbers Auriemma was referring to when she quoted “male criteria”. They make a strong case for UConn, but they don’t tell the whole story of a team that has finished 29-5 and lost three of those games since early February.

UConn made a borderline case for the top lane and ended up with a #2 seed, which is fine. Only four teams can get seed #1. This is the conclusion that Auriemma seems to have come to in the end, even if he didn’t like it.


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