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The Iowa Hawkeyes have one of the toughest paths to the Final Four in the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament as they were chosen to be the No. 1 seed of the Albany Region 2 bracket.

The Caitlin Clark-led squad drew a ton of media attention this season. Clark started the year pursuing Kelsey Plum’s all-time scoring record and ended the Big Ten Conference Tournament with more points than the Washington legend, Lynette Woodard and Pete Maravich.

As a reward, Iowa may have a rematch of last year’s national championship against LSU before even getting to Cleveland for the Final Four. UCLA, Colorado and Kansas State are also among the teams that could give the Hawkeyes a headache.

Former ESPN columnist Jemele Hill believed the NCAA selection committee “kinda screwed” Iowa.

“Think the committee kinda screwed Iowa a little bit with that region. To have to go through the defending national champions (LSU) and UCLA… don’t know if they deserved that,” Hill wrote on X.

Iowa coach Lisa Bluder acknowledged the importance of having the No. 1 seed in the tournament but understood that it doesn’t guarantee the team anything.

Iowa's Caitlin Clark talks to reporters


“It establishes us as one of the very best teams in America,” she said, via the Des Moines Register. “It’s just a credit to our recognition, which I’m very happy about. But it’s just a number, right? We got to the championship game last year as a No. 2 seed. We know No. 1 seeds don’t guarantee anything.

“Right now, I’m kind of just looking at this week. We try to break this tournament into week segments. These two games this week, then the next two. You just try to break it down like that. You look at the overall picture, it can be overwhelming looking at all those teams. But we have a path, and we know what it’s going to take.”

Lisa Bluder speaks

Iowa will either face UT-Martin or Holy Cross in their first matchup and then potentially West Virginia or Princeton. West Virginia is already licking their chops.

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