The NCAA women's tournament field was unveiled Monday night and head coach Jose Fernandez and the USF Bulls were hopeful that they would be hosting a first-round game at the Sun Dome.
That chance was quickly dashed, as the Bulls were one of the first teams unveiled on ESPN's selection show. USF was given a 6-seed and will play in Tallahassee, despite having the 14th-best RPI in the nation.
"It looks like the tournament, for one reason or another, it's becoming regionalized. And I think you're only hurting the student-athletes by doing that," Fernandez told reporters after the announcement.
USF purposefully raised the level of their non-conference schedule, and boast four wins over tournament qualifiers in the regular season - LSU, Ohio State, George Washington and Dayton. Ohio State earned a 3-seed.
Three of the team's seven losses came to the No. 1 overall seed, Connecticut. The Huskies destroyed most of their opponents this season, with a perfect 32-0 record, and their wins by an average of 36.9 points/game. The Bulls were one of only four teams to lose by 16 points or less.
USF will face off with 11-seed Buffalo. The Bulls from New York were the MAC runner-up to Central Michigan and enter the tournament with a 27-5 record. It's Buffalo's second NCAA tournament appearance in program history, while USF will make their 6th appearance (program-best fourth straight).
If USF wins their first-round game, a likely matchup with 3-seed Florida State awaits. The Seminoles lead the all-time series with the Bulls 22-12, but the two teams have not met since 2011. The last USF win over Florida State came in November of 1999.