The men’s NCAA tournament is only a few weeks away, but it’s not the only major basketball tournament happening in March. The NCAA women’s tournament tips off March 21.
On this week’s episode of March Madness 365, Andy Katz doesn’t just look at dominant men’s programs this season, he also looks at women’s. He ranks the 10 schools with the best combined men’s and women’s programs so far this season. This episode also features interviews with Gonzaga’s Mark Few and Maine’s Edniesha Curry, the only woman currently a full-time assistant coach in DI men’s basketball.
Here are Katz’s top 10 schools with the best combined men’s and women’s basketball programs:
The UCLA women are No. 9 in the latest AP poll. The Bruins are 14-4, one of the best teams in the Pac-12, and will compete with Stanford, Arizona and Oregon for the conference championship. The Bruin men aren’t ranked but are in the thick of things in the Pac-12, along with Oregon and Southern Cal.
Geno Auriemma’s Huskies are No. 1 in the nation with a 20-1 record and are led by Paige Bueckers, one of the best guards in the game. The Huskies’ men have won four out of the last five and, with star James Bouknight back in the lineup, Katz thinks they could land a nine or 10 seed in the tournament.
Similar to UCLA, Oregon’s men’s and women’s squads are competing for a Pac-12 title. On the women’s side, the Ducks are No. 19 in the country and are fourth in the Pac-12. The Ducks on the men’s side aren’t ranked, but are second in the Pac-12 standings and have a chance to beat No. 1 in the Pac-12 UCLA on March 3.
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The 19-2 Maryland women are No. 8 in the country and could easily land a top-two seed. Maryland’s men’s squad was chilling in bubble land for some time this season but Katz has the Terps easily in the tournament thanks to five consecutive wins.
Arkansas is the first school on this list with both its men’s and women’s programs ranked. On the women’s side, the Razorbacks are No. 13 and in the thick of the SEC race. The Arkansas men are No. 12 and will be a major player in the SEC tournament.
5. Ohio State
Although Ohio State’s men’s team has lost three straight games, it is still one of the most formidable programs in the Big Ten this season and are No. 7 in the nation. On the women’s side, the Buckeyes are No. 22 and will be a tough out in a loaded Big Ten conference tourney.
4. West Virginia
West Virginia’s men’s program seems to always be in the conversation when it comes to the Big 12 race. The Mountaineers are No. 6 in the country, 17-6 overall and will face No. 3 Baylor on March 2. On the women’s side, the Mountaineers are No. 20 in the AP poll and second behind Baylor in the Big 12. They face the Lady Bears before the Big 12 tournament as well, on March 8.
Speaking of the Bears, Baylor is the only team on this list with both men’s and women’s programs in the top 10. The Bears men are No. 3 in the country and the women are No. 7. Katz thinks both have a reasonable shot at a national championship.
Michigan’s men’s team just bumped up to No. 2 in the AP poll. The Wolverines have established themselves as the team to beat in the Big Ten with an 18-1 overall record and a 13-1 in-conference mark. The Michigan women are No. 12 in the nation with a 13-3 overall record and will compete with Maryland and Indiana down the stretch for the Big Ten championship.
The story for Gonzaga’s men’s squad is short and sweet — the Zags are No. 1 in the country, the only undefeated team left and one of the clear favorites to make it to the Final Four this season. The Bulldogs’ women are also favorites to win the WCC, have been consistently ranked throughout the season (currently No. 18), are 23-3 overall and, according to Katz, could make a run in the NCAA women’s tournament.