ESPN’s unveiling of the field for the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament came two hours earlier than expected Monday.
An online mixup resulted in the bracket being mistakenly published on ESPNU during an afternoon replay of a show from Sunday night analyzing the men’s tournament.
Astute viewers were able to piece together the entire women’s field as eight-team sections of the regionals rotated along the right side of the screen.
As a result, ESPN quickly issued a statement and began releasing the women’s field in a special ESPN2 broadcast at 5 p.m. ET — two hours earlier than its regularly scheduled show on ESPN:
“In working with the NCAA to prepare for tonight’s Women’s Selection Special we received the bracket, similar to years past. In the midst of our preparation, the bracket was mistakenly posted on ESPNU.
“We deeply regret the error and extend our apology to the NCAA and the women’s basketball community. We will conduct a thorough review of our process to ensure it doesn’t happen in the future.”
So now the whole world knows the four No. 1 seeds in this year’s NCAA Women’s field are Baylor, Mississippi State, Louisville and Notre Dame.