The No. 1 seeds within the NCAA girls’s basketball event have the very best roads and possibilities at a Final Four look. But there are groups beneath them that would nonetheless make it to Dallas.
That group is led by Iowa and UConn, two No. 2 seeds that had been in competition for the top-seed line. Committee chair Lisa Peterson mentioned the 12-person group leaned towards Stanford for the ultimate No. 1 seed partially for its 20-5 file towards groups ranked within the NET prime 100. Iowa is 18-5 within the class and UConn is 19-5. That’s how shut these prime groups are and the way aggressive March Madness can be.
One notable workforce that isn’t on this listing is Maryland. The Terps are a No. 2 seed, however pulled the area with South Carolina.
Iowa (Seattle 4 | 2 seed)
26-6, 18-3 Big Ten | NET 6 | vs. NET prime 25: 6-4 | SOS: 12
Caitlin Clark is on a mission and he or she’s bringing the roaring Hawkeyes followers along with her. Clark, whose emotion and fixed name for fan noise has risen in March, is once more averaging 27 factors per recreation (second in Division I) and leads the nation for a second 12 months with 8.3 assists. The triple-double menace is main an Iowa offense with the manufacturing to upend anybody at a Division I-best 87.5 factors per recreation.
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The questions round Iowa stay if the guards flanking her can hit their open pictures — which didn’t occur in that blowout loss to Maryland, however did within the Big Ten title recreation — and if the workforce can play ok protection. They permit on common 71.3 factors a recreation, practically useless final within the nation. Iowa can be motivated after falling out of the 2022 event early by Creighton, a foul matchup for his or her protection.
The Hawkeyes might run into Duke, the nation’s greatest defensive workforce, however the Blue Devils have struggled offensively heading into the event. Their final three video games are their lowest-scoring video games of the season, averaging 41 factors over that span. On the highest of their bracket are two extra robust defensive groups in No. 4 Texas and No. 5 Louisville.
If it’s a chalk area and Iowa runs into Stanford within the regional closing, the Hawkeyes’ offense is much stronger and runs at a better tempo. The Cardinal don’t have the steal numbers or fee that usually results in wins in tight video games, although their blocks (7 bpg) might trigger issues for Clark going into the paint. Stanford’s points via the season have come offensively and that may’t occur towards the inevitable factors to be scored by Clark.
UConn (Seattle 3 | 2 seed)
28-5, 20-2 Big East | NET 2 | vs. NET prime 25: 10-3 | SOS: 2
The 14-year streak of Final Fours is in jeopardy, however on the similar time, that is UConn. It’s powerful to select towards the Huskies after they’ve proven for greater than a decade that they’ll make the deep run. And it’s even more durable to maintain them out of the Final Four contemplating they had been capable of do it final season after being with out Paige Bueckers for a lot of the season and lacking key scoring items.
Big East coaches who confronted UConn within the convention event mentioned it was the “UConn of March” they’re used to seeing. Head coach Geno Auriemma, who put his workforce’s effort and apply deal with blast the week prior, mentioned the month has introduced a “different vibe in our team.”
“I feel what was different today was that it’s March and it’s not any other month in the year,” UConn level guard Nika Mühl mentioned after the Big East semifinal win over Marquette, which upset UConn within the common season. “We’re a different team in March. We highly believe it.”
The greatest cause to place the Huskies within the closing weekend is Azzi Fudd, the standout scorer who returned from a knee harm to play within the convention event. She fueled the Huskies’ early non-conference wins and dropped 32 factors in back-to-back video games towards Texas and NC State. Without her normal manufacturing, the Huskies are in deep trouble.
The very first thing working towards UConn within the bracket is the rarity of taking part in regional closing video games exterior of their yard. No. 3 Ohio State, which UConn would meet within the Sweet 16, is ranked eighth in factors per recreation (80.8), scoring 5 extra on common than UConn. The Huskies have the higher defensive numbers — the Big Ten is without doubt one of the highest-scoring conferences within the nation total — however Ohio State is ranked eighth in steals per recreation (11.4), swiping it practically double the instances of UConn. The Buckeyes compelled practically 20 per recreation.
Virginia Tech is the No. 1 seed in that area and got here on robust on the finish of the season. UConn holds the expertise benefit and has the load of what can be one other snapped streak on their backs.
It wouldn’t be March with out some shocking finishes and it appears all of the extra seemingly this season. Here are some we like:
No. 6-seeded Creighton vs. No. 11 Illinois/Mississippi State — It’s a tricky state of affairs for Illinois to need to get out of a First Four. This Fighting Illini workforce went 7-20 final season and 22-10 below first-year head coach Shauna Green with a web ranking motion of 20 factors to +10. Keep an eye fixed out for both of these groups to upset No. 3 Notre Dame within the second spherical if the Fighting Irish are with out level guard Olivia Miles.
No. 5 Washington State vs. No. 12 Florida Gulf Coast — FGCU has the expertise of being a event star and has the shooters to drag off an upset.
No. 6 Michigan vs. No. 11 UNLV — UNLV’s Desi-Rae Young is without doubt one of the greatest scorers within the nation. The groups line up practically an identical on paper with Michigan having an edge by taking part in in a harder convention.
No. 7 NC State vs. No. 10 Princeton — The Tigers are event regulars out of the Ivy, so the stage isn’t going to trouble them. NC State has been up and down after dropping a lot of its expertise to the WNBA and commencement.
No. 4 Tennessee vs. No. 13 Saint Louis — It’s removed from a stylish upset decide, however Saint Louis is led by an skilled NCAA coach in Rebecca Tillett. Tillett is a 12 months faraway from main Longwood to its first NCAA event win in program historical past and Saint Louis is on a scorching streak, upsetting the A-10 No. 1 seed for the convention title.
No. 12 Drake vs. No. 5 Louisville — Hailey Van Lith is Louisville’s key and on days she goes chilly there are issues. Drake might pull an upset if that turns into the case.
No. 6 Colorado vs. No. 11 Middle Tennessee — Middle Tennessee was ranked within the AP ballot this season and has higher offensive and defensive numbers than Colorado. If it’s shut, the Blue Raiders hit free throws at a 78.4% clip to Colorado’s 69% and earn extra of their factors past the arc.