Women’s March Madness predictions and Final Four picks

The 2023 NCAA Women’s Tournament draw is complete, the game schedule is set, and the champion will be selected in the Final Four in Dallas in just a few weeks.

The undefeated and defending champion South Carolina Gamecocks won a 38-game streak in March Madness. Sportzshala’s analysis gives the Gamecocks a 46.4% chance of winning the title.

The UConn Huskies, who lost to the Gamecocks in the NCAA title game a year ago and finished second on the other side of the grid this season, have the next best odds at 11.2%. The top-seeded Stanford Cardinal and Indiana Hoosiers each scored 7.1%, while their counterparts the Virginia Tech Hokies came in second with 5.3%.

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We have already broken out a field of 68 teams by region. We named the best players in the bracket. Now Sportzshala’s Charlie Creme, Alexa Filippou and M.A. Vopel are assessing the true contenders for the championship, whether anyone stands a chance of dethroning South Carolina, and are joining a handful of Sportzshala analysts in making predictions for the Final Four and the championship.

If South Carolina doesn’t win their second title in a row, which team will lift the championship trophy?

Wowple: South Carolina ranked the Tennessee Lady Volunteers as the best program in what is still a very difficult SEC, even in a bad year for the entire conference. For anyone who isn’t a UConn fan, huskies are the Michael Myers of women’s hoops: impossible to get rid of as they keep popping up in an endless series of sequels. Stanford is a corporate law firm for college sports.

I don’t think anyone will stop Gamecocks from repeating itself; they have too many good players, they play well together and coach Dawn Staley did a great job of getting them to focus on the task at hand.

But if anyone is going to knock them down, it could be Stanford in the national semi-finals or UCLA in the national championship game. This is simply based on the fact that the two teams played the Gamecocks as closely as they did in the regular season, with the Cardinals losing five in overtime in November and the Huskies four in February. We can’t be sure if Stanford or UCLA will make it to the Final Four. this is especially true of the Cardinal. But if they do, Cardinal and the Huskies, at least from experience, know what it takes to defeat the Gamecocks if they face each other again.

Philip: After South Carolina, I think it’s between Indiana and UCLA. Despite losing two of their last three games, the Hoosiers have been the most consistent team outside of Columbia, strong on both ends of the floor and have managed to show both star power in Mackenzie Holmes and incredible balance with Grace Berger and Sidney Parrish. , Yarden Garson, Sarah Scalia and Chloe Moore-McNeil. While some point to Indiana’s lack of depth as a drawback, I don’t see it as a major deciding factor given everything else the Hoosiers have. (And I’ll talk about the husky a little later.)

Cream: Picking #2 overall to have the best chance of knocking down #1 isn’t particularly resourceful, but I strongly believe Indiana has a better chance of beating South Carolina. It will take a proper night and the Gamecocks won’t be playing at their best, but if it does, Indiana has enough arsenal to go the distance. The Hoosiers move and shoot well and have the balance and experience to at least attack South Carolina if they meet in a championship game.

Which #1 seed will lose first?

Cream: While I enjoy playing in front of Stanford in the first three rounds of the Seattle 4 Regional, I have some concerns about the Cardinal. They had enough moments or even full games of bad offense – see: 47 points against USC or five points in the first quarter against Colorado – to wonder if Stanford could combine four good performances to reach the Final Four. If Cardinal makes it to the Elite Eight, can he beat the second-placed Iowa Hawkeyes?

Philip: The Cardinal obviously gained experience in March and could turn things around in the coming weeks, but the way they’ve finished the regular season and their recent offensive problems is worrying. And although I don’t think it is likelyThe fact that Virginia Tech hasn’t played in the late rounds of the NCAA Tournament in almost 25 years makes me wonder if there are times when the Hokies have a day off and the pressure catches up with them. They don’t have the easiest path either, with potential matches against the South Dakota State Jackrabbits or the USC Trojans and probably either the Tennessee or the Iowa State Cyclones.

Wowple: As Alexa mentioned, Virginia Tech is by far the least experienced No. 1 seeding program when it comes to NCAA long tournaments, with South Carolina and Stanford winning the last two titles, and Indiana making the Elite Eight two years ago. Based on this, Hokies seem to be the most vulnerable. But they have also won 11 games in a row and are playing very confidently.

Name a team that is significantly underrated.

Cream: While I’m picking UConn to pull out of Seattle 3, the Ohio State Buckeyes might be the team to ruin the party. The No. 3 seed started the season 19-0 mostly without Jaycee Sheldon. Now she’s back, and their younger players, notably freshman Coty McMahon, have proven they can handle a challenge in the Big Ten. Ohio State’s pressing style can get any team into trouble, especially if you haven’t seen it. The Louisville Cardinals fought it hard earlier this season, and the LSU Tigers withered under pressure from Ohio State in the second round last year.

Philip: Ohio State is a dangerous trio for all the reasons Charlie mentioned, but I can’t believe the Buckeyes’ potential second-round matchup will be against 6 seeded Resin North Carolina heels. This should not have happened at the beginning of the tournament!

Wowple: I wouldn’t say that the #5 seed in Iowa was severely undersown. However, in the women’s bracket, the difference between the 4th and 5th seed is huge, because the top four in each region get the right to host. The selection committee had apparently made the decision to enter the top 16 even before the Big 12 title game was played on Sunday. The committee did not seem to take into account that the Cyclones had beaten the Texas Longhorns, as well as other NCAA tournament teams, the Baylor Bears in the quarter-finals and the Oklahoma Sooners in the semi-finals, by double figures.

If there’s been any consistent inconsistency with the committee all these years, it’s that they’ve largely contradicted themselves about how important conference tournaments are. They even do it in the same part of the bracket, pointing to one team’s conference tournament success as important, but essentially ignoring the other team’s success.

What other team, aside from the No. 1 seed, is most likely to win all of this?

Philip: U Conn. The Huskies had a tough season, but it only made them more united than ever to achieve the common goal of winning the championship. They’ve turned the tables after a disappointing February and are making the most of Dorky Juhas and Alia Edwards, and strong performance since the post hasn’t necessarily been a strong point in the last few tournaments. With a background in stressful situations and the possible superiority of Azzy Fadd, I choose UConn as an alternative. The 1st seed, who has the best chance of winning it all – and, in fact, the second favorite to cut nets.

Wowple: A program that holds 11 NCAA titles and has made it to the Final Four every year since 2008 will still pose a threat to victory unless something drastically changes. But since Charlie and Alex have been covered by UConn, let’s look at Iowa.

The Hawkeyes can be a formidable offensive force like few teams we’ll ever see in a tournament. And while they’re the best defensive team this season in terms of getting stops when they really need them, it’s still important for them to score. Can their crime lead them to the title? It will be hard; UConn still seems like the most likely of the #2 seeds to win. But if Hawkeyes succeeds, it will be a truly exciting basketball brand.

Are we counting other seeds #2? The Maryland Terrapins are a past national champion, but it’s 17 years in the rearview. Interestingly enough, the year the Turps won it all – 2006 – they beat the other No. 2 seed that year, the Utah Youts, in the Elite Eight. Maryland and Utah could be Elite 8 teams this year, but it’s unlikely they’ll make it to Dallas.

Cream: We still don’t know exactly what UConn will look like after Fudd’s full return. She returned to the roster at the Big East tournament but didn’t achieve much. Perhaps this was not the best indicator, given the time. If this is anything like the version of the Huskies who beat Texas, NC State Wolfpack, Duke Blue Devils and Iowa back-to-back in November, UConn is a Final Four team. Without Fudd, the Huskies remained competitive with South Carolina in February, so this is another team that could possibly turn heavy favorites around.

Final Four selection

Andrea Adelson: South Carolina (Champion), LSU, UConn, Iowa

Charlie Cream: South Carolina (Champion), Indiana, UConn, Iowa

Drive Allison: South Carolina (Champion), Indiana, Virginia Tech, Iowa

Kelly Gramlich: South Carolina (Champion), Indiana, Virginia Tech, Iowa

Doug Kezirian: South Carolina (Champion), Indiana, Virginia Tech, Iowa

Kevin Pelton: South Carolina (Champion), Indiana, UConn, Iowa

Alex Philippe: South Carolina (Champion), Indiana, UConn, Iowa

Roy Philpott: South Carolina (Champion), Utah, Virginia Tech, Iowa

Steffi Sorensen: South Carolina (Champion), Indiana, UConn, Iowa

Christy Thomascutti: South Carolina (Champion), Indiana University of California, Stanford

M. A. Vopel: South Carolina (Champion), Indiana, UConn, Iowa

Stephanie White: South Carolina (champion), Indiana, Virginia…


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