NCAAW March Madness Tournament: Re-ranking the Sweet Sixteen

Matchup trouble will differ for each group in each staying round, however, eventually, they all need to win 4 more video games to achieve their objective. So overlooking trouble of course, I ranked the 16 staying NCAAW Tournament groups based upon who has the very best opportunity of beating any of the other 15 today. Here’s my list:

Miami truly started when it beat North Carolina and Virginia Tech in back-to-back video games on Jan. 5 and Jan. 8. But when you take a look at the remainder of the Hurricanes’ wins, losses and close calls, it’s not an extremely remarkable resume, which is why they are a No. 9 seed. Haley Cavinder blazes a trail with 12.6 points per video game on 41 percent shooting from downtown, while second-round hero Destiny Harden includes 12.1 points per video game. Miami is an ACC group and has actually shown a lot by beating Indiana, however it’s difficult to see the Hurricanes going all the method. At least they deal with a Big East group in Villanova in the Sweet Sixteen, and a non-Power 5 school is constantly susceptible.

No single star has actually stuck out for Ole Miss in the competition, and throughout the season there hasn’t truly been one either. It’s been the duo of Angel Baker and Madison Scott blazing a trail. They are a great star tandem with a great deal of skill, and keep in mind, this group originates from the SEC and took South Carolina to overtime. But the Rebels likewise lost to Auburn (5-11 SEC) in OT.

I chose Ole Miss to the Sweet Sixteen, however I don’t see them surpassing Louisville. The Cards are too excellent come competition time, have more skill and will be identified to not let the chance of preventing Stanford escape.

I’m worried about the Pac-12. It appears that every group because conference dealt with a minimum of one fight versus among the weaker groups in the conference. Colorado had video games where it just beat Washington (7-11 Pac-12) by 8, Cal (4-14 Pac-12) by 7, Arizona State (1-17 Pac-12) by 8 and Oregon State (4-14 Pac-12) by 8.

The Buffaloes did nevertheless show a great deal of individuals incorrect with their first-round blowout of Middle Tennessee. The Blue Raiders were a popular upset choice. Colorado then upset No. 3 seed Duke on the Blue Devils’ house flooring.

Quay Miller, Jaylyn Sherrod, Aaronette Vonleh and Frida Formann will all need to step up if the Buffaloes are to surpass Iowa.

I don’t believe Notre Dame is a championship game competitor without Olivia Miles and Dara Mabrey. I did select the Irish to the Sweet Sixteen though and believe they can provide Maryland an excellent video game. Sonia Citron and Maddy Westbeld are both stars and Lauren Ebo stepped up in a huge method with 18 rebounds in the group’s second-round win over Mississippi State. This is still a great group.

Notre Dame took Maryland to the buzzer prior to losing when it had Miles and Mabrey and frequented South Bend. Its Sweet Sixteen match with the Terps will be at a neutral website. Expect the Irish to play their hearts out as they choose the upset.

Let’s speak about Lucy Olsen for a 2nd. She has actually enhanced even a sophomore and is now the Robin to Maddy Siegrist’s Batman. She finished the job in the 2nd round with a near-triple-double of 23 points, 10 rebounds and 7 helps, assisting the Wildcats prevent an upset loss to popular Cinderella select FGCU. I believe that if Olsen is at her finest, then this group is a legitimate No. 4 seed, although it came out of the Big East. It will be intriguing to see how far it can go and what a terrific story it would be for the Big East if it made the Final Four.

Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

UCLA just beat Washington (7-11 Pac-12) by 4 and 8 and just beat Oregon State (4-14 Pac-12) by 8 on Feb. 10. It likewise lost to Oregon State by 5, however that lacked Charisma Osborne.

The Bruins likewise almost blew their lead versus Oklahoma in the 2nd round. They’re likewise 203rd in the nation with a 3-point shooting portion of 30.4. Osborne and Kiki Rice are fantastic gamers, however I simply don’t trust them shooting the 3. I do believe UCLA has the minor edge over Villanova however, due to the fact that it originates from a Power 5 conference.

I like Utah’s offense (4th in the country in ranking) with Alissa Pili (21 points per video game) blazing a trail. You’ve likewise got Gianna Kneepkens shooting 42 percent from beyond the arc with 68 makes. Pretty remarkable.

But Utah just beat Arizona State (1-17 Pac-12) by 5, albeit without Pili. With Pili, they just beat Oregon State (4-14 Pac-12) by 2 and just beat Washington (7-11 Pac-12) by 8. The Utes likewise hardly beat No. 10 seed Princeton in the 2nd round. I believe they are the weakest No. 2 seed.

I believe Louisville is the kind of group that won’t fold under pressure, though they did have a frustrating routine season that saw them fall from preseason No. 7 to a No. 5 seed. Jeff Walz is amazing in March, having actually led the Cards to the last 4 Elite Eights. Why should this year be any various even if the group had some drawbacks in the routine season?

You understand Hailey Van Lith is identified to show the world incorrect, as she did in 2015 by leading the Cards to the Final Four as a disrespected No. 1 seed.

I like Louisville surpassing Ole Miss and into the Elite Eight, however don’t believe it is as excellent a group as Iowa, the group it will possibly confront with a journey to Dallas on the line.

Tennessee was No. 5 in the preseason. Granted, that was with Tamari Key, however the Lady Vols still have the two-headed beast of Rickea Jackson and Jordan Horston.

Tennessee gets bumped up on this list due to the fact that of the method it has actually controlled up until now with 45- and 47-point wins. It had difficulty handling pressure early in the season, however is striking its stride in the NCAA Tournament and has the skill to distress VA Tech in the Sweet Sixteen.

Winning a blowout or blowouts doesn’t constantly equate to the next round though. Just ask Texas, which won by 39 in the preliminary, then lost by 22 in the 2nd round to a group that had actually won by simply 2 in the preliminary. Or ask the 2020-21 Maryland Terrapins, who won by 53 and 36 in the very first 2 rounds prior to losing by 3 in the Sweet Sixteen to a group seeded 4 lines lower.

This is among a couple of questionable positionings on this list. I’m a huge Hokies fan, in part due to the fact that I got to cover Taylor Soule at Boston College in 2015 and understand how difficult she works, however I’m cautious about taking them all the method.

On paper, this group is packed, though they themselves show that it isn’t everything about what’s on paper by preferring chemistry over playing Ashley Owusu. Without Owusu, you still have Elizabeth Kitley and Georgia Amoore playing like among the very best star tandems in the nation. So the skill exists, and, as I’ve discussed prior to on Swish Appeal, I think about VA Tech a feel-good story due to the fact that of the method their skill has actually conquered absence of experience as the leading canine.

Yet, here I am stating that in the competition you need to re-prove yourself. VA Tech is the newcomer, and in some cases that group can win everything. The 2008 Boston Celtics are a fine example: a group of gamers that weren’t utilized to winning everything came together and won everything on their very first shot. But I’m simply going to beware here.

NCAA Basketball: ACC Basketball Tipoff

Kenny Brooks (left), Georgia Amoore (center) and Elizabeth Kitley won’t be pleased with anything however a championship game.
Jim Dedmon-U.S.A. TODAY Sports

I would put the Buckeyes greater, however their early-game scare versus No. 14 seed James Madison and late-game scare versus No. 6 seed North Carolina need to be considered.

With Jacy Sheldon back to being the very best gamer on the group, there is factor to think Ohio State can return to being the group that was No. 2 in the country for a big portion of the season. That’s right, No. 2. As in, behind just South Carolina. The Buckeyes definitely don’t forget being No. 2 and are definitely not going to be pleased with a Sweet Sixteen exit.

With the varying skillsets of Sheldon, Cotie McMahon and Taylor Thierry, plus Taylor Mikesell’s scoring capability, I’m extremely high up on Ohio State. I believe it can provide UConn issues in the Sweet Sixteen.

So far so helpful for the Terps. They won their first-round video game by more than the last margin of 32 suggests. Iowa might have the most significant blowout of the competition so far (52 points over SE Louisiana), however Maryland left the very best begin of any group in the competition with what it did to Holy Cross in the very first quarter.

In the 2nd round, Maryland once again won by more than the last margin (this time 13) suggests. It’s a little worrying that the Terps let Arizona sneak back and almost make trash time no longer trash time, however in the end, it showed to be trash time. We need to praise Maryland for that incredible 3rd quarter and not get too worried.

Arizona is a harmful group that went to the championship game video game as a No. 3 seed in 2021. Adia Barnes has the March training gene and it’s not unexpected that her group challenged Maryland. The Terps need to take pride in beating the Wildcats and the rest of the field need to look out for Maryland due to the fact that of what it achieved in the very first 2 rounds.

I was a little anxious that Iowa would have a hard time to surpass the satanic force of losing in the 2nd round as a No. 2 seed in 2015 and the Hawkeyes did certainly battle to put away No. 10 seed Georgia in this year’s 2nd round. However, now that they are back in the Sweet Sixteen, I believe a few of the pressure is off.

Iowa can win the championship game due to the fact that of Caitlin Clark’s particular success. She’s like Diana Taurasi with the method she is unapologetic about shooting from anywhere, and most likely than not, she’s going to make you pay by doing that and not trigger Iowa to suffer. Sometimes when I view Iowa, I question how they might ever lose. When Clark’s passing to Monika Czinano is on point, it’s so simple for the Hawkeyes to score. Czinano produces the ideal positioning, gets an incredible pass from Clark that’s like a baseball fastball and doesn’t even need to dribble prior to putting it in.

Plus, Gabbie Marshall has actually run out her mind from beyond the arc recently, going 5-of-8 versus Georgia most just recently. She’ll wish to continue breaking groups’ backs after they use up all their energy stopping Clark and Czinano.

I’ll leave Iowa behind UConn and LSU, however just due to the fact that those 2 groups have actually won both their video games easily, while the Hawkeyes sustained a scare versus a No. 10 seed. With the super star power of the very best gamer in the competition, Iowa need to truly be No. 2.

I believe the winner of the UConn/Ohio State Sweet Sixteen video game might extremely well win the championship game. The Huskies have the pressure of being UConn and keeping their 14-tournament Final Four streak going, however if they can conquer that pressure, they can go all the method.

Azzi Fudd appeared like Azzi Fudd once again with 22 points in the 2nd round, and the Huskies have actually shown to be packed with skill like UConn groups of old; they’re not almost one super star, which was sort of the case in Paige Bueckers’ freshman and sophomore seasons (2020-21 and 2021-22, respectively).

As I’ve discussed in the past, there’s absolutely nothing not to like about Lou Lopez Sénéchal’s offending video game, and after that there’s Aaliyah Edwards, who has actually been blazing a trail with Fudd out/working to return in a groove; Edwards was the highest-ranked UConn gamer in ESPN’s Sweet Sixteen gamer rankings (No. 5 total). Dorka Juhász’s numbers are up from in 2015 and now more comparable to the star numbers she set up at Ohio State. Nika Mühl is an unbelievable supplier, and Aubrey Griffin and Caroline Ducharme are excellent gamers who complete UConn’s rotation.

A February loaded with close calls to some quite weak Big East groups remains in the rearview mirror for UConn. So far in March, the Huskies have actually controlled the Big East Tournament, won in the preliminary of the Big Dance by 43 and beat an excellent Baylor group by 19 to advance to the Sweet Sixteen.

This is a questionable choice for No. 2 due to the fact that of the Tigers’ weak regular-season schedule. Can they truly make it through 4 more video games versus basically the brand-new Top 16 groups in the nation?

Me putting LSU here partially talks to how extremely I think about Michigan. The Wolverines were within single digits of Indiana, Iowa, Maryland and Ohio State two times. They were the 5th wheel in a competitive Big Ten, however had the skill on paper to beat any of those other 4 groups and the majority of groups in the nation on an excellent day with Leigha Brown, Emily Kiser and Laila Phelia blazing a trail. Well, LSU beat Michigan by 24 in the 2nd round.

But even prior to they beat Michigan, I chose the Tigers to the Final Four in among my brackets. Angel Reese never ever developed into the “big guard” or wing she was supposed to be coming out of high school, however she has actually ended up being a remarkably excellent inside scorer, particularly for somebody who isn’t constantly the highest post gamer on the flooring at 6-foot-3. She’s able to demolish points and rebounds like Pac-Man.

Plus, LSU has numerous gamers who can take control of a video game and put the group on their back, with Alexis Morris being the other. We saw Morris do it on Jan. 30 versus Tennessee. SEC Freshman of the Year Flau’jae Johnson is a terrific third-best gamer and the rest of LSU’s lineup is strong too.

Like Stanford, LSU has some worrying close calls on its resume and it blew a huge lead versus Tennessee in the SEC Tournament. But I believe the Tigers are striking their stride in the NCAA Tournament, and when Reese and Morris are at their finest, there might not be a much better group in the nation.

NCAA Womens Basketball: NCAA Tournament Second Rounds-Michigan vs LSU

Angel Reese
Stephen Lew-U.S.A. TODAY Sports

I’m a huge follower that South Carolina will not have the ability to repeat. The pressure is simply excessive. We’ve currently seen the other 2 groups with the most press to prosper fall and I believe a group will occur that’s able to outshoot the Gamecocks from 3. (Indiana was the No. 2 total seed and I put Stanford ahead of Virginia Tech in regards to pressure due to the fact that it is a storied program and VA Tech was not anticipated to be a No. 1 seed).

With that being stated, we need to provide the Gamecocks the advantage of the doubt. They are the unbeaten protecting nationwide champs and won by 30-plus in both the very first and 2nd rounds. South Florida provided a first-half scare, however they had gamers step up and do the little things to turn that video game into a blowout.

Here’s how ESPN re-seeded the Sweet Sixteen groups.

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