College football writer
After an exciting regular season that was one of the most competitive ever in women’s college basketball, the NCAA Tournament is finally here and promises plenty of delicious matchups during the best month of the sports calendar.
There will be some changes to get used to with this year’s edition. For example, there will only be two regional spots, but the amount of depth at the top combined with the hot-shot nature of several mid-majors could end up making this one of the most unpredictable brackets ever.
With that in mind, here are some plays to think about when it comes to March Madness from the women’s side.
Let’s dive into it.
South Carolina: -145 to win it all
While parity is a much bigger factor during the regular season, it’s hard to go with anyone other than the Gamecocks to cut down the nets in Dallas and claim back-to-back national titles. Head coach Dawn Staley’s team enters the tournament a perfect 32-0 and has only played three close games all season. They have an extremely favorable road that includes the first two rounds at home, a regional in nearby Greenville and a trip to a very familiar Dallas where the program won it all in 2017.
It’s never fun (or that profitable) to bet on the overwhelming favorite, but there’s a reason this group has been head and shoulders above the rest of the competition in 2022-23 and looks unstoppable entering March Madness. There are some tricky potential matchups with No. 2 seed Maryland facing one of the top players in the country in Diamond Miller or an upsetting No. 4 seed in UCLA, but the tournament’s best overall team has the MVP candidate the Boston Aliyah Year. leading the way for a group that is as sure a bet as any to go wire-to-wire at #1.
The long shots to win it all
Indiana: +1000 to win it all
There was a lot of national attention on the Big Ten this year and rightly so with three programs in contention for a No. 1 seed. It was the Hoosiers who finally got one after winning their first regular season title in 40 years and fending off impressive competition within the league to do so. Head coach Teri Moren has built the program into one of the most consistent in the country, and they have an excellent backcourt with veteran guards Sydney Parrish and Grace Berger pairing with All-American forward Mackenzie Holmes .
The Hoosiers are coming off an unexpectedly early exit from the conference tournament last week, but the extra rest could end up being a positive factor for their first round games. They also have a fairly easy road to Dallas, with second-seeded Utah and three-seeded LSU proving to be the biggest obstacles in their way.
Maryland: +2500 to win it all
Like Indiana, Maryland was proven to contend in conference play and has a veteran team of big players. Diamond Miller should end up being a top-two pick in the WNBA draft when she leaves school, and is complemented by double-digit scoring Abby Meyers and Shyanne Sellers. They are active on defense and are not afraid of an upcoming matchup against South Carolina.
Meeting the Gamecocks in the Elite Eight is a tough tie, but if they escape Greenville with a win, the title is there for the taking.
Utah: +4000 to win it all
The Pac-12 has produced a number of championship threats over the years, and the best in the West may not be perennial power Stanford, but a Utah team that won a regular-season conference title and it climbed to #3 on the Top 25 at the same time. point. Alissa Pili was the Pac-12 Player of the Year for good reason, while sharpshooter Ginna Kneepkens is the national player of the year.
This team matches up well against the top seeds in their region and would benefit from avoiding South Carolina until the finals.
Bryan Fischer is a college football writer for FOX Sports. He has been covering college athletics for nearly two decades at outlets including NBC Sports, CBS Sports, Yahoo! Sports and NFL.com among others. Follow him on Twitter at @BryanDFischer.
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