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March Insanity: Unbeaten South Carolina seeks to defend title

March Madness is here!Here is what to know about the women’s NCAA Tournament, including the favorites and underdogs as well as key games and how to watch: Top seedsThe top four seeds in the tournament are South Carolina, Indiana, Virginia Tech and Stanford. Each is in a region, some tougher than others (on paper).We break them

March Insanity: Unbeaten South Carolina seeks to defend title

March Insanity is right here!

Here’s what to know concerning the ladies’s NCAA Event, together with the favorites and underdogs in addition to key video games and watch: 

Prime seeds

The highest 4 seeds within the match are South Carolina, Indiana, Virginia Tech and Stanford. Every is in a area, some more durable than others (on paper).

We break them down for you:

South Carolina (32-0): The defending nationwide champions are the No. 1 total seed and the Greenville I Area breaks down favorably. It consists of two groups in No. 2 seed Maryland (25-6) and No. 4 seed UCLA (23-9) who the Gamecocks beat earlier this season. South Carolina is loaded, with two-time Southeastern Convention participant of the yr Aliyah Boston and main scorer Zia Cooke.

Indiana (27-3): After a loss to Ohio State within the Large Ten Event semis, some puzzled if the Hoosiers would possibly miss out on a high seed. They landed it within the Greenville II Area and begin towards both Tennessee Tech or Monmouth. Mackenzie Holmes leads Indiana with 22.3 factors and seven.3 rebounds per sport. Prime challengers embody No. 2 seed Utah, No. 3 seed LSU and No. 4 seed Villanova, which is led by scoring sensation Maddy Siegrist.

Virginia Tech (27-5): The Hokies gained their first ACC Event championship and can lead the Seattle 3 Area. Elizabeth Kitley has stepped issues up down the stretch as Virginia Tech gained its last eight video games. Virginia Tech may should navigate No. 4 seed Tennessee within the Candy 16 and No. 2 seed UConn or No. 3 seed Ohio State after that.

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Stanford (28-5): The committee regarded to Stanford’s steadiness for a lot of the season in giving it the highest seed within the Seattle 4 Area. The Cardinal are led by Cameron Brink and Haley Jones, who’ve mixed to attain greater than 28 factors per sport this season. Search for a possible high-wattage battle for the Ultimate 4 towards No. 2 seed Iowa, led by nationwide participant of the yr candidate Caitlin Clark.

Video games to look at

No. 3 seed Notre Dame (25-5) vs. No. 14 seed Southern Utah (23-6), Friday. The Preventing Irish’s possibilities for a deep run will definitely be affected by the harm to Olivia Miles, who will miss the match.

Monmouth (18-13) vs. Tennessee Tech (22-9), Thursday, ESPNU. Monmouth, surprise winners of the Colonial Athletic Association Tournament, haven’t performed within the NCAA tourney since 1983 and get the possibility to increase its keep in a First 4 contest Wednesday. Both the Hawks or the Ohio Valley Convention Event champions in Tennessee Tech, each 16 seeds, should tackle top-seed Indiana on Friday.

No. 5 seed Louisville (23-11) vs. No. 12 seed Drake (22-9), Saturday. The Cardinals had been a Ultimate 4 staff a season in the past and begin their journey again as a No. 5 seed. They’ll open issues towards Drake (22-9), which was seeded fourth within the Missouri Valley Convention Event but defeated Belmont to take the league’s automated bid. Louisville is led by Hailey Van Lith, who’s averaged 19.2 factors a sport this season.

No. 4 seed Villanova (28-6) vs. No. 13 seed Cleveland State (30-4), Saturday. Villanova options one of many nation’s finest gamers in Maddy Siegrist, a two-time Big East player of year. The Wildcats are in a stacked area with high seed Indiana, No. 2 seed Utah and No. 3 seed LSU in entrance of them. Cleveland State gained the Horizon League and made the NCAAs for the primary time since 2010.

Gamers to look at

The ladies’s match discipline is crammed with stars, together with South Carolina’s Aliyah Boston, final season’s AP participant of the yr who’s again in hopes of successful a second straight nationwide title. She may have loads of competitors for the glory this yr, together with sharp-shooting Iowa star Caitlin Clark.

There may be additionally center Mackenzie Holmes of top-seeded Indiana and the AP All-America team can be an excellent place to take a look at a few of the high gamers within the sport. The Cavinder twins, fitness center rats who’re wildly standard on social media, have made their first match after transferring from Fresno State to Miami.

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The sphere can be outstanding for the high number of international players, a rising pattern in ladies’s basketball. Alas, a few of the high applications are additionally coping with injuries to key players.

Go deeper

Gun violence has cost lives and disrupted college sports all season, touching a few of the high applications in faculty basketball. Coaches have been thrust into unsure and unwelcome roles in making an attempt to navigate the subject — in addition to the fallout from the Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe vs. Wade.

Learn how to watch

Each sport of the ladies’s match shall be out there on ESPN’s networks or streaming, with followers inspired to navigate to the “Watch” tab on ESPN’s websites. The NCAA may have a women’s basketball specific March Madness app by AT&T.

There are a number of websites itemizing sport instances and different particulars, including the NCAA site.

BETTING GUIDE Who’s going to win the nationwide championship? The betting favorites as of this week to succeed in the Ultimate 4 are (so as): South Carolina, Indiana, Stanford, UConn, LSU and Iowa, according to FanDuel Sportsbook. The Gamecocks are a heavy favourite to turn out to be the primary repeat champion within the ladies’s match since UConn won the last of four straight in 2016.

MARCH MADNESS CALENDAR Selection Sunday set the brackets for First 4 video games (March 15-16) and first- and second-round video games (March 17-20) at a number of websites throughout the nation.

Candy 16 weekend brings a twist this yr for the ladies’s groups: There shall be two regional websites as a substitute of 4, with Greenville, South Carolina, and Seattle every internet hosting eight groups.

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The place is the ladies’s Ultimate 4? In Dallas, the place the semifinals are March 31 and the championship sport is April 2. Because it occurs, the boys’s Ultimate 4 is a four-hour drive down the highway in Houston that very same weekend.

Reporting by The Related Press.

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