• UConn has to deal with a tough region highlighted by defending champion South Carolina. That and other takeaways from the NCAA women's tournament bracket reveal.
By Joan Niesen
March 12, 2018

Now that the dust (and general angst and anger) has settled on the men’s selection show Sunday, it’s time for a new crop of debates. This time it’s over the women’s field, which was released Monday. Games tip off at noon on Friday.

1. Baylor, with just one loss on the year, fell to a No. 2 seed. The other No. 2 seeds had six (Texas and South Carolina) and four (Oregon) losses, making Baylor’s record stand out among its counterparts. That seeding doesn’t come as much of a surprise—at 32-2, Louisville, the No. 1 seed in the Bears’ regional, deserves the credit and respect it was given—but Baylor looks like a plenty strong candidate to come out of the Lexington regional, and its road to the Elite Eight actually looks a bit easier than Louisville’s. The Cardinals will likely get Stanford or a potentially underrated Missouri team in the Sweet Sixteen.

College Basketball
2018 Women’s NCAA Tournament: Printable March Madness Bracket

2. Despite suffering its first loss of the year in the SEC tournament, Mississippi State is still poised for a title run with a No. 1 seed. The Bulldogs lost the title game a year ago after snapping UConn’s 111-game winning streak in the Final Four, and they followed up their 34-5 2016-17 campaign with an undefeated regular season. That streak was snapped when they were defeated by South Carolina, but that doesn’t make what Mississippi State’s women have done this year any less remarkable—and the seed reflects that. This spring marks the first time the team has earned a No. 1 seed, and with both South Carolina and UConn on the opposite side of the bracket in the same region, the Bulldogs wouldn’t face either of their toughest opponents until the championship, should they make it.

3. UConn will likely face defending champion—and the only other team besides the Huskies to win a title since 2012—South Carolina in the Elite Eight. The Albany regional will likely be the most stacked of the bunch, and the fact that either South Carolina or UConn will be out heading into the Final Four is an interesting wrinkle—and allows for better odds that a new team might take home the title this year. Florida State, Georgia and Duke should also make that corner of the bracket more interesting heading into the regionals weekend.

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