The Stockton Region is the most interesting section of women’s March Madness, to me, because it’s the one that has the least fanfare surrounding it. South Carolina is perhaps the least heralded of the one seeds (that is not to say that they’re the worst of the top seeds, just that they receive less coverage than the others), and that trickles down into the rest of the bracket.
Speaking anecdotally, this is the bracket that feels wide open. South Carolina is clearly the best team in this region, but they’re also vulnerable; they lost to their Stockton region 6th seed, Missouri, who I have as the team most likely to get upset in the first round (more on that later).
Here are my predictions for the Stockton Region [winners in bold]:
ROUND OF 64
South Carolina/UNC Ashville
Michigan State/ Arizona State
Florida State/Western Illinois
Oregon State/Long Beach State
ROUND OF 32
South Carolina/Arizona State
Florida State/South Florida
Oregon State/Florida State
South Carolina/Florida State
The reason I’ve picked Missouri to lose to South Florida isn’t earth-shattering; I just don’t think there is that much separating them. I’m probably wrong, and I don’t really have any evidence to support it. Just a gut feeling, and when filling out these brackets, that’s really as good as anything else.
I’m confident that South Carolina will win their region. I almost picked Miami to upset them, again on a gut feeling, but South Carolina is too good to get tripped up like that, or at least should be. I don’t think that South Carolina will be able to make it to the championship game, as I believe that they’ll have a tough time getting past Notre Dame, should both make it to the Elite Eight.
This is a wide open region, and if South Carolina were to lose in this region, or that all the lower seeds one, or something of that kind, it wouldn’t be a gigantic surprise. This region could have some real chaos, and it go completely chalk. We’ll just have to find out.