The number-one seeded Baylor Bears got the luck of the draw, only having to drive a short distance from Waco, Texas to Oklahoma City, giving them somewhat of a home-court advantage.
However, this isn’t an ordinary regional. And Baylor can’t even be considered the odds-on favorite to win it all here. The selection committee threw in some surprises (Cal, Montana State and Texas Southern), as well as some top-caliber competition (Mississippi State, Louisville and Washington).
Let’s break it down by who I think is going to win each matchup, then we’ll breakdown the Elite Eight game.
Round of 64:
#1 Baylor/#16 Texas Southern
#2 Mississippi State/#15 Troy
#3 Washington/#14 Montana State
#4 Louisville/#13 Chattanooga (possible upset)
#5 Tennessee/#12 Dayton
#6 Oklahoma/#11 Gonzaga
#7 DePaul/#10 Northern Iowa
#8 LSU/#9 California
Round of 32:
#1 Baylor/#8 LSU
#7 DePaul/#2 Mississippi State
#11 Gonzaga/#3 Washington
#4 Dayton/#4 Louisville
#1 Baylor/#4 Louisville
#3 Washington/#2 Mississippi State
UPSET ALERT: #1 Baylor/#3 Washington
Don’t get me wrong: I know that Baylor is the second-highest scoring team in the NCAA, and they also led the NCAA in three-point shooting (40.6 percent) and rebounding margin (20.9). They also have Kim Mulkey, who is coaching her 16th NCAA Tournament.
However, Baylor hasn’t faced competition like the team they are going to face in Washington. The Huskies not only were sixth in the nation in scoring (84.8 ppg), eighth in field goal percentage and tenth in three-point shooting, but they also boast one of the most dangerous duos in the nation: Kelsey Plum and Chantel Osahor.
Plum, the NCAA’s all-time scoring leader and espnW National Player of the Year, averaged 31.7 points per game, shot 53.3 percent from the field, and also made 105 three-pointers (no Baylor player made more than 56). Osahor led the nation in rebounding with 15.3 a game (Baylor’s leading rebounder, Kalani Brown, averaged 8.2).
Washington also has a penchant for shooting threes, making 10.1 a game (fourth in the nation) while also averaging 42 rebounds a game, 10 more than Baylor normally averages. So while Baylor may be the more well-rounded team, Washington has the shooters and rebounding to offset anything Baylor has to bring, which is why I believe they will pull off the upset and make their way to a second consecutive Final Four.