clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

NCAAW Sweet Sixteen Preview (Day 1): Oregon-South Dakota State rematch headlines game slate that could be closer than advertised

New, 1 comment

The Albany and Portland regionals, led by one-seeds Louisville and Mississippi State, will determine their finalists in tonight’s Sweet Sixteen matchups.

South Dakota State’s Myah Selland dribbles past Oregon’s Erin Boley in the team’s Dec. 12, 2018 game. The Ducks won, 87-79.
Courtesy of South Dakota State Athletics via Twitter

In typical one-seed fashion, Louisville and Mississippi State appear to have the tools to continue cruising through the tournament as the first games of the Sweet Sixteen tip off tonight.

The two-seeds, however, seem to be the most vulnerable — which is interesting, considering they’re UConn and Oregon.

All four high seeds have been in the conversation as Final Four contenders since the season began, and they’re very much favored in these games. But between Oregon’s slim victory over South Dakota State earlier this season and UConn’s uncharacteristic second-half slump in their most recent game, teams in both of tonight’s matchups could have trouble against two very eager opponents.

With six of the teams in last season’s Elite Eight playing for a return trip tonight — and four facing each other — the competition couldn’t get any more intense. Can the newcomers shake things up, or will four of the most recent mainstays find their way back to the regional finals?


NCAAW Tournament — Sweet Sixteen

No. 2 UConn Huskies vs. No. 6 UCLA Bruins

When: Friday, March 29, at 7 p.m. ET

Where: Times Union Center, Albany, NY

How to watch: ESPN

Keys to the matchup: The Huskies have history on their side in this matchup, never having lost to the Bruins and not missing an Elite Eight since 2007. But after their second round games, it’s UCLA that’s on a roll, while UConn could use a little inspiration. The Bruins upset No. 3 Maryland to take their place in the Sweet Sixteen, right after eliminating tournament mainstay Tennessee in the first round. Meanwhile, although the Huskies got past No. 10 Buffalo in their last game, they languished late and allowed the very energetic Bulls to threaten instead of sealing the deal. If UConn doesn’t keep up pressure for the entire game, UCLA could do much more than threaten the Huskies’ early exit.

No. 1 Mississippi State Bulldogs vs. No. 5 Arizona State Sun Devils

When: Friday, March 29, at 9 p.m. ET

Where: Moda Center, Portland, OR

How to watch: ESPN2

Keys to the matchup: After beating two Florida schools in Florida to begin their tournament journey, Arizona State heads back west where a Pac-12-friendly crowd awaits. The funny thing is that although Mississippi State cruised through its first two games, the Bulldogs are also heading west … where a Pac-12-friendly crowd awaits. Making the longest journey to its regional site of any No. 1 seed shouldn’t faze the Bulldogs, though — they are riding a 10-game winning streak that includes the three neutral-site wins it took to capture the SEC Tournament title. The Sun Devils likely won’t have the tools to contend with Mississippi State, whose stars have been living up to every expectation so far.

No. 1 Louisville Cardinals vs. No. 4 Oregon State Beavers

When: Friday, March 29, at 9 p.m. ET

Where: Times Union Center, Albany, NY

How to watch: ESPN

Keys to the matchup: After struggling to seal the deal at home against an injury-depleted Gonzaga squad in the Round of 32 — not to mention their five-point overtime win over Boise State to open the tournament — Oregon State seems to need a break. Unfortunately, it’s a break the Beavers won’t be able to get at this stage. While the Beavers’ résumé includes top-notch wins over high seeds still in the tournament, they’ll need to put together something special to contend with Louisville. The Cardinals blew through their first two opponents thanks to the experience of senior stars Sam Fuehring, Asia Durr and Arica Carter, all of whom should be difficult for the Beavers to challenge. It’s not that Oregon State doesn’t have star power of its own, but that so much has been asked of the team’s stars so far that it’s hard to see them putting together this win.

No. 2 Oregon Ducks vs. No. 6 South Dakota State Jackrabbits

When: Friday, March 29, at 11 p.m. ET

Where: Moda Center, Portland, OR

How to watch: ESPN2

Keys to the matchup: South Dakota State just made history by advancing to its first-ever Sweet Sixteen — a feat that Oregon only accomplished two seasons ago. Now, the two teams are meeting for the second time this season. In the first game back on Dec. 12, the Ducks overcame a five-point halftime deficit to take the game, 87-79, in South Dakota. Now, with this being essentially a home game for Oregon — Portland is just under two hours from their campus — the Jackrabbits will need to muster some extra magic to pull off the upset. South Dakota State defeated Syracuse on the Orange’s home floor to advance, but with just two home or neutral-site losses on the season, the Ducks have more than enough advantages in this rematch. It’s Oregon’s game to lose, but South Dakota State should put up a good fight.


NCAAW Tournament game information

Sweet Sixteen

When: Friday, March 29 (see above); Saturday, March 30 (click for times)

Where: Albany, NY; Chicago, IL; Greensboro, NC; Portland, OR

How to watch: ESPN, ESPN2, WatchESPN

Elite Eight

When: Sunday, March 31; Monday, April 1 (click for times)

Where: Albany, NY; Chicago, IL; Greensboro, NC; Portland, OR

How to watch: ESPN, ESPN2, WatchESPN

Final Four

When: Friday, April 5, at 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. ET

Where: Amalie Arena, Tampa, FL

How to watch: ESPN2, WatchESPN

National Championship

When: Sunday, April 7, at 6 p.m. ET

Where: Amalie Arena, Tampa, FL

How to watch: ESPN, WatchESPN


More ways to watch the games

Want to watch in person? Sweet Sixteen, Elite Eight and Final Four tickets can be found on the websites of the hosting arenas, or here.