Final Four: No. 1 South Carolina (runner-up), No. 3 Michigan, No. 1 Stanford (champion), No. 2 UConn
Greensboro: I see both Creighton and Dayton advancing to the second round. But I think the top three seeds will be chalk to the Sweet Sixteen and I have South Carolina just edging Iowa in the Elite Eight.
Wichita: I think Tennessee’s bad loss to Auburn is too concerning to pick the Lady Vols very far and I think Maddy Siegrist can lead Villanova past BYU, though it will be close. I also like Ole Miss upsetting Baylor in the second round and Oregon upsetting Louisville in the Sweet Sixteen. But even if Baylor and Louisville do advance to play Michigan in the Sweet Sixteen and Elite Eight, respectively, I think this region is Michigan’s to lose. I like the star tandem of Naz Hillmon and Leigha Brown, the rebounding of Emily Kiser and the 3-point shooting of Maddie Nolan.
Spokane: I like all chalk in this region, except for No. 9 seed Georgia Tech defeating No. 8 seed Kansas in the first round and No. 3 seed LSU defeating No. 2 seed Texas in the Sweet Sixteen, which means I like Maryland coming out of the College Park bubble of death. It won’t be easy though and I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s Virginia Tech or FGCU emerging instead. If you had asked me before the season, I may have picked Maryland to beat Stanford, but the Terrapins have been too inconsistent and I really like what I saw from Stanford in the Pac-12 championship game. I like the Cardinal all the way.
Bridgeport: I’m not going to jump on the Kentucky bandwagon and I actually see the Wildcats as vulnerable to a first-round loss. I understand that that would truly be madness though, seeing as they have all the momentum. But I believe in the madness. As for the later rounds of this region, I’m picking UConn in my official bracket, but will mix it up between NC State and Indiana in my other brackets because I think it could be any of those three in the Final Four.
Final Four: No. 1 South Carolina (champion), No. 2 Texas (runner up), No. 2 Baylor, No. 3 Indiana
Greensboro: It’s South Carolina coming out of Greensboro. I just don’t see anyone truly challenging them in this region. Some of my upsets include Georgia making it to the Elite Eight and Creighton beating Colorado. I don’t see many upsets in this region but there will be a couple and some close calls, especially in the second round and beyond.
Spokane: I think Stanford is very good, but I think Texas is just a little tougher. I think they’ll make big shots late in games and Lauren Ebo will grab key rebounds that will be just as devastating as a dagger three. Other than that I have this region as a paint by numbers part of my bracket. Not too many surprises and basically the higher seeds win. I picked Delaware beating Maryland because I want chaos and I have LSU losing to Ohio State because I think it’d be fun to have some Big 10 Cinderellas.
Wichita: I went big and bold in Wichita. I have upsets all over the place. I have No. 4 Tennessee beating No. 1 Louisville, No. 11 Villanova over No. 6 BYU, and No. 9 Gonzaga over No. 8 Nebraska. When all the dust settles I do believe No. 2 Baylor comes out of Wichita with a Final Four berth.
Bridgeport: Can Indiana make some noise? I think so. I have them making it out of the Bridgeport region by beating UConn and NC State. Florida is my other big surprise; I have them beating UCF in the first round. Other than that, I have the rest of the region as kind of bland in terms of upsets. Overall, I think my bracket is pretty good and the best from everyone here at Swish Appeal. I’m sure that last sentence will not come back to bite me.
Final Four: No. 1 South Carolina (champion), No. 1 Stanford (runner up), No. 2 Baylor, No. 2 UConn
Greensboro: Women’s college hoops fans (and ESPN) likely are anticipating an Elite Eight showdown between the leading contenders for national Player of the Year, with the flame-throwing Caitlin Clark and No. 2 Iowa taking on the amazing Aliyah Boston and No. 1 South Carolina. However, I think Iowa’s in-state rival might play spoiler, with the Cyclones showing that Clark and company are not the only gals from Iowa who can get buckets. But, I don’t think the Cyclones, or anyone else, can hang with the Gamecocks, as South Carolina should cruise into the Final Four.
Spokane: I’m buying into No. 12 FGCU and Kierstan Bell as a Cinderella squad. Yet, a date with the defending national champions will end their dancing. Like their No. 1 seed counterparts in South Carolina, I expect Stanford to assert their superiority as they steadily make their way through the Spokane region. Although, a feisty LSU team, lead by the always fiery Kim Mulkey, could give the Cardinal a bit of a scare in the Elite Eight.
Wichita: I also believe in the leadership of Mulkey’s replacement at Baylor, forecasting that Nicki Collen, with the modernized, pro-style system she has implemented, will captain the No. 2 Lady Bears to a Final Four in her first season at the helm in Waco. I’m also predicting another in-state upset, with No. 12 Belmont knocking off a depleted No. 4 Tennessee in Knoxville to advance to the Sweet Sixteen.
Bridgeport: Believing that No. 2 UConn will advance to the Final Four gives me the same Final Four as Barack Obama, which certainly means my bracket in better than Edwin’s. The depth and defensive identity that the Huskies cultivated during an uncharacteristically uneven season has me confident in their tournament viability. Although they are the No. 1 seed in this region, I am a bit apprehensive about NC State, as the Wolfpack’s tendency to get into too-close contests could make them vulnerable to another early-round exit.