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NCAA Tournament Day 2 Preview: Will Rhyne Howard and Kentucky stay hot in Bridgeport?

Fresh off a magical run in the SEC Tournament, Rhyne Howard and the Kentucky Wildcats take on the Princeton Tigers in the first round of the big dance. Meanwhile, Kansas State Wildcats star Ayoka Lee makes her NCAA Tournament debut against the Washington State Cougars.

South Carolina v Kentucky
Kentucky star Rhyne Howard enters the 2022 NCAA Tournament in a position to cement her legacy as one of the collegiate game’s all-time greats.
Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

The 2022 NCAA Tournament continues today, and the stars will be out in full force in the tournament’s second day of action: a full slate of 16 games that will begin at 11:30 a.m. ET and run throughout the day on the ESPN family of networks.

One such star is Kentucky’s Rhyne Howard. A three-time first-team All-American, Howard added to her legacy as one of the Wildcats’ all-time greats in the 2022 SEC Tournament, leading Kentucky to four wins in four days and a tournament championship. The 6’2 wing and potential No. 1 overall WNBA Draft pick was named tournament MVP after leading the Wildcats in scoring at 22 points per game.

Just about the only thing Howard has yet to achieve in her storied collegiate career is a deep run in the NCAA Tournament. Kentucky, which enters the big dance as the No. 6 seed in the Bridgeport Region, will take on the No. 11 seed Princeton Tigers — who came out on top in the Ivy League for the third consecutive season — in the tournament’s round of 64 on Saturday.

Incidentally, the Wildcats and Tigers previously met in the 2019 NCAA Tournament as identically-seeded teams. A 13-point edge in the third quarter turned out to be the deciding factor in an 82-77 Kentucky victory, one that Princeton will be looking to avenge three years later. Tip-off is scheduled for 4 p.m. ET, with the game being broadcast on ESPN.

Ayoka Lee to make NCAA Tournament debut vs. Washington State

If a three-time All-American playing at the top of her game isn’t enough for you, how about the NCAA record holder for points scored in a game?

That, of course, is Kansas State’s Ayoka Lee — a 6’6 center who will be making her first appearance in the NCAA Tournament on Saturday.

Lee, a junior, has put up some eye-popping statistics all season long, ranking sixth in Division I in both scoring (22.4 points per game) and blocked shots (three blocks per game) while ranking third in Player Efficiency Rating (41.9), per Her Hoop Stats. Her crowning achievement thus far, though, was a 61-point effort against the Oklahoma Sooners back on Jan. 23; those 61 points are a Division I single-game record.

Kansas State is more than a one-woman show — head coach Jeff Mittie praised his team’s commitment to “making the right basketball play” after Lee’s 61-point game — and earned the Bridgeport Region’s No. 9 overall seed after going 19-12 during the regular season. They’re matched up with the No. 8 seed Washington State Cougars, who went 19-10 and 11-6 in Pac-12 play; it’s Bridgeport’s first game of the day, with an 11:30 a.m. ET scheduled tip-off (ESPN2).

As for the rest of Saturday’s games, here’s the complete 16-game schedule, organized by region and with game odds presented by DraftKings:


Greensboro Region

No. 12 Stephen F. Austin Ladyjacks vs. No. 5 North Carolina Tar Heels

When: 7:30 p.m. ET

Where: McKale Center, Tucson, AZ

How to watch: ESPNEWS

Spread: Kansas State -4

Total: Over/under 117.5

Moneyline: Kansas State -165; Washington State +145

No. 13 UNLV Rebels vs. No. 4 Arizona Wildcats

When: 10 p.m. ET

Where: McKale Center, Tucson, AZ

How to watch: ESPN2

Spread: Arizona -12

Total: Over/under 131

Moneyline: Arizona -850; UNLV +575

Wichita Region

No. 11 Villanova Wildcats vs. No. 6 BYU Cougars

When: 1 p.m. ET

Where: Crisler Center, Ann Arbor, MI

How to watch: ESPNEWS

Spread: BYU -11.5

Total: Over/under 127

Moneyline: Villanova +475; BYU -675

No. 13 Buffalo Bulls vs. No. 4 Tennessee Lady Vols

When: 3 p.m. ET

Where: Thompson-Boling Arena, Knoxville, TN

How to watch: ABC

Spread: Tennessee -10

Total: Over/under 138

Moneyline: Buffalo +340; Tennessee -450

No. 14 American Eagles vs. No. 3 Michigan Wolverines

When: 3:30 p.m. ET

Where: Crisler Center, Ann Arbor, MI

How to watch: ESPN2

Spread: Michigan -25

Total: Over/under 120.5

No. 12 Belmont Bruins vs. No. 5 Oregon Ducks

When: 5:30 p.m. ET

Where: Thompson-Boling Arena, Knoxville, TN

How to watch: ESPN2

Spread: Oregon -11

Total: Over/under 126.5

Moneyline: Belmont +410; Oregon -575

Spokane Region

No. 11 Missouri State Lady Bears vs. No. 6 Ohio State Buckeyes

When: 2:30 p.m. ET

Where: Pete Maravich Assembly Center, Baton Rouge, LA

How to watch: ESPNU

Spread: Ohio State -5

Total: Over/under 133

No. 14 Jackson State Lady Tigers vs. No. 3 LSU Tigers

When: 5 p.m. ET

Where: Pete Maravich Assembly Center, Baton Rouge, LA

How to watch: ESPNU

Spread: LSU -13

Total: Over/under 137

Moneyline: Jackson State +700; LSU -1125

Bridgeport Region

No. 9 Kansas State Wildcats vs. No. 8 Washington State Cougars

When: 11:30 a.m. ET

Where: Reynolds Coliseum, Raleigh, NC

How to watch: ESPN2

Spread: Kansas State -4

Total: Over/under 117.5

Moneyline: Kansas State -165; Washington State +145

No. 15 Mercer Bears vs. No. 2 UConn Huskies

When: 1 p.m. ET

Where: Gampel Pavilion, Storrs, CT

How to watch: ABC

Spread: UConn -29.5

Total: Over/under 120.5

Moneyline: Mercer +2500; UConn -8000

No. 14 Charlotte 49ers vs. No. 3 Indiana Hoosiers

When: 1:30 p.m. ET

Where: Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall, Bloomington, IN

How to watch: ESPN2

Spread: Indiana -16

Total: Over/under 123

Moneyline: Charlotte +850; Indiana -1500

No. 16 Longwood Lancers vs. No. 1 NC State Wolfpack

When: 2 p.m. ET

Where: Reynolds Coliseum, Raleigh, NC

How to watch: ESPN

Spread: NC State -38

Total: Over/under 139

No. 10 Florida Gators vs. No. 7 UCF Knights

When: 3:30 p.m. ET

Where: Gampel Pavilion, Storrs, CT

How to watch: ESPNEWS

Spread: UCF -6.5

Total: Over/under 114.5

Moneyline: Florida +235; UCF -300

No. 11 Princeton Tigers vs. No. 6 Kentucky Wildcats

When: 4 p.m. ET

Where: Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall, Bloomington, IN

How to watch: ESPN

Spread: Kentucky -2

Total: Over/under 127.5

Moneyline: Princeton +105; Kentucky -125

No. 12 UMass Minutewomen vs. No. 5 Notre Dame Fighting Irish

When: 7:30 p.m. ET

Where: Lloyd Noble Center, Norman, OK

How to watch: ESPN2

Spread: Notre Dame -7.5

Total: Over/under 139.5

Moneyline: UMass +235; Notre Dame -300

No. 13 IUPUI Jaguars vs. No. 4 Oklahoma Sooners

When: 10 p.m. ET

Where: Lloyd Noble Center, Norman, OK

How to watch: ESPNU


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