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NCAA Tournament Day 4 Preview: Lower seeds Belmont, Princeton, Villanova holding the country’s attention

A trio of lower seeds — the Belmont Bruins, Princeton Tigers and Villanova Wildcats — earned thrilling opening-round victories in the 2022 NCAA Tournament. Will any of these budding Cinderella stories continue into the Sweet Sixteen?

NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament - First Round - Tennessee
The Belmont Bruins are one of the 2022 NCAA Tournament’s feel-good stories thus far. Belmont upset Oregon in double overtime on Saturday to advance to the tournament’s second round.
Photo by Donald Page/NCAA Photos via Getty Images

The 2022 NCAA Tournament continues today, and it’s officially on upset watch after one of the tournament’s most thrilling opening weekends in recent memory. The second round will continue on Monday with eight games on the ESPN family of networks, with fans likely paying close attention to the lowest-seeded teams in hopes of witnessing another big upset.

If you’re one of those fans, the Villanova Wildcats are definitely a team to watch. The No. 11 seed in the Wichita Region defeated No. 6 BYU in the first round, overcoming a narrow halftime deficit and holding on for a nail-biting 61-57 victory. Villanova forward Maddy Siegrist, who was recently named Big East Player of the Year, carried her team offensively, scoring a game-high 25 points.

Siegrist and the Wildcats will have their hands full as they seek another upset, this time over No. 3 Michigan. The Wolverines dominated their first-round matchup against American, holding the No. 14 seed Eagles to 29.8 percent shooting from the field in a 74-39 win. Naz Hillmon was her usual efficient self for Michigan, scoring 24 points on 11-of-14 shooting; how Villanova defends Hillmon will obviously be critical in its bid to advance to the Sweet Sixteen.

NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament - First Round - BYU v Villanova
2022 Big East Player of the Year Maddy Siegrist was magnificent in Villanova’s first-round win over BYU, leading all scorers with 25 points.
Photo by Aaron J. Thornton/Getty Images

Speaking of close games, how about the Belmont Bruins? The Wichita Region’s No. 12 seed took down No. 5 Oregon in dramatic fashion, outlasting the Ducks in double overtime, 73-70. They’ll need to get their legs back quickly; the No. 4 Tennessee Lady Vols, a big, physical team that defeated the No. 13 Buffalo Bulls on Friday, await. Can Belmont upset another Power 5 team?

Then there are the Princeton Tigers, who, as the Bridgeport Region’s No. 11 seed, defeated the No. 6 Kentucky Wildcats in convincing fashion, 69-62. Abby Meyers (29 points) and the Tigers showed why they’re regularly among the top teams in the Ivy League, overcoming 19 turnovers and knocking the SEC tournament champion Wildcats out of the tournament. Princeton — which, of course, disagrees with the term “upset” — will face the No. 3 Indiana Hoosiers on Monday. Indiana easily handled No. 14 Charlotte in the first round, and with a healthy Mackenzie Holmes (19 points) back in the fold, the Hoosiers seem to be peaking at the right time.

Monday’s action begins at 4 p.m. ET. Here’s the complete schedule for the day, including game times, locations and television channels:

No. 9 Kansas State Wildcats vs. No. 1 NC State Wolfpack (Bridgeport Region)

When: 4 p.m. ET

Where: Reynolds Coliseum, Raleigh, NC

How to watch: ESPN

No. 5 Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs. No. 4 Oklahoma Sooners (Bridgeport Region)

When: 6 p.m. ET

Where: Lloyd Noble Center, Norman, OK

How to watch: ESPN2

No. 11 Villanova Wildcats vs. No. 3 Michigan Wolverines (Wichita Region)

When: 6 p.m. ET

Where: Crisler Center, Ann Arbor, MI

How to watch: ESPNU

No. 12 Belmont Bruins vs. No. 4 Tennessee Lady Vols (Wichita Region)

When: 7 p.m. ET

Where: Thompson-Boling Arena, Knoxville, TN

How to watch: ESPN

No. 6 Ohio State Buckeyes vs. No. 3 LSU Tigers (Spokane Region)

When: 8 p.m. ET

Where: Pete Maravich Assembly Center, Baton Rouge, LA

How to watch: ESPN2

No. 11 Princeton Tigers vs. No. 3 Indiana Hoosiers (Bridgeport Region)

When: 8 p.m. ET

Where: Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall, Bloomington, IN

How to watch: ESPNU

No. 7 UCF Knights vs. No. 2 UConn Huskies (Bridgeport Region)

When: 9 p.m. ET

Where: Gampel Pavilion, Storrs, CT

How to watch: ESPN

No. 5 North Carolina Tar Heels vs. No. 4 Arizona Wildcats (Greensboro Region)

When: 10 p.m. ET

Where: McKale Center, Tucson, AZ

How to watch: ESPN2