We have now reached the Sweet 16 of this rather intriguing NCAA Women’s March Madness. Despite a few superstars — Caitlin Clark, NaLyssa Smith, and Rhyne Howard among them — being knocked out of the tournament, there are still plenty of intriguing matchups to look forward to.
Let’s rank the eight games of the Sweet 16 from least to most interesting.
8. No. 10 Creighton vs. No. 3 Iowa State
Creighton has pulled off the upset of the tournament, eliminating Caitlin Clark and the Iowa Hawkeyes on their own home court. They now face off against another team from the state of Iowa, when they will look to shock everyone yet again.
7. No. 10 South Dakota vs. No. 3 Michigan
South Dakota and its eighth-ranked scoring defense continue their magic carpet ride in March Madness after massive upsets of Ole Miss and Baylor in the first two rounds. The Coyotes will face yet another stiff test in the Michigan Wolverines, who are coming off of double-digit wins over the American Eagles and Villanova Wildcats.
6. No. 6 Ohio State vs. No. 2 Texas
The Buckeyes have conquered one of the nation’s toughest teams in the LSU Tigers thanks to their top-10 offense and now face another tough team in the Texas Longhorns, who are coming off of a dominant win over the Utah Utes.
5. No. 4 Maryland vs. No. 1 Stanford
The defending champions will face a difficult hurdle in a feisty Maryland Terrapins team that is the fifth-ranked offense in the nation. However, the Stanford Cardinal, led by Haley Jones, Cameron Brink, Hannah Jump and Lexie Hull are more than up to the task of outscoring them.
4. No. 5 Notre Dame vs. No. 1 NC State
The Notre Dame Fighting Irish might have had the single most impressive win of the tournament, winning 108-64 over the Oklahoma Sooners and setting team records for the most points in a half and a game. They take this high-powered offense up against the NC State Wolfpack, who also have had fantastic offensive performances in this tournament.
3. No. 4 Tennessee vs. No. 1 Louisville
In spite of the loss of Jordan Horston, the Lady Vols just keep chugging along without her. The Louisville defense will indeed find itself tested by volume scorers such as Alexus Dye and Sara Puckett.
2. No. 5 North Carolina vs. No. 1 South Carolina
The nation’s No. 1 team continues to play like it as the Gamecocks have held both of their opponents to fewer than 35 points. However, UNC just defeated last year’s runner-up, the Arizona Wildcats, in convincing fashion and that will be quite the confidence-booster going up against South Carolina.
1. No. 3 Indiana vs. No. 2 UConn
This is the marquee matchup, as both teams are coming off of unexpectedly nail-biting wins. The stars will be here to play, with the UConn Huskies sporting Paige Bueckers and Azzi Fudd and the Indiana Hoosiers boasting Grace Berger and Mackenzie Holmes.