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Sweet 16 Preview: Can top seeds NC State, Louisville advance to Elite Eight?

The Sweet 16 concludes Saturday, with No. 1 seeds NC State and Louisville both aiming to join the other top seeds Stanford and South Carolina in the Elite Eight

NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament - Second Round - North Carolina Photo by Scott Taetsch/NCAA Photos via Getty Images

The Sweet 16 is drawing to a close Saturday after a Friday that featured four great games and another Creighton upset. With four more games and four more spots left in the Elite Eight, we are marching closer to the title match. Just like the other Sweet 16 games, Saturday’s contests will be on ESPN and ESPN 2.

Saturday’s games begin in the Bridgeport Region, with No. 5 Notre Dame facing off against No. 1 NC State at 11:30 a.m. ET (ESPN). DraftKings predicts this to be a high-scoring affair with a combined point total of 143, the most of any game happening on Saturday.

NC State is favored to win and has been in great form so far in the NCAA tournament. They’ve won each of their two games by twenty-plus points and haven’t lost since Feb. 1.

Unfortunately for NC State, that loss was against Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish took care of business, beating the Wolfpack 69-66 in a thrilling game even though NC State got a big performance off the bench from Diamond Johnson. We’ll see if the Wolfpack can avenge their loss from earlier this season and keep the streak of every No. 1 seed advancing alive.

Next, up No. 3 Indiana faces off against No. 2 UConn at 2 p.m. ET (ESPN). DraftKings has this game as the surest bet, with UConn favored by nine points. The Huskies are NCAA royalty: they have the star power with players like Paige Bueckers and the quality of play having won their last 12 games to back up that mystique. It’s not surprising to see them favored by so many points even with Indiana playing well. The Hoosiers will need a big game from Grace Berger and Mackenize Holmes to pull off the upset.

In the Wichita Region, we kick things off with No. 1 Louisville playing against No. 4 Tennesse at 4 p.m. ET (ESPN 2). Louisville has been one of the most consistent teams, not just this season, but over the past five seasons, making it to the Sweet 16 every year. They’ll be looking to reach the Elite Eight for the second year in a row but will have to beat a tough Lady Volunteers team to make it there. What makes Tennesse so hard to beat is how balanced their offensive attack is. The Vols have an eight-player rotation and four to five players who can easily put up double-digit points at any given moment. They’ll need all that and more if they’re going to be the first team to knock out a No. 1 seed. DraftKings has Lousiville favored by seven points.

Other than Creighton, South Dakota has to be the biggest surprise of the NCAA Tournamnet so far. The No. 10 seed has beaten Ole Miss and Baylor to get here, and they face off against No. 3 Michigan at 6:30 p.m. ET (ESPN 2). DraftKings has this as the closest game of the day with the margin of victory at four and the lowest over/ under of total points at 122.5. Hard to predict if South Dakota can keep the glass slipper on a bit longer, but the Coyotes will undoubtedly try to on Saturday.

The Wolverines will be relying on their All-American player Naz Hillmon; she’s averaging 25.5 points and 11 rebounds per game for Michigan in the NCAA Tournament. The Wolverines are not just a one-player team, but they’ll only go as far as Hillmon takes them. So far, that’s been a great road as Michigan has a chance to reach the Elite Eight for the first time with a win on Saturday.

Check out DraftKings Sportsbook, the official sportsbook partner of SB Nation.