Leading up into third round action in the 2023 NCAA tournament, Autumn Johnson takes a look at the teams who are left and re-ranks the field.
- South Carolina
- Virginia Tech
- Ole Miss
- Miami (FL)
- Ohio State
- Notre Dame
2023 MARCH MADNESS: Women's NCAA tournament schedule, dates, times, scores
South Carolina - The defending national champion is the favorite to run it back, in hopes of bringing back a third national title to Columbia. The Gamecocks are currently on a 40-game winning streak, and I personally do not see anyone stepping in the Gamecocks' way. The only team that can beat South Carolina — is South Carolina.
Iowa - The Hawkeyes possess the No. 1 offense in the nation, averaging 87.4 points per game. We all know the duo of Caitlin Clark and Monika Czinano are going to produce consistently, but the supporting cast — Gabbie Marshall, Kate Martin and McKenna Warnock — has stepped up tremendously and has been the X-factor of how Iowa was able to get over their “second round hump.”
UConn - The Huskies are healthy after a season riddled with injuries. Depth and experience will take you a long way in March. Having sophomore guard Azzi Fudd back in the starting lineup has been a game-changer for UConn. In the win over Baylor, Fudd knocked down 16 of her 22 points in the third quarter to help the Huskies punch their ticket to the Sweet 16.
Virginia Tech - We are witnessing one of the Hokies’ best teams in program history with Kenny Brooks at the helm. Virginia Tech is currently on a 13-game winning streak; however, the road to victory doesn’t get easier facing Tennessee in the Sweet 16 and a possible date with UConn lurking in Seattle.
Maryland - The Terps are a team who witnessed massive turnover during the offseason. That hasn’t slowed this team down one bit. New faces along with the familiar faces of Diamond Miller and Shyanne Sellers have led the Terps to their 20th Sweet 16 appearance.
Tennessee - Head coach Kellie Harper hit the transfer portal jackpot. Although it took some time for these players to gel together, the Vols are clicking and playing their best basketball at the right time. This is the team we knew they were going to be during the preseason — a Final Four contender.
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Utah - The Utes have a top-four offense in the nation, pouring in nearly 84 points per game. Their go-to star, Allisa Pili, recorded 28 points and 10 rebounds to help survive and advance over Princeton’s tough, pressure defense.
LSU - The Tigers are continuously making a statement that they’re a top 10 team, taking down Michigan in convincing fashion, 66-42. Angel Reese recorded a monster double-double in the first two rounds, averaging 36.5 points and 19.5 rebounds.
Ole Miss - The Rebels knocked off No. 1 Stanford, the 2021 national champions, and shocked the entire nation. Honestly, this isn’t too surprising. Ole Miss is a team that knocked off Gonzaga (who was consistently ranked in the AP Top 25 Poll) by 23 points in the first round and — let’s not forget — a team who nearly knocked off South Carolina, the defending national champs, in overtime. The mantra “We Defend” is taking Ole Miss to new heights.
Louisville - The Cardinals handled Texas in front of the Longhorns' home crowd to make their sixth-straight Sweet 16 appearance. Hailey Van Lith has unlocked a new level of play in the postseason to help elevate her team. HVL scored 21 points versus Texas and 26 against Drake in the NCAA tournament, so far.
Miami (FL) - How about the Hurricanes, taking down Indiana?! I did not see this coming. In fact, I had Indiana in my championship round. Miami thought otherwise, shooting 47 percent from the floor and 57 percent from three, including a clutch Destiny Harden bucket to put the dagger in the game.
Ohio State - The Buckeyes survived North Carolina, thanks to a heroic play by Jacy Sheldon. The two-way guard has only played six games due to injury, making her return during the Big Ten tournament. The Buckeyes have already felt the impact of Sheldon’s return after she helped this team to the Big Ten Championship game and now the Sweet 16.
Villanova - The Wildcats will go as far as Maddy Siegrest will take them. The National Player of the Year candidate continues to make history recording her 36th-straight 20-plus performance, passing Kelsey Plum — which is the most from any DI player this century.
UCLA - The Bruins blew past Oklahoma in dominant fashion credit to a career-high performance from senior guard Charisma Osborne, who poured in 36 points and grabbed 8 boards for the Bruins to return to the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2019.
Notre Dame - The Fighting Irish are headed to the Sweet 16 for the 19th time; however, the lack of depth worries me down the stretch. Dara Mabrey had a season-ending injury during the regular season and Olivia Miles went down before the ACC tournament with an apparent knee injury. Nevertheless, this is still a talented squad, that is getting a joint effort from Sonia Citron and KK Bransford handling the ball.
Colorado - The Buffs took Duke into overtime and outscored the Blue Devils 11-3 in the final frame. The No. 2 defense in the nation did not have an answer for the duo of Quay Miller and Jaylyn Sherrod, who combined 31 points together. Colorado will look to continue to play spoiler against Iowa in the Sweet 16.