The Road to The Sweet 16
The 2023 NCAA Women’s Tournament is in full swing with the first two rounds over and the Sweet 16 kicking off on Friday, March 24th. The dance has been nothing short of jaw-dropping so far with crazy upsets and insane buzzer-beaters. These teams have come to play and aren’t backing down no matter what.
Top 5 Upsets:
#11 Mississippi State vs. #6 Creighton 81-66
Putting up 25 points in the first quarter, the Mississippi State Bulldogs had this game in the bag. The Bulldogs then went on to score 22, 18, and 16 points in the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th quarters respectively. Creighton attempted to catch up with 21 points in the 4th quarter but their attempt wasn’t enough to pull out the win over the Bulldogs Creighton being the higher seed was favored to win this matchup, but with madness in the name, anything can happen. Down goes number 6!
#12 Florida Gulf Coast University vs. #5 Washington State 74-36
The FGCU Eagles are no strangers to upsets in NCAA Tournaments, they came in strong with 17 points in the 1st quarter but sealed their fate in the 3rd putting up 30 points to edge out Washington State. Washington State won the Pac-12 championship so people favored them to go far. However, FGCU was an underdog that people didn’t see coming. The Cougars gave it their all but it was no match to the Eagles who swooped in to win.
#9 Miami vs. #1 Indiana 70-69
Unlike the other upsets seen so far in the tournament, this game was neck and neck up until the end. Last-minute upsets are no new feat to Indiana, losing at the very end of the Big 10 tournament semi-final to Ohio State. So while this has been seen before for them, it is always a shock when a number one seed goes down. Miami started the first two quarters off strong putting up 41 points before the half but Indiana came back after halftime and scored 19 points compared to Miami’s single-digit 8 points. In the end, Miami was able to put up 21 points in the 4th quarter to take the win and knock out Indiana.
#8 Ole Miss vs. #1 Stanford 54-49
Stanford was favored by many to make it all the way in the tournament but like many brackets, these hopes got busted by Ole Miss. The rebels started the game with 18 points in the 1st quarter and 11 in the 2nd holding the cardinals at 13 in the 1st and only 7 points in the 2nd. The Cardinals came back in the 3rd and 4th quarters out scoring Ole Miss in both but couldn’t keep the lead in the end. Stanford did give it their all, with forward Cameron Brink taking the court after being in the hospital with a stomach bug a few days prior. All their efforts were hard fought but Ole Miss shocked everyone and yet again, a one seed goes down.
#12 Toledo vs. #5 Iowa State 80-73
Iowa State had high hopes going into their first game of the tournament against Toledo and started off strong with 23 points in the 1st quarter but unfortunately got outscored by Toledo in the rest of the game. The Rockets put up 23 points in the 2nd quarter, 18 in the 3rd, and 19 in the 4th to take the win over the cyclones.
Top 5 Wins:
#4 Tennessee vs. #12 Toledo: 94-47
After beating Iowa State, the Toledo Rockets went on to take the court against Tennessee. The Rockets had no chance in this 94-47 defeat against Tennessee. The Volunteers put up 19 points in the 1st quarter, 31 in the 2nd, and 22 in the 3rd and 4th to propel them far ahead of Toledo and into the sweet 16.
#3 Notre Dame vs. #14 Southern Utah: 82-56
Although both teams had almost every player on their roster get points on the board it was very clear who would dominate the court. Notre Dame put up 27 points in the 1st quarter and held Southern Utah to only 10 points that quarter. Southern Utah tried to battle with Notre Dame but overall couldn’t win the fight.
#3 Louisiana State University vs. #6 Michigan 66-42
This game started off slow with only 7 points for Michigan and 12 for LSU in the first quarter but once the Tigers got the ball rolling they were able to take home the win. The Tigers scored 18 points in the 2nd quarter, 17 in the 3rd, and 19 in the 4th compared to the Wolverines 7 points in the 1st, 8 in the 2nd, 16 in the 3rd, and 11 in the 4th.
#2 Iowa vs. #15 Southeastern Louisiana University 95-43
Iowa came in hot and never cooled down during this game, the Hawkeyes put up 28 points in the first quarter and 26 in the 2nd. Not only was Iowa playing amazing offense but their defense held SLU to only scoring 9 points in the 3rd quarter and 2 in the 4th.
#4 Villanova vs. #12 Florida Gulf Coast University 76-57
Although FGCU had one of the best upsets of the tournament their NCAA tournament dreams were cut short by Villanova. The Wildcats started the game with 26 points in the 1st quarter to give them a lead that the Eagles challenged in the 2nd quarter with 22 points but ultimately couldn’t beat in the end.
The round of 16 starts on March 24 with #4 Villanova taking on #9 Miami at 2:30 pm ET. The Sweet 16 schedule is as follows. All times are listed in ET.
Friday, March 24:
#4 Villanova vs. #9 Miami 2:30 pm
#2 Utah vs. #3 Louisiana State University 5:00 pm
#2 Iowa vs. #6 Colorado 7:30 pm
#5 Louisville vs. #8 Ole Miss 10:00 pm
Saturday, March 25:
#2 University of Maryland vs. #3 Notre Dame 11:30 am
#1 South Carolina vs. #4 University California: Los Angeles 2:00 pm
#2 University of Connecticut vs. #3 Ohio State University 4:00 pm
#1 Virginia Tech vs. #4 Tennessee 6:30 pm