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March Madness 2021: Womens Sweet 16 (Day 1)

I always make a women’s bracket and this year has been just as crazy as the men’s tournament. The first round saw: a 13 seed, 12 seed, and 11 seed all win. A 2 seed, and my champion pick Texas A&M had a win handed to them by bad officiating in the first round and barely escaped with an OT buzzer beater against #7 Iowa St. Two upsets happened in the second round as well with #6 seeded Michigan beating #3 Georgia and #6 Texas beating #3 UCLA. The early games today should not see any upsets, but the evening cap could put my bracket in jeopardy again. Let’s see what the women’s Sweet 16 has on top today.

Iowa vs. UCONN

The Huskies have not had a problem thus far and that was expected. I have them in my Elite Eight as well. The Hawkeyes had a nice win against Kentucky to get to the Sweet 16, but Paige Bueckers and her team are loaded. I am sure many have them winning it all and they way they have rebounded after their lone loss of the season to Arkansas and early season cancellations, they certainly look like they will. They easily dispatched of the Hawkeyes today 92-72. They face the winner of Michigan vs. Baylor in the Elite Eight.

Michigan vs. Baylor

Baylor has not lost since January 16th and while Michigan has played well this year, they came into this tournament a little cold and inconsistent. Currently, they are headed into the 4th quarter down 40-47, but Baylor is not shooting well from 3 today. As long as they can continue to rebound well, I expect Baylor to pull away in the fourth. This will set up a fantastic Elite 8 matchup that will be worthy of being a championship game between Baylor and UCONN. We will finally get to see the game that was cancelled earlier this year in the NCAA Tournament.

Indiana vs. NC State

A tough matchup for the Wolfpack. The tournament truly starts for them today. The Hoosiers lost a close game earlier this year to Maryland, but ended the season 8-1 and dominated down the stretch. They do not turn the ball over much and matchup pretty well here. I do think the difference will be the success NC State has had this year and a slight talent gap. The Wolfpack have beaten the #1 team twice this year and the #5 team in the country. While NC State is a younger team, they are the better team and I see them winning this game. According to William Hill, the Hoosiers are a surprising slight favorite at -2. I see NC State winning and covering in the game of the night.

Arizona vs. Texas A&M

To end the night, the Aggies must face a very tough Wildcat team. Arizona is favored and rightfully so given the Aggies almost losing twice. They are favored by -3.5. They escaped Iowa St. thanks to some fantastic shooting and great defense. The difference was the turnover margin and the youth of Iowa St. starting a ton of freshmen. The Aggies need to rebound better and shoot better overall in order to avoid the upset from the Wildcats. When they do not shoot well or face a good defense, they are clearly overmatched. That is the difference between the good and great teams in women’s college hoops usually. The Aggies have the talent, they just need to play better defense and shoot better. It is easier said than done though. Mentally, they need to overcome the rut of play they are in despite still surviving. They are 9-1 vs. top 25 teams and even beat a heavily favored Arkansas, who was upset in the tournament in the first round, team twice this season. It will be close, but I am sticking with my pick and have the Aggies winning and covering that spread. Look for them to play better in this game as well, but it will not be perfect.

Did you make a women’s bracket? You should start doing that!

Featured Image Via: thebrownandwhite.com

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Follow me on Twitter: @CaseyMoninghoff

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