NCAAW: How the high-majors have fared so far in 2023 Event

Of the 64 groups to compete within the 2023 Ladies’s NCAA Event, over half are thought-about high-majors. This consists of packages from the standard “energy 5” conferences — the ACC, Large Ten, Large 12, Pac-12 and SEC — in addition to the Large East, which had a extremely aggressive ladies’s basketball season previous to the nationwide event.

Two rounds into the event, each single remaining crew is a high-major. This isn’t fully sudden; energy 5 faculties are sometimes those competing for NCAA championships, and although convention realignment has modified the general panorama of the NCAA all through the years, one-off victories and Cinderella tales within the ladies’s NCAA Event are unusual.

The Candy Sixteen begins this Friday, March 24, and there are numerous acquainted packages nonetheless competing. There are, nonetheless, a handful of high-majors that didn’t make it that far, maybe surprisingly. Whereas we anticipate the subsequent spherical of NCAA Event video games to tip-off, let’s examine in on which high-majors have met expectations, which have exceeded expectations and which have already gone house.

Assembly expectations

Syndication: The Knoxville News-Sentinel

The Tennessee Girl Vols have gained their first two video games of the event by a mixed 92 factors.
Saul Younger/Information Sentinel / USA TODAY NETWORK

First, the apparent. Every of the 4 No. 1 total seeds within the event went to an influence 5 college, and two of them are trying nice. The defending NCAA champion South Carolina Gamecocks, who entered the 2023 Event as the one undefeated crew within the nation, have proven no indicators of slowing down, defeating No. 16 Norfolk State and No. 8 South Florida handily in Greenville Area 1.

The Virginia Tech Hokies, too, have continued their roll, extending their win streak to 13 video games with wins over No. 16 Chattanooga and No. 9 South Dakota State. The exact halfcourt sport that lately gained the Hokies an ACC championship has confirmed to be an excessive amount of for his or her NCAA Event opponents so far, and so they’ve delivered as Seattle Area 4’s high total seed.

It’s not simply the No. 1 seeds which were placing in work, although. The LSU Girl Tigers — who have been in dialog for a No. 1 seed for a lot of the season earlier than a few premature losses finally seeded them at No. 3 within the Greenville 2 area — soundly beat a worthy No. 6 Michigan squad within the second spherical. LSU will face the No. 2 Utah Utes within the Candy Sixteen; Utah had little bother with No. 15 Gardner-Webb within the first spherical and got here out on high towards the No. 10 seed and Ivy League champion Princeton Tigers two days later.

Arguably essentially the most spectacular high-major, although, has been the Tennessee Girl Vols. Seeded at No. 4 within the Seattle 3 area, Tennessee has obliterated its competitors thus far, defeating No. 13 St. Louis by 45 factors and No. 12 Toledo by 47. The Girl Vols’ common margin of victory is the biggest of any crew that has superior to the Candy Sixteen.

Elsewhere, the No. 2 seed UConn Huskies have made quick work of their Seattle 3 area opponents, defeating No. 15 Vermont by 43 factors within the first spherical and No. 7 Baylor by 21 factors within the second. Alongside those self same strains, the No. 2 Iowa Hawkeyes beat No. 15 Southeastern Louisiana by 52 factors within the opening spherical of the Seattle 4 area — the biggest margin of victory of any sport so far within the NCAA Event — and survived a scare from No. 10 Georgia to advance to the Candy Sixteen. Greenville 1’s No. 2 seed, the Maryland Terrapins, rolled previous No. 15 Holy Cross within the opening spherical after which defeated No. 7 Arizona, incomes a Candy Sixteen matchup with the No. 3 Notre Dame Preventing Irish.

The highway has been slightly more durable for groups just like the No. 3 Ohio State Buckeyes (Seattle 3 area) and the No. 4 UCLA Bruins (Greenville 1 area), however they nonetheless survived their lower-seeded competitors and superior to the Candy Sixteen. Ohio State defeated No. 14 James Madison and No. 6 North Carolina to get there; UCLA beat No. 13 Sacramento State and No. 5 Oklahoma.

The nice surprises

NCAA BASKETBALL: MAR 19 Div I Women’s Championship - Ole Miss vs Stanford

The Ole Miss Rebels have been one of many NCAA Event’s finest tales thus far.
Picture by Bob Kupbens/Icon Sportswire through Getty Photographs

March is, in fact, all in regards to the upsets, and whereas the upper seeds have largely reigned supreme in NCAA Event so far, a couple of high-major groups that have been thought-about underdogs of their respective matchups have busted loads of brackets with main upset wins. The No. 8 Ole Miss Rebels eked out an exciting Seattle 4 area win over the No. 1 seed Stanford Cardinal within the second spherical, advancing to play No. 5 Louisville of their first Candy Sixteen look since 2007.

The No. 9 Miami Hurricanes have additionally performed spoiler to increased seeds. After a dramatic first-round comeback over Greenville 2 area No. 8 seed Oklahoma State, Miami moved on to defeat No. 1 Indiana within the second spherical, ending a Candy Sixteen drought that dated all the way in which again to 1992.

Particular person program achievements apart, the performances of Ole Miss and Miami have been additionally historic on a bigger scale. As famous by The Athletic’s Sabreena Service provider, it’s been 25 years since two No. 1 seeds have been bounced from the NCAA Event previous to the Candy Sixteen; it’s tempting to carry this towards Indiana and Stanford, nevertheless it’s additionally a optimistic improvement for these fascinated by extra parity within the ladies’s event. As Service provider writes, “No. 1 seeds have handled the primary weekend [of the NCAA Tournament] as a bye into the Candy Sixteen,” however that will not essentially be the case anymore.

Credit score must also be given to the Mississippi State Bulldogs, who added another SEC consultant to the large dance with a First 4 victory over Illinois. Seeded at No. 11 within the Greenville 1 area, Mississippi State defeated No. 6 Creighton by 25 factors in what was absolutely one of many larger upsets of the primary spherical. The Bulldogs then bowed out within the second spherical, however not earlier than giving No. 3 Notre Dame a scare in a low-scoring contest.

The disappointments

NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament - Second Round - Indiana

The Indiana Hoosiers have been certainly one of two No. 1 seeds to lose within the spherical of 32.
Picture by Joe Robbins/NCAA Photographs through Getty Photographs

On the alternative aspect of each upset is bitter disappointment. For each heart-warming statistic a couple of program reaching its first Candy Sixteen in a single, two and even three a long time, there’s the unlucky actuality of one other program failing to satisfy the lofty expectations that include a excessive NCAA Event seeding.

The Indiana Hoosiers embody this disappointment. Indiana’s loss to No. 9 Miami within the second spherical of the event put an abrupt finish to what had been a magical season; the Hoosiers’ 28 wins have been their most-ever in a season, and so they earned a No. 1 seed within the NCAA Event for the primary time in program historical past. An early event exit — on their house courtroom in Bloomington, no much less — was absolutely not the ending that they had in thoughts.

Stanford, in the meantime, is a program well-accustomed to each Pac-12 and NCAA Event success, which makes the Cardinal’s loss to No. 8 Ole Miss maybe much more stunning. The 2023 iteration of the Cardinal was a veteran group that had persevered by means of an increasingly-competitive Pac-12 schedule and sought to get again to the heights it reached in 2021, when Stanford gained the NCAA Championship. As an alternative, the Cardinal have been shocked within the second spherical, recording extra turnovers (21) than discipline objectives made (17) in a untimely exit.

Whereas groups just like the Texas Longhorns (No. 5 seed in Seattle 4) and the Washington State Cougars (No. 5 seed in Greenville 2) didn’t fail to satisfy the large expectations that Indiana or Stanford did, their early-tournament losses have been nonetheless disappointing nonetheless. The Cougars, who have been contemporary off an inconceivable Pac-12 Event championship, misplaced by double-figures to No. 12 FGCU within the first spherical of the NCAA Event, hardly ever seeming answerable for a sport that ought to have at the very least been extra aggressive. Texas, in the meantime, confirmed off its signature protection in an opening-round win over No. 13 East Carolina, holding the Pirates to 40 factors, nevertheless it was its offense that couldn’t seal the deal towards No. 5 Louisville; the Longhorns misplaced by 21 factors to the Cardinals, failing to recuperate after a depressing begin to the sport.