“Selection Sunday” has become synonymous with the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, but this is also the day when the women’s bracket is unveiled as well. The 2020 NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament is played during the same time period as the men’s tournament, and the ladies provide their own “March Madness” experience.
The women’s bracket is usually a bit easier to predict than the men’s tournament, but there will still be some huge upsets along the way.
The Women’s March Madness Tournament bracket is made up of just 64 teams, and there are no First Four games like there are on the men’s side of things.
The top seeds in each quadrant of four teams will host the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament, which will give the top seeds a huge advantage.
Instead of having regions split up by geography like the men’s NCAA Tournament, the women’s March Madness is split up into locations. The four regional sites are: Dallas, Greenville, SC, Portland, Ore., and Fort Wayne, Ind.
The Women’s Final Four and National Championship will be held in New Orleans, and all 64 teams have the same goal of reaching the Final Four.
Let’s take a look at each round of the NCAA Women’s Tournament and make some predictions for what we might see when the tournament play begins.
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Women’s Round 1 Picks
The first round of the NCAA Men’s Tournament is usually where the madness begins, but that isn’t usually the case in the NCAA Women’s Tournament. The top 16 teams in the country will all be playing on their home floor, and they have been traditionally dominant in this first round.
There is always a chance that a No. 14 seed can knock off a No. 3 seed or a 13 can upset a 4, but the top two seeds in each Regional are usually safe on their home floor. If you are filling out a bracket for the NCAA Women’s Tournament, the smart play is taking all 1-4 seeds to win their first-round games.
The matchup of two teams playing on a neutral floor can make things a little bit more interesting. If you are looking for upsets, then picking an 11 to beat a 6 or a 12 to upset a 5 is the way to go in this round.
Historically, a No. 12 seed has the best chance to pull off a first-round upset, which is the same way on the men’s side of things. The first round of the NCAA Women’s Tournament will likely go the way of the seeds in most of the games.
Women’s Round 2 Picks
We already mentioned that there would likely be very few upsets in the first round of the Women’s March Madness Tournament, and that should shape up for some terrific matchups in the second round. The No. 1 and 2 seeds are usually still pretty safe in this round, as they will be taking on a 7 or 8 seed at best.
Playing on their home floor will also help guard against the upset, and you should take all eight number 1 and 2 seeds to win their second-round games.
The other two games in each regional of the second round should provide some excitement. Most of these games will feature second- or third-place teams from the power-5 conferences, and they have all been battle-tested.
The No. 3 and 4 seeds will still be on their home floor, but they will have to play great to advance. This is a great time to take a 5 or 6 seed to pull off a mini-upset in the second round.
If you are hoping to ride the wave of an underdog double-digit seed in the second round of the NCAA Women’s Tournament, you need to do so at your own risk. There have been just three 13 seeds to ever win a second-round game, and just four 12 seeds have pulled off the feat.
No. 11 seeds have won a second-round game a total of 11 times, including three times in the past two seasons. The general rule of thumb is to take a single-digit seed to advance, but taking an 11 seed over a 3 is the best chance for a big upset in the second round.
Women’s Sweet 16 Picks
We have already predicted that the NCAA Women’s Tournament will be mostly chalk through the first two rounds, but this is where things start to get interesting. That doesn’t mean that there are going to be major upsets in the Sweet 16 round either, but the games should be much better.
Most of the regionals will still have the top four seeds remaining, but there will be a few surprise teams in the round of Sweet 16. Let’s predict what each of the four regionals might look like at this time, and make some predictions:
(1) Baylor Bears vs. (5) Missouri State; (2) Stanford Cardinal vs. (3) Mississippi State Bulldogs
Even though the Baylor Bears will be playing away from home for the first time in the NCAA Tournament, Dallas isn’t a far drive from Waco. Expect a ton of Baylor fans in attendance at this game, and they should have little trouble dispatching Missouri State out of the Missouri Valley Conference.
The second game in this regional should be one of the best games in the Sweet 16. Mississippi State has looked like a No. 1 seed at times this season, and Stanford has been the standard of excellence in the Pac-12. In what should be a very close game, look for Mississippi State to reach the Elite Eight.
(1) South Carolina Gamecocks vs. (4) Oregon State Beavers; (2) UCLA Bruins vs. (6) Kentucky Wildcats
South Carolina is the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament, and it will have little trouble with the Oregon State Beavers in the first game in Greenville.
UCLA is the second seed in Greenville, and they will take on the only 6 seed to reach the Sweet 16 in the Kentucky Wildcats. Kentucky’s Cinderella run will end in the Sweet 16 with a blowout loss to a talented UCLA Bruins team.
(1) Oregon Ducks vs. (5) Indiana Hoosiers; (2) UConn Huskies vs. (3) DePaul Blue Demons
Oregon will be playing in its home state in this regional, and that will give it a huge advantage. Taking on an Indiana squad out of the Big Ten Conference won’t be an easy task, but Sabrina Ionescu is simply too good to let them lose.
In the other game in this regional, it will be the UConn Huskies taking on the DePaul Blue Demons. UConn is not used to being a No. 2 seed in the NCAA Women’s Tournament, but they will look like a No. 1 seed in this game.
(1) Maryland Terrapins vs. (5) Texas A&M Aggies; (2) Louisville Cardinals vs. (3) Gonzaga Bulldogs
Big Ten Champion Maryland will be the top seed in the Fort Wayne Regional, and it will have little trouble in the Sweet 16 round. The Terrapins will dispatch of the Texas A&M Aggies quickly and convincingly to reach the Elite Eight.
The other game in Fort Wayne should feature the Louisville Cardinals taking on the Gonzaga Bulldogs. Both teams have looked like a top seed at times this season, but Louisville is the better team. The Cardinals advance to the Elite Eight.
Women’s Elite Eight Picks
(1) Baylor Bears vs. (3) Mississippi State Bulldogs
This game could very well be the Women’s National Championship Game in some years, as these two teams are both special. Mississippi State could easily be a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Women’s Tournament, but it will get to the Elite Eight no matter what seed it is.
Baylor is the reigning National Champion, and it’s hard to see it not advancing to the Final Four, at least. The Bears are loaded with talent, and they should be able to wear down the Bulldogs in this matchup. In what could be a thriller, take the Baylor Bears to win the Dallas Regional.
(1) South Carolina Gamecocks vs. (2) UCLA Bruins
South Carolina is the No. 1 overall seed for a reason, and it will show why in the Greenville Regional. UCLA should advance to the Elite Eight, but its magical run will end at the hands of South Carolina.
There just isn’t going to be a team in the Greenville Regional that can compete with South Carolina, and the Bruins are no different.
(1) Oregon Ducks vs. (2) UConn Huskies
If this is the Elite Eight matchup in Portland, there is no doubt that this will be the most anticipated game of the four in this round. Oregon and UConn met up earlier this season, and the Ducks were able to earn a convincing 18-point victory in that game.
The Huskies had no answer for Sabrina Ionescu in that first meeting of the season, but you have to think they will have some tricks up their sleeve in this game. The Huskies very rarely miss getting to the Final Four, but that just doesn’t seem to be in the cards this year.
UConn will keep this game much closer than the first meeting, but Oregon will win the Portland Regional to advance to the Final Four.
(1) Maryland Terrapins vs. (2) Louisville Cardinals
The Fort Wayne Regional feels like the best chance for a lower-seeded team to advance, as Maryland is the weakest No. 1 seed. Louisville will have to play well to win this game, but it will have a “homecourt advantage” in this game.
Expect this game to be close throughout, but the Cardinals will reach the Final Four.
Women’s Final Four Picks
No. 1 seeds have a history of representing the Final Four in the NCAA Women’s Tournament, and we think that will be the case again this season. We are predicting that three No. 1 seeds will reach the Final Four in New Orleans, with No. 2-seeded Louisville joining the club.
It’s very rare that there aren’t at least three top seeds in the Women’s Final Four, and this year is going to follow suit. If the tournament plays out the way that we predict, then it’s time to break down the two Final Four matchups and make our picks.
Let’s take a look at the two semifinal matchups, and predict which teams will make it to the NCAA Women’s Tournament Final.
South Carolina vs. Louisville:
South Carolina will reach the Final Four by winning the Greenville Regional in front of a huge home crowd. The Gamecocks have been the top-ranked team in the country for much of the season, and that gives them the top overall seed in the NCAA Tournament.
Louisville will be the only No. 2 seed to reach the Final Four this season after pulling off an upset in the Fort Wayne Regional. The Cardinals have been the best team in the ACC all season long, and their terrific offense will get them to this game.
Louisville will be a pesky team to get rid of, but the Gamecocks are simply too good. Expect this game to be much closer than the experts expect, but Louisville heads home as South Carolina advances.
Baylor vs. Oregon:
The Baylor Bears suffered just one loss in the regular season, but they recovered in a big way. Baylor dominated its competition in the Big 12 Conference this season, just like it has over the last five seasons.
The Bears will have the better overall team in this game, but Oregon has Sabrina Ionescu. Ionescu is the only Division I basketball player in history to record at least 2,000 points, 1,000 assists, and 1,000 rebounds in her career. The Ducks star had a huge fan in the late Kobe Bryant, and she looks to be on a mission to honor the fallen NBA legend.
This game is going to be a minor upset, but the Oregon Ducks sneak by the Baylor Bears to reach the title game.
Women’s March Madness Finals Picks
South Carolina vs. Oregon:
We have reached the Finals of the Women’s March Madness Tournament, and there are just two teams left standing. There has been plenty of drama and excitement in the first 62 games of the tournament, but the best game is saved for last.
Top seeds traditionally dominate the Women’s March Madness Tournament, and we will have a matchup of No. 1 seeds in the championship game. The Oregon Ducks will square off against the South Carolina Gamecocks in what should be an absolute thriller.
South Carolina has been the most dominant team in the country throughout the regular season, and it is going to continue that in the NCAA Tournament. The problem for the Gamecocks is that they are going to run into the best player in the country in the title game.
Ionescu might go down as the greatest women’s college basketball player of all-time, but she needs a championship to add to her resume. We think that this is her time, and she is simply not going to let the Ducks lose this season.
This might not be a popular pick, but we think the Oregon Ducks will win the 2020 NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament.