#6 Kentucky (19-11) vs #11 Princeton (24-4) – Bridgeport Regional
Ivy League champion Princeton must have looked at their #22 ranking in the NCAA’s NET measurement and figured they might be wearing home jerseys in the first round. Instead, the Tigers ended up a #11 seed in Bloomington, Indiana facing surprise SEC Tournament champion Kentucky. The Wildcats pushed themselves off the bubble when they defeated the top three seeds in the SEC, including overall national #1 South Carolina to claim the automatic bid. While Kentucky’s confidence is sky high, they would be wise not to overlook Princeton, who locks down opponents to the tune of 50.9 points per game, which ranks third in the nation.
#7 UCF (25-3) vs #10 Florida (21-10) – Bridgeport Regional
If defense wins in the tournament, then UCF will be a popular pick. The Golden Knights lead the NCAA in scoring defense allowing just 47.5 points per game. UCF has won their last 13 games going into the NCAA Tournament and has held eight of the last nine opponents to less than 50 points. UCF will have to stop in-state rival Florida who boasts three players averaging double figures in scoring, led by Kiara Smith at 14.6 points per game.
— Gators Women’s Basketball (@GatorsWBK) March 15, 2022
#6 Georgia (20-9) vs #11 Dayton (25-5) – Greensboro Regional
With the introduction of the women’s tournament’s inaugural First Four, there’s was a level of mystery to Georgia’s first opponent. That mystery was dropped somewhere in the third quarter of last night’s game, as Dayton took a 27-point lead on DePaul. The game ultimately finished 88-57, with Dayton cruising into the First Round and into this matchup with Georgia. Erin Whalen stood out, going 7/12 from three, picking up 28 points in the process.
— NCAA March Madness (@MarchMadnessWBB) March 17, 2022
In the regular season Dayton dropped the Atlantic 10a title games to UMass but benefits from one of basketball’s top point guards in Araion Bradshaw, who ranks in the top 25 in the country with a 2.38 assist-to-turnover ratio.
#8 Washington State (19-10) vs #9 Kansas State (19-12) – Spokane Regional
On January 23, Kansas State’s Ayoke Lee served notice that she had to be considered one of the top players in the country. Lee dropped 61 points on Oklahoma, with an incredibly efficient 23/30 shooting performance, breaking the 35-year old NCAA single game scoring record. Lee averages 22.4 points per game, good for seventh nationally. Washington State stumbled in the Pac 12 tournament and will look to 6-3 center Bella Murekatete to try to slow down Lee. Murekatete leads the Cougars with 50 blocked shots this season.
NCAA 61 Point record for Ayoka Lee pic.twitter.com/YtJIZqNvi4
— Barstool Sports (@barstoolsports) January 23, 2022
#2 Iowa (23-7) vs #15 Illinois State (19-13) – Greensboro Regional
When Iowa’s Caitlin Clark takes the floor, everyone will be watching. Or at least, they’ll be waiting for the Steph Curry-range highlights to appear on the internet. As the nation’s leading scorer at 27.4 points a game, also leads the country in assists with 7.9 per game. Clark has scored 40 points five different times this season, including a 41-point outburst against Nebraska in the Big Ten tournament semifinals. MVC tournament champion Illinois State is led by their own scoring star Juliunn Redmond who posts 17.6 points per game.