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This is our time

Basketball+going+through+a+hoop / Markus Spiske
Basketball going through a hoop

The 2024 Women’s NCAA Basketball Tournament is underway with the Selection show being two Sundays ago with big games and rivalries coming along the way. 

Teams that got into the tournament were a wide variety of Division 1 and Division 2 schools; before this tournament, there was a conference tournament for each team, and whoever won their conference tournament was punched a ticket to the NCAA tournament. 

They are looking at some of these matchups that could happen with people’s predictions moving onto the Elite Eight. If both No.1 Iowa and USC make it past the Elite Eight they will be playing each other in the Final Four and people expect this to be one of the best matchups in this tournament. According to each team’s stats over the season,  this to be one of the best duo matchups between Caitlin Clark for Iowa and Juju Watkins for USC. These two players are their team leaders, with their team relying on them heavily. With this matchup, Clark usually scores about 32.3 points per game while Watkins scores about 27 ppg.  Seeing these two players go at each other is going to be a sight to see. Whichever one can constantly score while helping their team will win the game. 

Another matchup that could happen is No. 2 Notre Dame vs No.1 South Carolina. Notre Dame has many key players who can shoot from the mid-range and even 3-point range. One of these players is Hannah Hidalgo; she has been a key player for Notre Dame because she can constantly score, but plays intense defense. South Carolina has a great post player Camilla Cardoso, who is their dominant scorer. Along with some guards who can also score from 3-point range such as Te-Hina Paopao and Raven Johnson. If this matchup happens it will be all about scoring for these teams and having great defense. 

A matchup that could happen to get into the Elite Eight is No.3 Uconn vs No.2 Ohio State. If this game happens, many factors could likely happen in this game with Ohio State with their press. The press has caused so many team problems to bring about turnovers and frustrations on other teams. OSU averages about 21.2 turnovers if their press is working well. Uconn has a good post player Aaliyah Edwards, who averages around 17.8 ppg. Along with multiple guards on the floor, they can shoot 3-pointers and make an average of 7.1 per game. This game is going to be about if Uconn can defeat the press then OSU will back off and play defense. OSU could have a slight size advantage so using the post players will be crucial. 

The final matchup to look at going into the Elite Eight is No.1 Texas vs No. 2 Stanford. Diving right into Texas, they have a forward, Madison Booker, who is crucial for them. They also have multiple guards that play good defense such as Shaylee Gonzales and Rori Harmon. They cause many turnovers per game which allows them to get points off turnovers. Compared to Stanford who has two post players that have multiple of their points who are Cameron Brink and Kiki Irlafen. If these two teams play against each other Stanford is going to have a size advantage in the post so giving the ball to the post player could be crucial. Texas plays with multiple guards on the floor at all times that can score from mid-range as well as from the 3-point range which allows Texas to keep up with Stanford. 

Overall, as the tournament goes on there could be good head-to-head matchups and even some upsets from teams people aren’t expecting to go far. People will have multiple predictions about how they think all of these matches are going to end up. Some are going to be close, like coming down to the wire and some are going to be blowouts but it is a whole month of the sport that people love watching.

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