Women’s NCAA Tournament Second Round Picks: Georgia-Iowa, Arizona-Maryland and More

Watching Creighton and Gonzaga fight mightily from 3, Iowa smashing the spread against Southeast Louisiana, Mississippi State hitting everything it threw in the basket, Miami coming back from a 17-point deficit and James Madison the state Ohio gave it their all is a good reminder that anything can happen in March. Trends and stats from the regular season aren’t always translated in March.

My overall record (picks based on spread, not outright winners) from the first round is 19-13. I underestimated Notre Dame to cover the spread, overestimated South Carolina’s ability to hold a nearly 50-point lead and should have trusted my gut with FGCU. But that’s part of the madness, isn’t it?

On to the second round.

If you’re unfamiliar with betting numbers, the general idea is that you subtract the number from the score, and that should do the trick. So, “South Carolina -25.5” basically means the Gamecocks should win against South Florida by 26 points. The .5 lets you pick a side so there are no ties. In short, the team with the “-” number next to it gives the other team a big head start in this pictorial world. If “PK” is listed, it means the teams are rated as equal strength and it’s a straight win or loss.


No. 8 South Florida vs. No. 1 South Carolina (-25.5), 1 p.m. ET, ESPN

South Carolina earned an easy 72-40 win over Norfolk State but failed to cover the massive 49.5 point spread. The Gamecocks shot about eight percent below their season average (46.8 percent) and played sloppy at times. But South Carolina has relied on what has worked all season – dominating the glass, controlling the color and scoring buckets.

South Florida was often overwhelmed and struggled to find an offensive rhythm in the first round win over Marquette. The Bulls shot poorly from 3 (11.2 percent) but found success getting the ball inside. They need to shoot a lot better and fight on the boards to give South Carolina a game. Success in perimeter shooting is paramount. The selection: South Carolina

#10 Georgia vs. #2 Iowa (-12.5), 3 p.m., ABC

Iowa destroyed Southeastern Louisiana by 52 points and Caitlin Clark (26 points, 12 assists and seven boards) did her thing. The Hawkeyes keep rolling by playing team basketball, protecting the glass (36 defensive rebounds) and making frantic plays. Georgia survived the first round without Ta’Niya Latson, who is out of the tournament. The Bulldogs need to slow and disrupt the Hawkeyes’ offense and control the boards. But Iowa has size and strength in color, as well as multiple perimeter threats. The shot on goal continues. The selection: Iowa


Surprise picks for the women’s NCAA tournament: Three potential surprises worth chasing on Sunday

No. 11 Mississippi State vs. No. 3 Notre Dame (-6.5), 3:30 p.m. ESPN

Mississippi State outplayed Creighton the entire court from start to finish, shooting nearly 50 percent from the field and 57.9 percent from 3 (they averaged 36.1 percent this season). Notre Dame is without Olivia Miles and Dara Mabrey but looked like a complete team against southern Utah. The Irish face stiffer competition in the state of Mississippi that’s tough and rough enough to get out of the First Four. With four Notre Dame starters averaging double digits, the Bulldogs need to step up their defense. The selection: Notre-Dame

No. 9 South Dakota State vs. No. 1 Virginia Tech (-9.5), 5 p.m., ESPN2

South Dakota State had enough offensive punch to get past the USC defense even though they shot just 20 percent from 3. The Jackrabbits won the rebound fight but turned the ball over 20 times. You can’t be that lax about Virginia Tech. The Hokies’ defense isn’t as robust as the Trojans’, but they are solid offensively and color the ball. You can also strike from the outside. The Jackrabbits need another big game from senior forward Myah Sellend (29 points vs. USC). Expect a back-and-forth battle in a game that could be a lot tighter than many are anticipating. Virginia Tech wins but loses against the spread. The selection: State of South Dakota

No. 7 Arizona vs. No. 2 Maryland (-9.5), 5:30 p.m. ESPN

The Terrapins play strong basketball at both ends, blowing out first-round opponent Holy Cross. Arizona struggled to score in the second and fourth quarters of their first-round win over West Virginia, and the Wildcats shot just 16.7 percent from 3. They can’t afford to do the same against Maryland. The selection: Maryland


Maryland, poised for a deep tournament run, was a team of strangers facing a cabin retreat

No. 10 Princeton vs. No. 2 Utah (-9.5), 7 p.m., ESPN2

Princeton’s brand defense held the Tigers in the game against NC State, forcing 20 turnovers and using 13 steals and four blocks to an upset. Utah amassed 103 points against Gardner-Webb, shooting 58.7 percent from the field and looking unstoppable. Princeton will need a Herculean defensive effort, especially against youngster Alissa Pili (career-high 33 points on Friday). The Tigers need to contain the Utes from reaching their goal-scoring potential (84.1 ppg) and also figure out how to rack up enough points to keep up. The gap could be too big. The selection: Utah

No. 6 Michigan vs. No. 3 LSU (-10.5), 7:30 p.m. ESPN

Michigan, who defeated UNLV on Friday, must put together another full game against LSU. The Tigers had tough middle quarters against Hawaii, but LSU’s paint points made up for it 1 of 14 from 3. The plucky Wolverines won’t give double-double machine Angel Reese an easy night inside, and the Tigers will need more of them backcourt. Alexis Morris and Flau’jae Johnson combined for just 16 points against Hawaii. LSU will get past Michigan, but it will take teamwork. The selection: Michigan

No. 8 Ole Miss vs. No. 1 Stanford (-11), 9:30 p.m., ESPN

Ole Miss’ defense against Gonzaga was impressive. But for a team that’s held Utah, LSU and South Carolina to under 70 points this season, that shouldn’t have come as a surprise. The Rebels controlled the pace and held the Bulldogs to 5.9 percent 3-point shooting (of their 40.5 percent). That’s harder to achieve against Stanford. The Cardinal struck just eight off-lane in a first-round win over Sacred Heart. That will be the key for Ole Miss. During the season, the Cardinal struggled against strong defensive teams that crowded the colors and forced jumpers. This matchup could be closer than the spread suggests. But Stanford still wins. The selection: Ole Fraulein

Check out Monday’s second round picks again.

(Photo by Shaina Pellington: Tony Quinn / Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)


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