Sports

March Madness Schedule, Tip Times and Analysis for Women’s Sweet 16

The sector within the N.C.A.A. girls’s basketball event might be right down to single digits by Saturday night time. The spherical of 16 motion on Saturday airs beginning at 11:30 a.m. Japanese time on ESPN and might be performed on the regional websites in Wichita, Kan., and Bridgeport, Conn.

The slate options established applications competing to take care of their high-achieving standing quos, in addition to a number of upstarts combating to show that their early spherical wins weren’t flukes. Beneath are some things to observe for in every of the day’s video games.

All occasions are Japanese.

Earlier than final season, the No. 3-seeded Wolverines had by no means performed within the spherical of 16. No. 10-seed South Dakota left “unprecedented” within the mud with its first-round win this 12 months — the one N.C.A.A. event victory the varsity has ever had.

Of their sport on Saturday (6:30 p.m., ESPN2), Michigan and South Dakota might be competing to proceed breaking new floor. That is the senior ahead Naz Hillmon’s final likelihood to push the Wolverines into the spherical of 8. Up to now, she’s performed as if she’s aiming to profit from it: She’s averaged 25.5 factors over the primary two video games of the event whereas drawing defenders to open up her teammates.

Now she’ll face the Coyotes, who already shut down one other extremely regarded W.N.B.A. prospect — NaLyssa Smith, No. 2-seeded Baylor’s star senior ahead — within the second spherical. South Dakota’s fifth-year gamers Hannah Sjerven, Chloe Lamb and Liv Korngable lead the staff’s to date insurmountable protection, which Michigan — not a uniquely prolific offensive staff — must discover a solution for. Both manner, on the finish of the sport, one staff might be going the place it’s by no means gone earlier than.

Final 12 months, the Wolfpack made historical past by incomes their program’s first-ever No. 1 seed within the N.C.A.A. event. The staff, which has accrued the third-most N.C.A.A. event appearances with out profitable a title in Division I, appeared to have an actual shot at a nationwide championship. Then, the unthinkable occurred: N.C. State misplaced within the spherical of 16 for the third straight 12 months.

This 12 months, the top-seeded staff’s path to the Closing 4 is much more difficult. The Wolfpack will face the No. 5 seed Notre Dame (11:30 a.m., ESPN), one in all solely three groups to beat them in the course of the common season. The Combating Irish might be recent from obliterating No. 4-seeded Oklahoma on the Sooners’ house courtroom, 108-64, cracking the century mark for the primary time of their program’s event historical past.

The Wolfpack will want Elissa Cunane, their 6-foot-5 senior heart and main scorer, to dominate across the basket. She scored simply 4 factors in N.C. State’s second-round matchup, nevertheless it made little distinction as a result of the Wolfpack’s skilled guards have been hitting photographs from behind the arc and put the sport out of attain nearly instantly. The Irish don’t have an amazing matchup for a participant with Cunane’s dimension and ability, although, so the burden of the win will relaxation totally on her shoulders.

Even in an off 12 months — which this season has been for Connecticut, due to a slew of accidents and an uncharacteristic 5 regular-season losses — the Huskies are nonetheless a formidable opponent. They’d be even when the N.C.A.A. choice committee hadn’t slotted the second-seeded staff within the Bridgeport regional, the place they’ll primarily be taking part in in entrance of a house crowd.

However, the No. 3 Hoosiers will attempt to knock out Connecticut earlier than the spherical of 8, which has not occurred since 1993. Once they play on Saturday (2 p.m., ESPN), will probably be the primary time the groups have met within the common or postseason. They’ve very completely different strengths.

Connecticut’s centerpiece is the sophomore phenom Paige Bueckers, who remains to be regaining her footing after lacking a piece of the common season with a leg harm, whereas Indiana will depend on the senior guard Grace Berger, who hit the powerful layup that hardly carried the staff over No. 11 Princeton within the second spherical. Becoming a member of Berger within the beginning lineup for the Hoosiers are two fifth-year guards, Ali Patberg and Nicole Cardaño-Hillary, who’ve offered veteran management all season and pushed the staff to the Massive Ten championship sport.

What ought to make Hoosier followers optimistic is that every one of Indiana’s present starters performed within the 2021 event, when the staff pulled off an upset towards No. 1 N.C. State to earn their program’s first journey to the spherical of 8. This may be a much bigger problem, however this Indiana staff is used to being underestimated.

The Hoosiers are additionally almost unknown to Geno Auriemma, who has coached at Connecticut since 1985 however has by no means confronted Indiana. On Friday in Bridgeport, although, he marveled over Indiana’s roster and allowed that he wouldn’t be shocked to see the Hoosiers win the event.

Dorka Juhasz, a UConn ahead who tangled with Indiana when she performed for Ohio State, stated the Huskies would want to play much better than they did on Monday.

“I feel they’re a really aggressive offensive staff,” she stated, “and I feel they’ve a whole lot of good items on the guard spots in addition to the submit. They’re a fairly full staff.”

Out of the previous 12 tournaments, the Cardinals have been to the spherical of 16 in all however two of them. However No. 1-seeded Louisville remains to be on the lookout for its first championship all these journeys later, making it a straightforward staff to miss.

The Cardinals stored their streak going this 12 months. However in addition to a win at house over a depleted Connecticut within the common season, the Cardinals’ résumé simply isn’t all that convincing. An enormous-time victory over a storied however susceptible staff like No. 4-seeded Tennessee, which they’ll face on Saturday (4 p.m., ESPN2), would power the nationwide viewers to take discover.

Within the second spherical, the Woman Volunteers barely escaped the No. 12 seed Belmont, which pushed Tennessee to the brink. Louisville, for its half, beat No. 9-seeded Gonzaga with out a lot pressure, but additionally with out ever taking the sport absolutely out of attain. The ultimate rating was 68-59.

Now, Louisville has an opportunity to make an announcement. To take action, will probably be counting on the sophomore guard Hailey Van Lith, who scored 21 factors towards Gonzaga. Tennessee has been making an attempt to compensate for being with out the injured Jordan Horston, its main scorer and rebounder, however there’s a likelihood she could possibly be again on the courtroom this weekend, including one other dimension to this advanced matchup.

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