Six Bets For Women’s NCAA Tournament: Who Can Beat South Carolina?
The Gamecocks are 32-0 heading into the tournament
The first round of the 2023 NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament begins Friday, and all eyes will be on South Carolina.
The Gamecocks are the undisputed favorite to win it all, and it’s not difficult to see why. They have one of the game’s best coaches in Dawn Staley, and they have top players in Zia Cooke and Aliyah Boston, who have led the team to a perfect 32-0 heading into their campaign to repeat as national champions.
But anything can happen in March Madness, and the SEC champions could be caught in a tough matchup if its shots aren’t falling on a particular night. There are multiple teams in this season’s bracket capable of making a deep run, and here are six bets worth considering in the 2023 NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament.
Maryland to win national title, 65-1 at FanDuel, Greenville 1 region winner, 13-1 at Caesars
The Terrapins fell to the Iowa Hawkeyes in the semifinals of the Big Ten Tournament, but they earned the No. 2 seed in the Greenville 1 region. Senior guard Diamond Miller didn’t play when Maryland took on South Carolina earlier this season, but the Terrapins kept the game close in the first half before the Gamecocks pulled away.
Maryland has the best chance out of any team in the region to dethrone South Carolina, and Miller would play a big part in that if the two teams match up in the Elite Eight. Brenda Frese’s squad was 1-1 against Iowa this season, and they lost to the Indiana Hosiers, but they did beat the UConn Huskies. There’s no questioning the Terps’ ability to hang with the nation’s best teams.
Indiana to win the national title, 10-1 at BetMGM
Teri Moren’s squad arguably has the firepower to match the talent South Carolina boasts. Senior forward Mackenzie Holmes is one of the best players heading into the tournament, and the Hosiers are well-balanced on both sides of the floor. The Utah Utes could give Indiana trouble if the sides face off in the Elite Eight, but it would be a surprise if IU didn’t make it out of the Greenville 2 region.
The Hosiers stumbled into the Big Ten Tournament with a loss to Iowa in the regular-season finale, and they lose to the Ohio State Buckeyes in the semifinals of the tournament. But Indiana has handled its business through most of the regular season, and it has a fighting chance if it makes it to the national title game.
Iowa to win national title, 20-1 at FanDuel, to win region at +225 at DraftKings
Caitlin Clark will be the must-see star of the tournament. The junior guard led the Hawkeyes to win the Big Ten tournament, and Lisa Bluder’s squad has improved on the defensive end this season to match Clark’s scoring output. Iowa gets a tough draw in the Seattle 4 region with potential opponents in the Duke Blue Devils, Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders and top-seed Stanford Cardinal in its path.
But if you want to put your trust in Clark and hope players like senior forward Monika Czinano have a strong tournament, picking them to win the region is a safe bet. Iowa would potentially then face South Carolina in the Final Four. It’s possible Clark has the game of her career and shoots lights out, and the Gamecocks are unable. If the Hawkeyes can pull off the win, it’s anyone’s tournament from there.
UConn to win national title, 9-1 at Caesars
The Huskies have not been on the dominant side of the women’s basketball game in recent years, but the nation still knows not to count out UConn. Aaliyah Edwards led the way for Geno Auriemma’s squad in the Big East tournament, and a healthy Azzi Fudd, who made her return during the conference tournament, will make UConn a difficult team to defend.
Senior forwards Dorka Juhasz and Lou Lopez Senechal have stepped up during Fudd’s recovery from a knee injury since Jan. 15, and UConn gave South Carolina one of its closest games this season with a 81-77 loss on Feb. 5. The Huskies potentially would get a difficult Final Four opponent in Indiana, but if they are able to get past the Hoosiers, they have the depth to match up against South Carolina.