Top Seed Gamecocks, Hokies Ready For Sweet 16 Competition

Plenty of hoop action returns to the court when Sweet 16 matchups of the NCAA women’s basketball national tournament take place on Friday and Saturday.


No. 1 seeds South Carolina and Virginia Tech avoided disaster through the first two rounds of the NCAA women’s basketball national tournament and are still in the hunt for the 2022-23 national championship.

The Gamecocks didn’t have any trouble getting by overmatched Norfolk State (72-40) and South Florida (76-45). The Hokies easily disposed of Chattanooga (58-33) before holding off South Dakota State (72-60) to clinch their spot in the Sweet 16. Both remain frontrunners to make it to the Final Four. Defending national champion South Carolina is still the team to beat. 

On the other hand, the other No. 1 seeds — Indiana and Stanford — ran into trouble in the second round and suffered surprising upsets. No. 9 seed Miami knocked off IU (70-68) and No. 8 seed Mississippi stunned Stanford (54-49). And just like that, those upsets altered two pathways to the Final Four that previously seemed more challenging to navigate with the Hoosiers and Hokies standing in the way.

The Canes, who face No. 4 seed Villanova on Friday, showed plenty of grit, poise and determination by going into Assembly Hall and defeating the Hoosiers on their home court. The Cavinder twins, Haley and Hanna, who are listed No. 3-4 on‘s Women’s NIL 100 with NIL valuations of $851K, did their part in Miami’s backcourt to help with the win. They combined for 12 points, 3 assists and 3 steals. Hanna, who finished with nine points, made a pair of key free throws during the final seconds of the contest and offered a “shhh” gesture to the Hoosiers crowd after the second foul shot swished the net. Barstool has the Canes as 5-point underdogs against Villanova while DraftKings lists Miami as 4-point underdogs.

The Gamecocks, led by national player of the year candidate forward Aliyah Boston, enter the Sweet 16 as the undisputed favorite to win another national title for Dawn Staley. DraftKings and Barstool have the Gamecocks as 17.5-point favorites over their next opponent, No. 4 seed UCLA, which they play on Saturday. FanDuel has the Gamecocks as 16.5-point favorites.

The sportsbooks don’t think the next round will come as easy for the Hokies, who are facing  No. 4 Tennessee on Saturday. FanDuel lists Virginia Tech as 1.5-point favorites over the Vols while DraftKings and Barstool like Virginia Tech as a narrow 1-point favorite in what could turn out as the most competitive matchup of the third round.

In one of the more intriguing matchups, No.3 seed LSU, led by forward Angel Reese, who is listed No. 9 on‘s Women’s NIL 100 with NIL valuations at $384K, faces No. 2 seed Utah on Friday. The sportsbooks actually like the lower seed to come out on top in this matchup. DraftKings and Barstool list LSU as a 5-point favorite against Utah.

Iowa’s sharpshooting guard Caitlin Clark leads the No. 2 seed Hawkeyes into a matchup with No. 6 seed Colorado on Friday. Clark, listed at No. 21 on‘s Women’s NIL 100 with NIL valuations at $160K, is a national player of the year candidate, who has been just as dominant in the tournament as she’d been during the regular season. The sportsbooks list the Hawkeyes as 5.5-point favorites over Colorado.

No. 2 seed Maryland matched up with No. 3 seed Notre Dame on Friday could end up as the most competitive matchups of the third round. Both teams are considered as talented and experienced as any of the teams in the Sweet 16. DraftKings and Barstool list the Terrapins as 5.5-point favorites while FanDuel has Maryland as 4.5-point favorites. Unfortunately, the prize for winning this contest will probably result in an Elite Eight meeting with South Carolina.

No. 5 seed Louisville will take on No. 8 seed Mississippi on Friday in a matchup the sportsbooks have the Cardinals as 2.5-point favorites over the Rebels.

No. 2 seed UConn is a 10-point favorite going against No. 3 seed Ohio State on Saturday.

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