Winners and losers of this year's women's NCAA tournament bracket

All four teams are perennial powerhouses in their respective conferences and they will no doubt make the 2018 NCAA women's basketball tournament a lot of fun to watch.

How motivated is Notre Dame to be playing in the NIT?

The quartet of top seeds all have a legitimate chance to win the event, but don't count out defending champion SC, who is a No. 2 seed in UConn's region. But given that Sherri Coale is more willing than most coaches to go to hard places, losing this season at South Dakota State, hopefully this bid at least sends a message about scheduling. Ohio State and Texas A&M are the three and four seeds in that region.

Stanford potentially is headed to Lexington for the third straight year if it can advance.

Their only defeat came at the hands of SC in the SEC tournament final, a result that the Gamecocks used as a statement of intent. "We're a little bit older, a little bit more mature, we have two pieces that we didn't have". Yes, and the Cardinals are probably as happy as their fans that they could play in a regional so close to home. You'll be able to find a couple of potential National Basketball Association first-rounders, a few giant killers and a potential upset looming in the first round. Purdue, Rutgers, Southern Cal and West Virginia were the first four teams out. After early wins against LSU and DePaul, Northern Colorado overcame a midseason lull and the departure of the team's third-leading scorer, Courtney Smith, to enter the NCAA tournament with a 13-game winning streak. Two of those losses came to the Cardinals. In fact, if seeds hold, we could be looking at four incredible Elite Eight matchups. We didn't really worry about the new rules, we just wanted to go out and do what we do. But the Gamecocks keep getting sent elsewhere, while Stanford has been shipped to Kentucky every time.

The victor of the second round game will advance to the NCAA Regional Semifinal, which will be played at Times Union Center in Albany, N.Y. on Saturday, March 24.

Therefore, keep an eye on all of the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Conference breakdown: ACC (8), SEC (7), Pac-12 (6), Big Ten (6), Big 12 (4), Big East (4), American (2), Atlantic 10 (2), Mid-American (2). Ohio State earned a No. 3 seed and will play host to No. 14 George Washington in the opening round Saturday, March 17, at 1:30 p.m. The Huskies are about to face critical moments - doubtfully in Storrs, perhaps in Albany, certainly in Columbus, Ohio, if they advance - that will make or break their quest for another ideal season.

Tip-off is scheduled for 11 a.m.

✨ So fresh. So clean.

Vanessa Coleman

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