SEC
South Carolina players celebrate a basket during the second half in a second-round college basketball game against South Florida in the NCAA Tournament, Sunday, March 19, 2023, in Columbia, S.C. (AP Photo/Sean Rayford)

SEC Finding Success in NCAA Women’s Tournament

An initial seven Southeastern Conference women’s teams received bids to the NCAA tournament. Four of these seven teams remain alive and in the hunt to bring the SEC a national championship.

Alive and Fighting SEC Teams

The SEC has had excellent representation in March. South Carolina, Ole Miss and LSU have each secured spots in the Sweet 16 with Tennessee having the chance to do against Toledo

Sweet 16

South Carolina entered March as the number one overall seed and has shown why this was the case all tournament. The Gamecocks have a mean point differential of 31.5 so far, dominating anyone and anything in their way. Winning both games this tournament by over 30 shows more than just a good team. South Carolina embodies what it means to conquer, leaving no doubt in any of their wins. South Carolina will play the winner of Oklahoma and UCLA for a chance to advance to the Elite Eight.

Ole Miss began their conquest to a national championship by obliterating Gonzaga in the round of 64. By beating the Zags by 23, the Rebels established themselves as a threat to anyone in the tournament. This proved to be true in the Round of 32 when Mississippi stunned the one seed Stanford Cardinals, sending the heavy favorites packing early. Ole Miss looks to continue their hot streak in the Sweet 16 against the winner of Louisville and Texas.

The LSU Tigers’ path to the sweet 16 has come smooth, and almost uncontested. The Tigers defeated the 14 seed Hawaii by more than 20 points in the Round of 64 and did the same to the Michigan Wolverines in the Round of 32. LSU squares up with Utah in the Sweet 16, their first opponent to hold a higher ranking than them thus far in the tournament. Look for Tigers standout Angel Reese to impose her dominance over the Utes as she did against Michigan when she recorded 25 points and an astounding 24 rebounds.

Round of 32

The Lady Vols look to be the fourth SEC team to advance to 3rd round of the big dance. Tennessee is coming off of a ridiculous 45-point win in the first round over Saint Louis. Winning by 45 points doesn’t just signify a good team. It highlights a Vols team that was matched up against a squad that didn’t even belong in there with them.

In the next round, the Vols come across their first true test of the tournament in Toledo. The Rockets may be a 12 seed, but that did not stop them from dismantling five seed Iowa State in the first round.

If Tennessee can get past Toledo, the SEC would make up 25 percent of the Sweet 16.

Down and Out

Mississippi State, Georgia and Alabama each take a back seat for the rest of march as they pack their things and head home early.

Round of 32

Georgia was able to defeat Florida State in the opening round but fell short against Iowa in the round of 32. The Bulldogs played Iowa tight but ultimately could not keep up with the second-seeded Hawkeyes. Georgia cannot complain over their season’s end result, a tournament win, but absolutely can be hungry for more. The Bulldogs lose 8 seniors after this season and will have to look to their young talent to carry them into a better future.

Mississippi State got past their first hurdle in Creighton but dropped a valiant loss in the second round to a more complete Notre Dame. Hail State heads home with their heads high, but their bellies grumbling. This was a team that was only five points away from upsetting a solid three-seeded Notre Dame. The Bulldogs now head back to the drawing board and begin planning for next season.

Round of 64

Alabama did not obtain their desired result this season. Coming into the tournament as a 1o seed, Alabamas’ regular season was nowhere near where they wanted it to be. Losing in the first round of the NCAA tournament was just the cherry on top of Alabamas’ unsuccessful season. As the saying goes, out with the old and in with the new. The Crimson Tide are a very old roster consisting mainly of upperclassmen and graduate students. Focusing on recruiting and nurturing their young talent seems to be the best next step for Bama.

About Nate Bilgoray

Nate Bilgoray is a sophomore at the University of Florida studying sports journalism. Nate is from New York and is an avid fan of the Yankees, Giants and Knicks. He loves mixed martial arts and would love to do play-by-play for the UFC one day. Nate is a host for WRUF's talk show, the sports lab, and is a play-by-play broadcaster for The Orange and Blue Sports Network.

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