Five double-digit seeds are still alive through the first round of the NCAA women’s basketball tournament. Just because Cinderella’s slippers don’t come out on the first day of play doesn’t mean someone isn’t refurbishing them for use. It takes more than one win with a double-digit seed to become the darling of the tournament, but it starts there. So here are the first-round candidates, along with how many Yahoo Fantasy users picked each to advance, and why the slipper might fit.
Mississippi State No. 11 (Greenville 1)
Yahoo brackets: 18.2%
Next: No. 3 Notre Dame (3:30 p.m. ET Sunday, ESPN)
OK, this one is actually worthy of the slipper. The Bulldogs (22-10) became the first team to play in the first four and advance to the second round. St. John’s almost joined them a day later until North Carolina’s Deja Kelly drove in the winner.
Mississippi State took down No. 11 Illinois, 70-56, and followed it up by sweeping No. 6 Creighton’s Cinderella status in Bluejay style. The Bulldogs hit 11 of 19 3-point attempts, tying a season high. Here’s why we really like the Bulldogs as Cinderella. They will advance to face Notre Dame, which is without point guard Olivia Miles and 3-point threat Dara Mabrey.
No. 10 Georgia (Seattle 4)
Yahoo brackets: 39.7%
Next: No. 2 Iowa (3 p.m. ET Sunday, ABC)
Georgia (22-11) was a trendy upset pick, especially after Florida State announced ACC leading scorer and Freshman of the Year Ta’Niya Latson would not play. The Seminoles were also without O’Mariah Gordon and played with a short bench. Georgia has a top-35 scoring defense allowing 58.3 points per game. We don’t love their chances against the Hawkeyes’ high-flying attack, but it will be an interesting matchup to watch.
No. 12 Florida Gulf Coast (Greenville 2)
Yahoo brackets: 18.8%
Next: No. 4 Villanova (Monday, TBD)
We were high on FGCU on Yahoo Sports, as were certain other outlets. The Eagles (31-3) are experienced in the tournament, one of the best pure shooting teams in the nation and high in 3-point rate. But against No. 5 Washington State, they relied on points inside the arc and made a season-low five 3s. Going into the paint against Maddy Siegrist will be a bigger task, and 3s must come at a premium.
No. 10 Princeton (Seattle 3)
Yahoo brackets: 28.1%
Next: No. 2 Utah (7 p.m. ET Sunday, ESPN2)
Don’t count out the Ivy Leaguers. The Tigers (24-5) are first-round upset winners again this season after knocking off Kentucky and falling by 1 point to Indiana last season. Princeton’s defense down the stretch in a close game against NC State was incredible, and necessary as the offense seemed to play on a five-second shot clock every possession. The 13 steals against the Wolfpack tied the Tigers’ season-high four times, including in a 5-point loss to UConn. Utah’s offense could be too much, even if Princeton hits eight 3s again.
No. 12 Toledo (Seattle 3)
Yahoo brackets: 15.89%
Next: No. 4 Tennessee (Monday, TBD)
The percentage of people who picked Toledo in our bracket game is so low that we’re dividing it by one-hundredths. The Rockets (29-4) won the Mid-American and earned their first NCAA Tournament win since 1996. It’s their fourth all-time. Toledo and Iowa State matched up nicely on paper. The Rockets shot nearly 50%, one reason we like them going forward, and got two of their four double-digit scorers off the bench. They rank 20th in field goal percentage and 15th in free throws. What we really like about their chances against Tennessee is that they don’t turn the ball over much, averaging 12.4 per game (16th) and a 15.8% rate (29th).