Women's Basketball 2018 NCAA Tournament Kansas City Regional Overview

Kansas City Regional Overview
The Kansas City Regional is headlined by defending national runner-up Mississippi State. The Bulldogs were virtually flawless throughout the season up until the SEC Tournament when they ran into South Carolina and lost to the Gamecocks in the title game. Texas, UCLA, NC State, Maryland, and Iowa provide a little bit of competitive depth to this regional that will provide for some potential upsets in the second round and the Sweet 16.
Who Can Win?
Mississippi State has been dominant at home and should get out of the opening weekend without much duress and won’t get any major tests until the Sweet 16 and beyond. Texas has a great shot to get out of the Kansas City Regional as they have great guard play led by Brooke McCarty and they don’t have to deal with their nemesis Baylor. UCLA is loaded with talent, led by Jordin Canada and Monique Billings, and if they can avoid getting upset by Iowa in the second round, the Bruins will be a dangerous threat to get to Columbus and the Final Four.
Who Can Surprise?
NC State is good enough defensively to cause teams some problems as they were able to hold Louisville to 64 points in the ACC Tournament. If the Wolfpack can get past Maryland in the second round and get a shot at Mississippi State, they could be able to follow the South Carolina gameplan and grind the tempo of the game down to a halt.
Who’s Hot?
Iowa has won eight out of their last nine games with their lone loss to Minnesota by a score of 90-89 in the Big Ten Tournament. The Hawkeyes have a great ability to win a game at just about any type of tempo, which should serve them well in their first-round matchup with Creighton.
Who’s Cold?
Oklahoma State has lost four of their last six games heading into the NCAA Tournament, including a quick exit from the Big 12 Conference Tournament. The Cowgirls have beaten teams like UCLA and played Mississippi State tough in a 79-76 loss to the Bulldogs in Starkville back on December 3rd. So, there is talent on this roster, They just need to get themselves back on track to play a Syracuse team that will be a tough out in Starkville.
Upset Alert!
Nebraska over Arizona State in the 7-10 matchup could be a potential upset. The Cornhuskers have enough offensively to cause the Sun Devils some problems on a neutral court down in Austin if they can knock some three-point shots to loosen up Arizona State defensively.
What Possible Matchup is Interesting?
NC State and Maryland will be a fun potential second round matchup between former ACC conference rivals. The Wolfpack are always a tough out at home in Reynolds Coliseum and have beaten top flight teams like Florida State back on February 1st, by a score of 65-56. It would take that type of control of tempo by NC State to beat the Terrapins in the second round.
Which Player Will Dominate?
Teaira McCowan had the ability to change a game down in the post for Mississippi State. McCowan has the athleticism and skill to go off for a double-double on any given night. If the Bulldogs catch fire from the perimeter it should open things up for McCowan to absolutely dominate in the early rounds of the Kansas City regional.
Which System is Tough to Prepare For?
UCLA is going to be tough to prepare for since the combination of Jordin Canada and Monique Billings provide plenty of matchup problems for opposing teams. Double teaming Billings in the post is going to leave plenty of real estate for Canada and her backcourt mates like Kennedy Burke and others to freely penetrate and get easy baskets.