Women's Basketball 2016 NCAA Tournament Sioux Falls Regional Overview


Sioux Falls Regional Overview


South Carolina has been right behind UConn as the number two team in the country all season long and the Gamecocks were rewarded as the number two overall seed in the NCAA Tournament. They also are the top seed in the Sioux Falls Regional and will have an intriguing road to Indianapolis as they have a very balanced bracket.


#1 South Carolina, #2 Arizona State, #3 Ohio State, #4 Syracuse, #5 Florida, #6 West Virginia, #7 Tennessee, #8 George Washington, #9 Kansas State, #10 Green Bay, #11 Princeton, #12 Albany, #13 Army, #14 Buffalo, #15 New Mexico State, #16 Jacksonville


Who Can Win?

South Carolina is the favorite in this regional as they will be at home for the first two rounds and they have plenty of postseason experience throughout their roster. The Gamecocks are led by A’ja Wilson, who took home SEC Player of the Year and SEC Defensive Player of the Year honors this season. Arizona State is dangerous number two seed because of their experience and ability to play lock down defense. The Sun Devils also played South Carolina in a neutral court over in Hawaii and narrowly lost to the Gamecocks by a score of 60-58.


Who Can Surprise?

Ohio State, when clicking on all cylinders, has the ability to battle anyone in the nation on a neutral court. The Buckeyes love to play fast as guards Kelsey Mitchell and Ameryst Alston are a very dynamic combination that will be tough to slow down in the NCAA Tournament. Princeton was the first team out of the Ivy League to earn an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament and they are the type of team that can cause problems on a neutral floor for just about anyone in the NCAA Tournament.


Who’s Hot?

Syracuse is playing well at the right time as they made it to the ACC Conference Tournament Championship game. The Orange have been gradually building up as a program under the direction of head coach Quentin Hillsman and are primed to make some noise and get to the second weekend of the NCAA Tournament. If Alexis Peterson and Brianna Butler can control the tempo of the game in the backcourt, then Syracuse should be able to move on with two wins at the Carrier Dome and on to Sioux Falls.


Who’s Cold?

Tennessee has had a subpar season by their lofty standards. The Lady Vols did get things somewhat turned around in the SEC Conference Tournament. But, with 13 losses and the fact that they are limited offensively, Tennessee is going to be hard pressed to score and if they get behind early against Green Bay, they could be in some serious trouble. Overall, the reality might finally be sinking in that Tennessee is no longer an elite program and is just your standard good basketball team.


Upset Alert!

Green Bay over Tennessee in the 7-10 matchup. The Phoenix are excellent defensively and the Lady Vols struggle to score, especially from the perimeter, which sets up a great recipe for an upset. The trio of Allie LeClaire, Mehyrn Kraker and Jessica Lindstrom lead a very balanced scoring attack that will need to maintain a high level of patience against a very aggressive Tennessee defense.


What Possible Matchup is Interesting?

West Virginia against Ohio State in the second round will be a fun regional rivalry type of matchup in Columbus. Both teams get after their opponents defensively on a nightly basis as they combine to force roughly 35 turnovers per game. The guard play for both teams is also excellent as Bria Holmes leads the Mountaineers in scoring at just under 17 points per game. This matchup could very well get into high 70’s or into the 80’s if both backcourts play up their potential in the opening weekend.


Which Player Will Dominate?

Look for senior guard Tiffany Mitchell to step up in this NCAA Tournament for South Carolina. Mitchell was the SEC Player of the Year in the previous two seasons and will, without question, be on a mission to lead her Gamecocks back to the Final Four. The combination of Mitchell’s experience, ability to attack the basket, her ability to get to the foul line and make clutch shots from the outside will be difference makers for Sotho Carolina. It also will take pressure off of A’ja Wilson to have to carry the load offensively.


Which System is Tough to Prepare For?

Army, like most service academies, is going to bring a very disciplined approach to the basketball court. The Black Knights also have a player in guard Kelsey Minato that was named the mid-major player of the year by ESPNW. Minato is averaging 22.3 points per game and is lights out from three-point range and the foul line as well. Minato is shooting over 40 percent from behind the arc and over 90 percent from the foul line. In addition, Minato became the first active player in Army women’s basketball history to have her number retired. Bottom line, Syracuse will be tested in the first round by a tough minded Black Knights team.



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