12.4 C
New York
Saturday, April 1, 2023

Buy now

Why each No. 1 seed in the 2023 NCAA Tournament could win it all

The 2023 NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament bracket is officially set, with the exception of the first four matchups to be played on Wednesday and Thursday. The tournament will start on Friday with the telecast of all the games espn Network family.

Like any other season, the seeding of the teams in the tournament has been heavily debated by fans since the brackets were revealed last Sunday, which can surely only be good for the visibility of the tournament. While some teams, such as the national champion South Carolina Gamecocks, had their respective positions in the bracket more or less locked in, other teams’ positions were determined at the last minute, including teams such as the Virginia Tech Hokies and Iowa State Cyclones. Make great final impressions by winning your respective conference tournaments.

Speaking of seeding, the four No. 1 overall seeds best represent college basketball, and this year it’s a mix of programs that have been there before and up-and-coming programs that could be considering the 2022-23 NCAA season. Most successful ever. South Carolina, Indiana, Virginia Tech and Stanford are the top seeded teams this year, and each has their case to be made as potential 2023 NCAA champions. Here’s our analysis of each of the four No. 1 seeds, starting with the defending champions.

South Carolina Gamecocks

South Carolina has only gotten better since winning the 2022 NCAA Tournament, going undefeated through the 2022–23 regular season.
Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

South Carolina enters the 2023 NCAA Tournament as the defending national champions, and there’s plenty of reason to believe the Gamecocks will soon make it back-to-back titles. At 32–0, South Carolina is the only team in Division I to finish the 2022–23 season with an undefeated record, and it’s not even a fluke; The Gamecocks lead the nation in NCAA Evaluation Tool (NET), and their resume includes wins over some of the best programs in the country, such as UConn, Stanford, and LSU.

The rest of South Carolina’s statistical resume is, simply put, jaw-dropping. According to his hoop statsThe Gamecocks lead Division I in offensive efficiency (scoring 115.1 points per 100 possessions) and rank No. 2 in defensive efficiency (73 points allowed per 100 possessions), and their average margin of victory exceeds 30 points. . He has been tested on many .occasions, but has found ways to win each time, usually convincingly.

South Carolina’s roster is deep and talented, which is no surprise with Don Staley at the helm. There is one area of ​​the Gamecocks’ roster that stands out, though, and it’s in the frontcourt: The South Carolina field is of incomparable size, with Aliyah Boston (6-foot-5), Victoria Saxton (6-foot-2), Kamilla . Cardoso (6-foot-7) and Leticia Amihere (6-foot-4) make up one of the most physically dominant rotations in the country. Staley is so confident in her team’s frontcourt depth that she played Boston’s 2022 National Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year and future No. 1 overall WNBA draft pick in just under 26 minutes per game, allowing her star The center remained fresh for the players. closing time while the rest of the team’s big players grind down opponents on paint and glass.

The Gamecocks can summarize the amount of size and physicality they bring to the table with two statistics: their blocked shot rate (20.4 percent) and offensive rebounding rate (48.6 percent), both tops in Division I. The latter figure is particularly absurd and highlights how little margin for error opponents have against South Carolina; Only a handful of teams attempt fewer 3-pointers than the Gamecocks (18.4 percent 3-point rate), but it doesn’t matter because they’re so good at building efficient offense in the paint, whether it’s from the post-up. Be or aggressive rebellion.

This is not to say that the Gamecocks are one-dimensional. Shooting guard Gia Cook is one of the more impressive shot-makers in the country, while lockdown perimeter defender Bre Beal turns the defense into a South Carolina transition asset. The team’s bread and butter, however, would continue to be the amount of its sheer size in the frontcourt; It’s a formula that has produced one of the most dominant NCAA regular seasons of any team in the past decade, and it’s going to make South Carolina a popular choice to win its second consecutive NCAA tournament.

Syndication: Herald-Times

The Indiana Hoosiers won the Big Ten regular-season title and set a program record with 27 wins ahead of the 2023 NCAA Tournament.
Rich Janzaruk/Herald-Times/USA Today Network

The growth of the Hoosiers program under Terry Moren has been a sight to behold. Indiana’s eighth-straight season of 20 wins or more has easily been the most successful stretch in program history, and the Hoosiers’ 27 wins in the 2022-23 regular season is a school record and more than enough to earn them their first major title. it was good. Ten regular season championships since 1983.

Efficiency has been the name of the game for the Hoosiers, who ranked No. 5 in Division I in offensive rating at 111.8 points scored per 100 possessions. Their offense is well balanced and has few weaknesses, scoring efficiently from both 2-point (56 percent) and 3-point (37.1 percent) range and averaging 1.18 points per scoring attempt (No. 4 in Division I) Are.

Granted, with a cornerstone like Mackenzie Holmes, it would be difficult for the Hoosiers’ overall numbers to be anything less than impressive. During his senior season at Indiana, Holmes established himself as one of the best offensive players in the country, averaging 22.3 points per game on 68.8 percent shooting from the field. Among Division I players who average 20 or more points per game, Holmes has the highest field goal percentage ever; According to his hoop statsThere are only four other players in Division I who have even shot 50 percent from the field, let alone 60 percent.

Indiana surrounds Holmes with a deep, steady-handed group of guards who take care of the basketball and can score in a variety of ways. Grace Berger (12.5 points and a team-high 5.8 assists per game) leads the Vipers for Indiana, and she’s surrounded by Sydney Parish, Sarah Scalia and Yarden Garzon, all of whom average at least 1.8 threes per game. Is. As a unit, they do a good job of maximizing their teammates’ talents while keeping their mistakes to a minimum; Indiana ranks No. 7 in Division I in both assists per game (18.3) and assist/turnover ratio (1.42).

Can Indiana use this approach to carry its regular-season success into the NCAA tournament? There is another factor to consider, and that is the experience of the Hoosiers; Holmes and Scalia are seniors, and Berger, a graduate student, is in his fifth season at Indiana. The Hoosiers reached the Elite Eight in the 2021 NCAA Tournament, but they are better equipped to run even deeper this time around because of their balanced scoring and the overall maturity of their roster.

Virginia Tech Hokies

NCAA Women's Basketball: ACC Conference Tournament Championship - Louisville vs. Virginia Tech

Virginia Tech has just had its most successful season under head coach Kenny Brooks by winning the 2023 ACC Tournament.
William Howard – USA TODAY Sports

Of the No. 1 seeds in the 2023 NCAA Tournament, Virginia Tech is possibly the biggest surprise. Riding an 11-game winning streak and the ACC tournament championship into Selection Sunday, the Hokies used a late season run in an uber-competitive ACC to make the best possible impression at a crucial time.

Virginia Tech’s success begins and ends with two-time ACC Player of the Year Elizabeth Kitley, whose collegiate career has been one of consistent high-level play. The 6-foot-6 center has averaged better than 18 points per game on more than 53 percent shooting in three-straight seasons, and he averaged a double-double in two of those seasons, just barely as a junior. Another (9.8 rebounds per game) in 2021-22). The Hokies are comfortable playing through Kittily, and thus take a more methodical, slow-paced approach to their offense, but it’s hard to deny the results: Virginia Tech scores 105.6 points per 100 possessions and 1.10 points per scoring attempt, both Figures among best in the nation.

However, the Hokies are far from a one-player show, with the guard play of Georgia Amur and Kayanna Traylor playing a heavy role in their current winning streak. The Amur, in particular, is one of the sweetest outdoor shots in the country, with its range extending far beyond the periphery; She is knocking down three 3-pointers per game at a 34.6 percent clip, while also leading the Hokies in distributing 5.3 assists per game.

It’s hard to say how much the strength of schedule and momentum factor into the Hokies’ current state. The ACC may be the toughest conference in the country, and 11 straight wins is no joke. That being said, Virginia Tech has as solid a formula for winning as any, cleaning the glass with a defensive rebounding rate of 75.5 percent (No. 10 in Division I) and holding opponents to 42.4 percent assists. Shot rate (No. 6) with the layup out of his offensive flow. So while it may be easy to say that the hockey of 2022-23 is opportunistic, it is also just as easy to say that they have created this opportunity themselves.

NCAA Women's Basketball: South Carolina at Stanford

Haley Jones (left) and Cameron Brink are one of the most accomplished guard/center pairings in the country.
Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

Stanford is a program that needs no introduction. Under legendary head coach Tara VanDveer, it has been to 14 Final Fours and won three NCAA championships – the most recent of those titles coming in 2021. It is once again the No. 1 seed entering the 2023 NCAA tournament after ranking near the top. Standing (No. 4) in the nets.

Through the years, Stanford has changed its playing style to suit its talent (VanDerveer famously scrapped the team’s triangle offense in favor of a Princeton-esque system in the mid-2010s) but the concepts that have made the Cardinal a The national powerhouses have been made broadly similar. Year after year, there are few teams in the country that screen, pass and cut as well as Stanford, and the Cardinals are usually one of the best teams in Division I that employ efficient offense through patience and smart plays. Builds.

The Cardinals also have a high talent to win games without relying too heavily on “system buckets”. Haley Jones is one of the country’s most unique players, a wizard-like passer with the physical frame of an American football player, while center Cameron Brink is among the most offensively efficient players in the world while also being an elite rim protector (3.4). has become one. blocks per game; No. 3 in Division I). Sprinkle in Hannah Jump’s lethal 3-point shooting (43.5 percent clip on 6.5 attempts per game) and a rotation chock-full of players whose box score numbers sell short their actual on-court impact and you have a team. Which is classic VanDerVeer: able to beat his opponents in so many different ways that it’s almost impossible to find a team against which he matches up poorly.

That being said, as well as this egalitarian approach having worked for Stanford in the past, the NCAA Tournament is usually when games are won or lost on the backs of star players. Jones and Brink make an unlikely yet effective pairing, and they already have championship experience from 2021. The Cardinals will go as far as these extremely talented players will take them, with another championship a very real possibility.

Related articles

Share article

Latest articles


Subscribe to stay updated.