Top Seeds Clash in Sweet 16
With Indiana now out as Greenville 2’s No. 1 seed, the region’s top two seeds in No. 2 Utah and No. 3 LSU will go head-to-head Friday in the Sweet 16.
The LSU Tigers have had a fairly easy journey to the second weekend, though UNLV posed some issues in the first round. The Utah Utes, meanwhile, got some pushback from No. 15 Princeton in the Round of 32 after they demolished Gardner-Webb in the first.
Although it’s been some time since either team has been to the Sweet 16, LSU has more recent experience, making its first return since 2014, while Utah hasn’t been back since 2006.
According to College Women’s basketball lines, LSU is a 5.5-point favorite in the matchup.
LSU’s Defense Gets Big
The Tigers’ offense has been big for them this season, leading the SEC in both points and field-goal percentage, but it was LSU’s defense that was the star of the show in its second-round win.
LSU averages 84.1 points a game on 47.2% shooting, and it had the lead from the start, holding the Wolverines under 10 points in each of the first two quarters to take a 30-15 halftime lead.
Michigan averages 74.6 points a game, but it wasn’t able to reach 50 against the Tigers, instead being held to its lowest point total of the season while struggling to shoot the ball as well. The Wolverines were held to 34.8% shooting to finish with 42 points.
The Tigers turned Michigan over 16 times, leading to 14 points, while only one Wolverine hit double digits, with Michigan’s second-leading scorer reaching eight points in the game.
If LSU can keep up its defensive intensity, it will be a hard team to be beat.
According to Women’s College Basketball odds, the Tigers have +1200 odds to win March Madness.
Utah Hangs On
Though Princeton appeared ready to upset the Utes on their home court Sunday, Utah avoided it by pulling away in the fourth quarter.
Utah didn’t have its best shooting night, finishing 39.5% from the field and 1-for-15 from beyond the arc, but its defense stepped up to help secure the win.
Princeton was down five with under five minutes remaining, but the Tigers couldn’t fully execute their offense to make it a one-score game, as the Utes held Princeton to 3-of-19 shooting in the fourth quarter. The Tigers finished the game shooting 27.8%, while Utah also forced 13 turnovers for eight points.
Alissa Pili and Jenna Johnson were crucial in the win as well, scoring 28 and 15 points respectively, to aid in outscoring Princeton 32-18 on the inside, while Pili also added 10 rebounds.
AND ONE!@alissa_pili is in full beast mode. #GoUtes
— Utah Women’s Basketball (@UTAHWBB) March 19, 2023
The Utes are going to have to get back to their game offensively as they travel to South Carolina to meet LSU.
According to Women’s College Basketball lines, Utah has +4800 odds to win the tournament.
LSU vs Utah Head-to-Head
This will be the first meeting between the two teams.
According to NCAA Women’s Basketball odds, LSU has +100 odds to reach the Final Four while the sportsbook gives Utah +290 odds to do so.
LSU vs Utah Game Information
- Game: LSU (30-2, 15-1 SEC) vs Utah (27-4, 15-3 Pac-12)
- Location: Bon Secours Wellness Arena, Greenville, SC
- Day/Time: Friday, March 24, 5 p.m. ET
- LSU vs Utah Live Stream: TBS.com
LSU vs Utah Betting Lines
LSU vs Utah Picks and Prediction
Two similar teams in LSU and Utah will meet in the Sweet 16 in hopes of advancing to the Elite Eight for the first time in years.
Although LSU reached the Sweet 16 with decent comfortability in both of its games, the same couldn’t be said for Utah, as the Utes’ hot shooting from the first round disappeared and made things tougher in the Round of 32. Despite that, Utah survived and advanced by way of defense and solid free-throw shooting. The Tigers, meanwhile, ramped up the defensive intensity after their shooting dropped in round two as well. Both teams have strong players in Pili and LSU’s Angel Reese, and while it’s going to be a tight game, LSU should pull through after its stronger second-round performance.
The LSU Tigers are listed at -250 in our Vegas lines. This means that if you wager $100 on the Tigers, you have a chance to win $40. The Utah Utes are +175, offering a chance to win $175 on a $100 wager.
The implied probability attached to the betting lines gives the LSU Tigers a 71.33% chance to win, with the Utah Utes at 36.36%.