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NCAAW Breakdown: South Carolina Still the 1

Conference Tournament Play Begins This Week

Tournament time is here for most of the conferences in the country.

Things are getting interesting after 15 ranked teams fell last week. However, there were no such issues for No. 1 South Carolina, which wrapped up a perfect regular season with a 10-point win over visiting Georgia.

Kierra Fletcher #41 of the South Carolina Gamecocks
Kierra Fletcher #41 of the South Carolina Gamecocks - Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images/AFP

South Carolina returned to being the unanimous No. 1 team in the Associated Press poll after Indiana picked up a first-place vote last week.

Indiana remained No. 2 despite its loss to Iowa while Utah jumped up to No. 3.

Arizona took the largest tumble, going from 14th to 21st. UConn, which lost to St. John’s before barely beating DePaul, went from fourth to ninth with Michigan also dropped by five spots.

Things are going to be done a little bit different now that the postseason is about to get underway.

Looking at the women’s college basketball betting lines, South Carolina (-140) is favored in the odds to win the national title. Stanford and UConn are next as both are priced at +600.

Let’s check the latest NCAAW picks, stats, injury reports, and NCAAW predictions. We’ve got plenty of NCAAW expert picks for you to consider.

Here is a league-by-league breakdown of the Power-5 Conferences.

1. ACC

Jenna Brown #0 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Jenna Brown #0 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish – Michael Hickey/Getty Images/AFP

The ACC and Big Ten brackets are set.

In the ACC, Notre Dame finished a game ahead of Duke and Virginia Tech to earn the top seed. The Fighting Irish take a six-game winning streak into the postseason.

Duke, despite a loss to North Carolina in the regular-season finale, is seeded second while Virginia Tech, winners of eight straight, is the No. 3 seed.

Four teams are ranked and seven had winning conference records so there will be some key games for teams on the bubble as they try to secure spots in the March Madness bracket.

The action begins Wednesday with three first-round games. The action will heat up on Thursday with the quarterfinals being held at Greensboro Coliseum and the top four seeds all getting bye.

2. Big Ten

In the Big Ten, the field is set with Indiana earning the No. 1 seed followed by Maryland and Iowa. Iowa is coming into the tournament with plenty of confidence after a win over Indiana.

If the regular season counts for anything, this could be one unpredictable conference tournament.

Five Big Ten teams are in the top 25 in the NCAA NET rankings with Indiana leading the way at No. 4.

There is a pretty major drop after No. 22 Michigan with Illinois and Nebraska coming in at No. 40 and 41.

Indiana is the team to beat according to the Las Vegas odds despite the recent loss.

3. Big 12

Texas can wrap up the top seed in the Big 12 tournament with a win over visiting Baylor on Monday. The Longhorns are listed by the college basketball odds as the 8½-point favorite.

The Longhorns lead Oklahoma by a game in the conference standings. However, Texas swept both games from the Sooners during the regular season. The sportsbook lists the Longhorns as 8½-point favorites.

If Texas falters, there might be no Big 12 teams in the top 10 in the NCAA NET rankings and that is not a standard operating procedure in the Big 12.

4. Pac-12

Utah enters the Pac-12 tournament on a high note as Gianna Kneepkens had 28 points in a win over Stanford. The victory gave the Utes a share of the regular-season title. However, Stanford still earned the top seed.

If the seeds hold up, it would be Colorado facing Utah and Arizona meeting Stanford in the semifinals on March 3.

Utah’s three-game winning streak is the longest active streak in the conference heading into the tournament at Michelob Ultra Arena in Las Vegas.

5. SEC

Olivia Thompson #0 of the South Carolina Gamecocks
Olivia Thompson #0 of the South Carolina Gamecocks – Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images/AFP

It is easy to expect a rematch between South Carolina and Louisiana State. The Gamecocks are first and third in the NCAA NET rankings.

No. 15 Tennessee and No. 24 Ole Miss are in a position to earn spots in the March Madness brackets. Can the Volunteers and Rebels shake up the SEC tournament?

The rest of the SEC teams might have some work to do to land at-large spots in the NCAA Tournament.

Bubble Watch

The top 28 teams in the NCAAW NETrankings are from the ACC, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC, so it will be worth watching to see how many other conferences will get more than one team into the field of 68.

Middle Tennessee is 29th in the NET rankings and favored to win the Conference USA tournament according to the women’s college basketball betting lines. Teams on the bubble will cringe just a bit if somebody else claims Conference USA’s automatic bid. It is a similar story in the American Athletic Conference with South Florida and with South Dakota State in the Summit League.

Team of the Week

Utah Utes

After putting up 101 points in a win over Cal, the Utes showed that they are ready for March Madness with a win over Stanford.

Leading scorer Alissa Pili has been bothered by an ankle injury. However, she looked pretty healthy when she recently posted back-to-back games with 26 points.

The Utes are averaging 84.4 points while shooting 49% from the field so this will not be a fun team to play in an elimination game.

Player of the Week

Caitlin Clark, Iowa

Clark has had some remarkable games during her time at Iowa. However, it might be hard to top what went down on Sunday.

Not only did Clark flirt with another triple-double, she hit a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to lift the Hawkeyes to a 86-85 win over then-No. 2 Indiana.

Clark finished with 34 points, nine rebounds and nine assists in the 86-85 win. It was her ninth 30-point game of the season and it gave Iowa the No. 3 seed in the Big Ten tournament.

Game of the Week

Baylor Bears vs Texas Longhorns

Date, time (TV): Monday, Feb. 27, 7:00 p.m. ET (ESPN2)

Texas looks to secure the Big 12 regular-season title when Baylor comes to town on the final day of the regular season.

Texas rolled to the 68-55 win in the first meeting of the season. That is one of the eight Quad 1 losses for the Bears this season.

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