7 NCAAW March Madness Teams To Watch As We Head Into The Conference Tourneys

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Are you ready to go dancing?

Well we are, but before we do, we have to work our way through the conference tournaments. For some programs he conference tourneys aren’t that important—win or lose they know that they will be a part of the 64-team bracket (though a loss could potentially affect your standing/opponent). For other teams it’s a do or die situation and if you want a chance to compete for the national title, you have to show up and show out during the conference tournament. We’ll get into that more in the coming days, but for now we want to highlight seven different teams that you should be watching as we conclude the regular season. This could change tomorrow, but that is the beauty of March right?

1. Texas A&M

Watch out for the Aggies. We knew they were a problem, but it seems this team is hitting their peak at just the right moment. Texas A&M now holds the number two ranking, making it their highest ranking ever in the Associated Press Women’s College Basketball poll, and recently captured their first SEC regular-season title. Senior forward N’dea Jones is closing her collegiate career with personal career highs and has been excellent on the boards breaking the rebound record in Sunday’s win against South Carolina.

Teammate Aaliyah Wilson is also having a great season leading the team in points per game. Watch out for Jordan Nixon as well, she is a very tenacious player good with dishing the ball and getting boards. The Aggies have got a ton of depth, and you have no shot at a victory if you can’t out rebound them. They beat you on both sides of the ball.

2. Indiana Hoosiers

Indiana is another one of those quiet teams that made 2021 their statement year. They aren’t receiving as much attention as some of their counterparts, but they have managed to slide their way into the top ten. With recent wins against Iowa and Ohio State, this team is full of the veteran leadership necessary to make a deep postseason run. Their backcourt is nice (Grace Berger and Ali Patberg can give you scoring and defense), and as a team they always stay composed. That will be critical for them later in March.

3. UConn Huskies

UConn. What a surprise.

By now you should be familiar with the Huskies’ continued dominance, and this season is no different. As of this writing, the Huskies have a 21-1 record (18-0 in conference play), and a potential player of the year in Paige Bueckers. Bueckers has been poised and efficient in her freshman season, which has helped her lead a relatively young group to the number one ranking. Olivia Nelson-Ododa and Christyn Williams have also been key scorers alongside Aliyah Edwards, and their defense has been solid as well. UConn could very well win the title this year, but their youth could also end up being exposed during the tourney. A number one ranking has never guaranteed you a title, but anything is possible with a Geno Auriemma team.

4. NC State Wolfpack

One thing about NC State, they are resilient. This has been a tough couple of weeks overall with upsets and near upsets, but they have the ability to lock in and come up big during crucial moments. This is another team with a ton of depth, and I think we should keep be keeping a close eye on Jada Boyd—she was the x-factor in their win against Syracuse. Kayla Jones and Elissa Cunane are dangerous too. This team has a loaded arsenal which makes them capable of withstanding runs and fending off teams.

5. Stanford Cardinal

Stanford is currently projected to be the number two seed when the official bracket is announced on Selection Monday. Claiming their first Pac-12 regular season title since 2014, the Cardinal  have fought hard in what has proven to be a difficult season due to Covid. They have an elite defender in senior guard Anna Wilson, and a hungry group ready to compete. Stanford beat the eighth-ranked USC Trojans yesterday and faces the fifth-ranked Oregon State tonight.

6. Louisville Cardinals

Louisville is another team having a strong year, and a young woman by the name of Dana Evans may have something to do with that. Evans has been incredible, recently being named as one of the five finalists for the 2021 Ann Meyers Drysdale Award, given to that year’s Outstanding Contributor to Women’s College Basketball.  

Evans has shown many skills during her senior campaign including: the ability to pick any designated spot on the court and get a bucket, as well as her mental toughness and clutch ability. Evans can have her way with any defender, and veteran leadership is going to be key. Elizabeth Dixon and Mysaka Robinson will be key on the offensive end, and Hailey Van Lith can give the team a solid ten points per night. The Cardinals look good heading into this final week of the regular season.

7. Baylor Lady Bears

The Lady Bears currently own the nation's largest streak of consecutive regular-season championships, and are obviously looking to not lose again for the rest of the year. While their offensive efforts are great, it is their defense that continues to impress time and time again.  If you want to beat the Bears, you are going to have to rely on hope because they are not going to let you have anything.

They also don’t allow much room for second chances as they lead the nation in rebound margins, and standout power forward NaLyssa Smith has come up big in that department, ranking fourth in the Big 12 in rebounds per game. Smith is also ranked 9th in scoring, and is currently one of eleven semifinalists for the Naismith Trophy. 

We’ll be updating this list as our March Madness coverage continues. In the meantime, be sure to keep up with your favorite teams as they close out their seasons.

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