The Top 10 Women’s Basketball Teams to Watch During March Madness 2023
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- March Madness excitement builds as top teams set their sights on a national championship.
- Defending champion South Carolina has the personnel and experience to repeat.
- Ohio State, Stanford, LSU, and UConn are all projected to go deep into the tournament.
- Rounding out the top 10 teams to watch are Indiana, Notre Dame, UCLA, Utah, and Iowa.
March Madness is one of the most exciting sporting events of the year. From the on-campus camaraderie to the visuals of the best collegiate basketball players dominating the media, the monthlong tournament has evolved into a sporting event that cannot be missed.
And the popularity of women's sports continues to ascend with no ceiling in sight.
With the "March Madness" brand addition to the women's basketball postseason tournament in 2022, viewership increased dramatically over the 2021 postseason tournament. With a year-to-year audience increase of 18%, 4.85 million viewers watched the University of South Carolina Gamecocks prevail over the University of Connecticut Huskies in the 2022 national title game.
With an undefeated record going into February, the Gamecocks are the favorite to repeat heading into the March Madness 2023 tournament. But they will face stiff competition from the other teams on this list if they want to hoist the trophy again.
University of South Carolina
The reigning national champions, along with reigning national player of the year Aliyah Boston, have remained undefeated going into February. And they are poised to enter the tournament as the No. 1 seed. They have all of the elements of a championship program. And they have the depth to go all the way with a bench that is averaging 96.9 minutes a game. With South Carolina's first No. 1 recruiting class now seniors this year, the team is the clear favorite to repeat as the national champion.
The Ohio State University
The Buckeyes earned their highest ranking in program history when they ascended to No. 2 in the AP poll in mid-January. With a challenging schedule of ranked teams, they continue to be tested. Senior guard Taylor Mikesell leads the team in scoring with 17.9 points per game overall, as of Feb. 2. Cotie McMahon, in her first year on the team, has started every game and become an immediate impact player. She is the only player in program history to be honored as Big Ten Freshman of the Week four consecutive weeks.
After taking South Carolina to overtime early in the season, the Cardinal have remained one of the few programs that may challenge the Gamecocks in the NCAA Tournament. With a record of 21-2, as of Jan. 29, and recent emphatic victories against other Top 25 programs, Stanford looks poised to go deep into the tournament. Senior guard Haley Jones was named the ESPN national and Pac-12 player of the week, on Jan. 23, and is a player to watch throughout the tournament.
Louisiana State University
As the only team other than South Carolina in the Top 25 with an undefeated record, as of Jan. 29, LSU looks ready to go deep in the tournament. The strength of schedule in the SEC is not as strong as in other conferences. But under head coach Kim Mulkey, the Tigers should be prepped and ready for March Madness. Angel Reese recorded her 20th straight double-double of the season against conference foe Alabama on Jan. 23, setting an LSU record.
University of Connecticut
The Huskies remained the top team in the Big East, even with star guards Paige Bueckers and Azzi Fudd on the bench with knee injuries. This could help UConn go far in the tournament since other players are seeing valuable playing time and getting the experience needed to be assets down the stretch. Head coach Geno Auriemma boasts 11 national championships and will be looking for a 12th after coming up short to South Carolina in last year's title game.
Coming off the best start in program history, and a 20-1 record as of Jan. 29, the Hoosiers are poised to make a statement during March Madness. Six players scored in double digits against ranked Michigan this season, showing their depth. Senior forward Mackenzie Holmes earned back-to-back Big Ten Player of the Week nods in December. And Indiana will rely on her to propel them throughout March Madness.
University of Notre Dame
The Fighting Irish have only dropped three contests so far this season, as of Jan. 29. They will be looking to reconfigure their offense after fifth-year guard Dara Mabrey suffered a season-ending injury against the University of Virginia. She was leading Notre Dame in 3-pointers, so another player will have to take over in her absence for this team to go on a run during March Madness. Olivia Miles and Sonia Citron have been massive contributors to the team's success on offense, so Notre Dame will be looking to them to lead for the remainder of the season.
University of California, Los Angeles
After missing out on the 2022 NCAA Tournament entirely and playing in the Women's National Invitation Tournament (WNIT), the Bruins have roared back with a vengeance in 2023. They have persevered through a difficult Pac-12 schedule behind the leadership of senior guard Charisma Osborne, their top scorer. Highly touted as an incoming first-year player, Kiki Rice has proved her level of play, becoming the second-highest scorer for the UCLA offense going into February.
University of Utah
With a .900 winning percentage heading into February, the Utes have the potential to be the Cinderella story of March Madness. They look to follow their top point scorer, junior Alissa Pili. Finishing out the difficult Pac-12 season will indicate how much ability this team has to be playing at the end of March Madness, which is possible if they continue their streak of shooting better than 50% for more than half of their season.
University of Iowa
Fresh off recent victories — including a Jan. 23 upset win over Ohio State, which was No. 2 at the time — Iowa is poised to move up in the polls before March Madness kicks off. Caitlin Clark, a junior guard for the Hawkeyes, recorded the eighth triple-double of her career in the upset. She ranks third for the most triple-doubles in Division I history, going into February. With a deep Big 10 and a tough strength of schedule, this team is honing its strengths to make a run at the right time.