March Madness: Sweet 16 arrives with a twist: 2 sites, not 4


The Associated Press

March Madness has reached the Sweet 16! There is a twist this year for the women’s tournament: The NCAA picked two regional sites instead of four, with Greenville, South Carolina, and Seattle each hosting eight teams. Here is what to know:


No. 3 seed LSU (30-2) vs. No. 2 seed Utah (27-4), Greenville, S.C., Friday, 5 p.m. ET.

Kim Mulkey has the Tigers headed to the second weekend for the first time since 2014, and All-American Angel Reese is rolling. She had 25 points, 24 rebounds, six blocks, four assists and three steals in a win over Michigan. The Utes have an All-American, too, in Alissa Pili, who had 28 points and 10 rebounds in a 63-56 victory against Princeton. Utah had not been to the Sweet 16 since 2006.

No. 2 Iowa (28-6) vs. No. 6 Colorado (25-8), Seattle, Friday, 7:30 p.m. ET.

First-team All-American Caitlin Clark is a handful for Iowa opponents; she had 22 points and 12 assists against Georgia. The Buffaloes needed overtime in a 61-53 victory at Duke. Quay Miller came up huge to help Colorado get to its first Sweet 16 in 20 years with 17 points and 14 rebounds.

No. 5 seed Louisville (25-11), vs. No. 8 seed Mississippi (25-8), Seattle, Friday, 10 p.m. ET.

The Cardinals didn’t get to host the first weekend like they usually do, but it hardly seemed to matter as they routed Texas to reach the Sweet 16 for the sixth consecutive year. In Ole Miss they will face a defensive-minded team that pulled the first huge upset, never trailing in a 54-49 victory over No. 1 seed Stanford to reach the Sweet 16 for the first time in 16 years.

No. 1 seed Virginia Tech (29-4) vs. No. 4 seed Tennessee (25-11), Seattle, Saturday, 6:30 p.m. ET.

A rematch of a Dec. 4 game won by the Hokies 59-56 in Knoxville, although the Lady Vols were without star forward Rickea Jackson then. Star power abounds with the Hokies having All-American and two-time ACC player of the year Elizabeth Kitley and guard Georgia Amoore and the Lady Vols having Jackson and plenty of scoring. Virginia Tech is in just its second Sweet 16, the Lady Vols in their 36th.

The rest (times Eastern, seeds listed):

4 Villanova vs. 9 Miami, Friday, 2:30 p.m.

2 Maryland vs 3 Notre Dame, Saturday, 11:30 a.m.

1 South Carolina vs 4 UCLA, Saturday, 2 p.m.

2 UConn vs. 3 Ohio St, Saturday, 4 p.m.


The top four seeds in the tournament were given to South Carolina, Indiana, Stanford and Virginia Tech. Stanford was the first to bow out last weekend and Indiana was ousted a day later by Miami.


The women’s tournament field is filled with stars, including South Carolina’s Aliyah Boston, last season’s AP player of the year. She will have plenty of competition for the honor this year, including sharp-shooting Iowa star Caitlin Clark, LSU’s Angel Reese and more.

The Cavinder twins, gym rats who are wildly popular on social media, made their first tournament after transferring from Fresno State to Miami. The field is also remarkable for the high number of international players, a growing trend in women’s basketball.


Charisma Osborne scored a career-high 36 points to help UCLA rally after blowing an 18-point lead against Oklahoma to reach the Sweet 16. Alissa Pili had a career-high 33 points, eight rebounds and a career-high eight assists to lead Utah over Gardner-Webb.

Then there is Angel Reese, who scored 59 points and grabbed 40 rebounds for LSU through two wins while fellow All-American Caitlin Clark scored 48 points and added 24 assists over two wins to help Iowa reach the Sweet 16.


Gun violence has cost lives and disrupted college sports all season, touching some of the top programs in college basketball. Coaches have been thrust into uncertain and unwelcome roles in trying to navigate the topic — as well as the fallout from the Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe vs. Wade.

On a lighter note, if you think you know the women’s tournament, try this 25-question quiz. And do you think that juggernaut teams are good for the game?

Want to hear from the athletes themselves? UCLA freshman Kiki Rice and injured UConn star Paige Bueckers have each written diaries for AP about their “tourney journeys.”


The title game will be on a national network — ABC — for the first time since 1996. ABC plans to air at least a half-dozen other games, too.

Beside that, every game of the women’s tournament will be available on ESPN’s networks or streaming, with fans encouraged to navigate to the “Watch” tab on ESPN’s sites. There are multiple sites listing game times, channels and other details, including the NCAA site.


Who’s going to win the national championship?

Heading into the Sweet 16, the betting favorites (in order): South Carolina, UConn, LSU, Iowa, Maryland and Tennessee, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.

With Indiana and Stanford gone, the Gamecocks are an even bigger favorite to become the first repeat champion in the women’s tournament since UConn won the last of four straight in 2016.


Where is the women’s Final Four? In Dallas, where the semifinals are March 31 and the championship game is April 2. As it happens, the men’s Final Four is a four-hour drive down the road in Houston that same weekend. ___ AP March Madness coverage: and and

No posts to display