March Madness: Which double-digit seed has the best Cinderella chance in the 2nd round?
Five double-digit seeds are still alive through the first round of the NCAA women’s basketball tournament. Just because Cinderella’s slippers don’t come out on the first gameday, doesn’t mean someone isn’t shining them up to be used. It takes more than one win by a double-digit seed to become the tournament darling, but it starts there. So here are the first-round candidates, along with how many Yahoo Fantasy users selected each to advance, and why the slipper might fit.
No. 11 Mississippi State (Greenville 1)
Yahoo brackets: 18.2%
Next up: No. 3 Notre Dame (3:30 p.m. ET Sunday, ESPN)
OK, this one is actually worthy of the slipper. The Bulldogs (22-10) became the first team to play in the First Four and make it to the second round. St. John’s nearly joined them a day later until North Carolina’s Deja Kelly drove in for the winner.
Mississippi State took down No. 11 Illinois, 70-56, and followed it by swiping No. 6 Creighton’s Cinderella status in the Bluejays’ own style. The Bulldogs hit 11-of-19 3-point attempts, tying their season high. Here’s why we really like the Bulldogs as Cinderellas, though. They’ll advance to face Notre Dame, which is without point guard Olivia Miles and 3-point threat Dara Mabrey.
No. 10 Georgia (Seattle 4)
Yahoo brackets: 39.7%
Next up: No. 2 Iowa (3 p.m. ET Sunday, ABC)
Georgia (22-11) was a trendy upset pick, especially after Florida State announced ACC-leading scorer and Freshman of the Year Ta’Niya Latson would not play. The Seminoles were also without O’Mariah Gordon and played with a short bench. Georgia has a top-35 scoring defense allowing 58.3 points per game. We don’t love their chances against the Hawkeyes’ high-flying offense, but it’ll be an interesting matchup to watch.
No. 12 Florida Gulf Coast (Greenville 2)
Yahoo brackets: 18.8%
Next up: No. 4 Villanova (7 p.m. ET Monday, ESPNU)
We were high on FGCU at Yahoo Sports, as were certain other outlets. The Eagles (31-3) are experienced in the tournament, one of the best pure shooting teams in the nation and high in 3-point rate. But against No. 5 Washington State, they relied on points inside the arc and tied their season-low of five 3s. Going into the paint against Maddy Siegrist will be a taller task and 3s will need to be at a premium.
No. 10 Princeton (Seattle 3)
Yahoo brackets: 28.1%
Next up: No. 2 Utah (7 p.m. ET Sunday, ESPN2)
Don’t count out Ivy Leaguers. The Tigers (24-5) are first-round upset winners again this season after knocking out Kentucky and falling by 1 point to Indiana last season. Princeton’s defense down the stretch of a tight game against NC State was incredible, and necessary as its offense appeared to play on a five-second shot clock every possession. The 13 steals against the Wolfpack ties the Tigers’ season high done four times, including in a 5-point loss to UConn. Utah’s offense might be too much, even if Princeton hits eight 3s again.
No. 12 Toledo (Seattle 3)
Yahoo brackets: 15.89%
Next up: No. 4 Tennessee (6 p.m. ET Monday, ESPN2)
The percentage of people who picked Toledo in our bracket game is so low we’re sharing it with a one-hundredth place. The Rockets (29-4) won the Mid-American and procured their first NCAA tournament victory since 1996. It’s their fourth all time. Toledo and Iowa State matched up nicely on paper. The Rockets hit nearly 50%, a reason we like them going forward, and had two of their four double-digit scorers come off the bench. They rank 20th in field-goal percentage and 15th in free throws. What we really like about their chances against Tennessee is they don’t turn the ball over much, averaging 12.4 per game (16th) and a 15.8% rate (29th).