Five double-digit seeded players are alive in the first round of the NCAA women’s basketball tournament. Just because Cinderella’s slippers don’t come out on Day 1 doesn’t mean someone won’t polish them so they can be used. It takes more than a double-digit seed win to become a tournament favorite, but it starts there. So here are the first-round nominees, along with the number of Yahoo Fantasy users each picked to advance and why the slipper might fit.
No. 11 State of Mississippi (Greenville 1)
Yahoo brackets: 18.2%
Next up: #3 Notre Dame (3:30 p.m. ET Sunday, ESPN)
OK, this one is actually slipper worthy. The Bulldogs (22-10) were the first team to play in the first four and make it to the second round. St. John’s almost joined them a day later until Deja Kelly of North Carolina brought in for the winner.
Mississippi State defeated No. 11 Illinois, 70-56, and followed suit by stealing Creighton’s No. 6 Cinderella status in the Bluejays’ own style. The Bulldogs made 11 of 19 3-point attempts and tied their season-high. Because of this, we really like the Bulldogs as Cinderella. They will advance to face Notre Dame, who is threatened with 3 points without point guard Olivia Miles and Dara Mabrey.
#10 Georgia (Seattle 4)
Yahoo brackets: 39.7%
Next up: #2 Iowa (3 p.m. ET Sunday, ABC)
Georgia (22-11) was a trendy, upset pick, especially after Florida State announced that Ta’Niya Latson, the ACC’s top scorer and Freshman of the Year, would not play. The Seminoles were also without O’Mariah Gordon and played from a short bench. Georgia has a top-35 scoring defense allowing for 58.3 points per game. We don’t like their chances against the Hawkeyes’ high-flying offense but it will be an interesting duel to watch.
#12 Florida Gulf Coast (Greenville 2)
Yahoo brackets: 18.8%
Next up: #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 all-shooting teams in the nation, and high on 3-pointers. But against No. 5 Washington State, they relied on points within the arc and hit their season-low five 3s. Coloring against Maddy Siegrist will be a bigger task and 3s must have a premium.
#10 Princeton (Seattle 3)
Yahoo brackets: 28.1%
Next up: #2 Utah (Sunday 7pm ET, ESPN2)
Don’t count out Ivy Leaguers. The Tigers (24-5) are first-round winners again this season after beating Kentucky and falling 1 point to Indiana last season. Princeton’s defense after a close game against NC State was incredible and necessary as his offense seemed to play on a five-second shot clock with every possession. The 13 steals against the Wolfpack tie the Tigers’ season-high, which has come four times, including a 5-point loss to UConn. Utah’s offense could be too much even if Princeton hits eight 3s again.
#12 Toledo (Seattle 3)
Yahoo brackets: 15.89%
Next up: No. 4 Tennessee (6 p.m. ET Monday, ESPN2)
The percentage of people who chose Toledo in our bracket game is so low that we share it with a hundredth place. The Rockets (29-4) won the Mid-American and earned their first NCAA tournament win since 1996. It’s their fourth all-time. Toledo and Iowa State were a good match on paper. The Rockets hit almost 50%, one reason we like them going forward, and two of their four double-digit scorers came 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 that they don’t turn the ball around much, averaging 12.4 per game (16th) and a 15.8% odds (29th).