The women’s madness is officially underway in the 2022 NCAA Tournament. The ladies celebrated a historical First Four and they’re already halfway done with the Round of 64 competition. Among Friday’s contests were some dominant performances and a couple of upsets, as anyone would expect.
Today’s slate of 16 games is spread throughout the day and split between ABC, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNNews, and ESPNU. Let’s take a look at some of the top Round of 64 showdowns taking place this Saturday.
No. 1 NC State vs. No. 16 Longwood, 2 p.m. EDT, ESPN
If ever there were an underdog to root for, it would be the ladies of Longwood. The No. 16 Lancers advanced to their very first Round of 64 appearance after a valiant 74-70 win against Mount Saint Mary’s in the First Four Thursday night.
Now, they have a substantial uphill battle ahead of themselves against the likes of No. 1-seeded NC State.
DraftKings sets the spread at a wide 38 points and the over/under at 141.5.
No. 2 UConn vs. No. 15 Mercer, 1 p.m. EDT, ABC
The last time UConn took to the court, they claimed a 70-40 victory against Villanova. Evina Westbrook led the team with her 13 points.
UConn puts up 74.8 points per game, while Mercer averages 66.6. Alternatively, Mercer allows 55.9 points per game to the Huskies’ 54.2.
When it comes to free throws, UConn averages 69.7% — eighth-best in the Big East.
Christyn Williams leads UConn in scoring with her 14.6 average points per game. Olivia Nelson-Ododa aids on the defensive end with 7.4 rebounds per game.
Mercer has made an average of 44% on fields goals for the season, holding opponents to a 34.2% average. Amoria Neal-Tysor is Mercer’s leading scorer with 18.5 points per game. Shannon Titus contributes 13.5 points per game and 6.5 rebounds.
DraftKings puts Mercer at a 29.5-point disadvantage over UConn. If the Lady Bears can post some goals and keep UConn relatively at bay, Mercer could very well win against the spread here.
No. 3 Indiana vs. No. 14 Charlotte, 1:30 p.m. EDT, ESPN2
The Indiana Hoosiers go up against the Charlotte 49ers with their suffocating half-court defense.
Indiana lost 74-67 in their previous matchup against Iowa, where senior guard Grace Berger led the team with 20 points scored. Meanwhile, Charlotte claimed a 68-63 win against Louisiana Tech last weekend, thanks in large part to the 31 points scored by Octavia Jett-Wilson.
The Hoosiers have consistently rattled the backboard this season with 71.8 points per game, while Charlotte boasts only 63.8 PPG across the season.
The 49ers allow an average of 58.2 points per contest, while Indiana holds their opponents to 61.9 PPG.
The Hoosiers have a slightly better shooting percentage from the field, swishing 44.9% on average compared to the 39.3% average of the 49ers.
Another high-scoring game from Jett-Wilson could show the tides turn in Charlotte’s favor. The fifth-year guard leads the team with her average 19.1 PPG, while fifth-year forward Keke McKinney leads on the defensive end with 8.2 rebounds per game.
They’ll have to fend off the Hoosiers with Berger’s 16.3 PPG average, combined with the 15.5 PPG average of Mackenzie Holmes and the 12 PPG average of Aleksa Gulbe.
At +950 odds, Charlotte feels like an underdog to take a chance on.
No. 3 Michigan vs. No. 14 American, 3:30 p.m. EDT, ESPN2
The Michigan Wolverines look to prey on the American Eagles after a disappointing showing in the Big Ten conference tournament.
The Eagles score 60.1 points per game to Michigan’s 73.1 points. And while American gives away 55.8 points per event, the Wolverines allow 61.9 points.
American also boasts the fifth-best free throw percentage in the Patriot League, making 70.9%. Jade Edwards will be an Eagle to watch with her 83% free throw percentage and her 3.7 average per game. She leads the team in both points and rebounds with 12.3 points and 6.7 rebounds per game.
On the Michigan end, leading scorer and rebounder Naz Hillmon posts 21 points and 9.4 rebounds each game. Leigha Brown also adds to their average with 14.6 PPG, while Emily Kiers averages eight rebounds per game.
The Wolverines are substantially favored in this matchup. With the over/under set at 121.5 points, look for this to be a high-scoring faceoff.
No. 3 LSU vs No. 14 Jackson State, 5 p.m. EDT, ESPNU
Two Lady Tigers go up against each other as No. 3 LSU takes on No. 14 Jackson State.
LSU has averaged 73.9 points per game this season, while Jackson State averaged 79.9. On the other hand, Jackson State has allowed 63.1 points per game, and LSU has given up an average of 60.7 PPG.
LSU’s Khayla Pointer logged an impressive 27 points in the team’s last matchup, though they ultimately lost 78-63 to Kentucky. Pointer leads the team with her 19.1 points and 4.1 assists per game. Her 36.4% free throw rate could factor into this upcoming matchup as well.
Alexis Morris will be another player to watch, with her 16 points and 1.8 steals per game.
Jackson State celebrated a 101-80 win against Alabama State in their last faceoff, where lead star Miya Crump led the team with 22 points scored. She averages nine points and 1.8 steals per game.
Jackson State ranks ninth in the country when it comes to offensive rebounds, averaging 15.9 per game. Ameshya Williams leads the team in both scoring and rebounds, securing 19.2 points and 11.4 rebounds per game.
Dayzsha Rogan will be a threat to LSU beyond the ark, with her 36% three-point average. Rogan also averages 13.8 points and 2.1 steals per game.
DraftKings sets the over/under for these two high-scoring teams at 137.