Well I watched over half of their Big West championship game. I don't know how they stayed close to Oregon. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that if they were in the MVC that they would be in a play-in game. I would say the only D1 opponent we have played that is worse than UC Davis is Evansville. They are slow in getting back in transition, average to slow overall. They do have active hands defensively but seem unable to stop dribble penetration. Very careless passing. All of the teams in their conference besides them are worse than SIU in the ratings . It is clear that that league is weak. It seemed to me that they probably won their conference by being less bad than others in the conference. My summary may be too hard on them but even if so we should absolutely not lose this game. They try to play good defense but they are too slow and unathletic to do so for the most part and their defense should pose no problem for us.
Analysis: Stanford is definitely the top overall seed for many reasons. The Cardinal are deep, led by Haley Jones and Kiana Williams, talented, and have already spent two months on the road, so three weeks in a hotel room shouldn't faze them too much. It won't be easy with a high-scoring Arkansas team as a potential Sweet 16 matchup. Dana Evans and Louisville potentially await the Cardinal in the regional final.
Other players to watch: Chelsea Dungee, Arkansas; Natasha Mack, Oklahoma State; Hannah Sjerven, South Dakota.
Upset watch: UC Davis will continue the trend of 12s knocking off 5s as the Aggies have a good shot to upset Missouri State, which opted out of the Missouri Valley Conference tourney before the semifinals because of COVID-19 concerns for its opponent.
First-round winners: Stanford, Oklahoma State, UC Davis, Arkansas, South Dakota, Georgia, Northwestern, Louisville.
Second-round winners: Stanford, Arkansas, Georgia, Louisville.
Regional semifinal winners: Stanford, Louisville.
Regional champion: Stanford.
46. UC Davis Aggies
Best case: The Aggies missed seven weeks of their season because of COVID-19-related issues. But once they got going, they were dominant in the Big West, where they have won five consecutive regular-season titles. UC Davis also played Oregon tough in early February. The confidence drawn from that game and the play of conference player of the year Cierra Hall helps the Aggies to a first-round stunner.
Worst case: Hall is the Aggies' best player, but she had plenty of help on the way to the Big Dance. Unfortunately, she doesn't get enough of it in San Antonio, and the idea of an upset disappears quickly.
17. Missouri State Lady Bears
Best case: On the 20th anniversary of Missouri State (then Southwest Missouri State) making the Final Four, the story almost writes itself. The Lady Bears shock the college basketball world and reach the Final Four again. This time there is no Jackie Stiles like in 2001. Instead, this Lady Bears team is well-balanced offensively with Brice Calip leading the way and excellent defensively -- Jasmine Franklin was MVC Defensive Player of the Year. But both teams had plenty of veterans, were No. 5 seeds, and both made it to the NCAA tournament's final weekend.
Worst case: The Lady Bears hadn't had a close game since mid-February and really could have used a Jackie Stiles for the big moments when they get one in Round 2. Missouri State comes up a couple of plays short and the careers of seniors Calip, Abby Hipp, Elle Ruffridge and Emily Gartner end sooner than anyone in Springfield had hoped.
Worst case: The injury to the right foot of freshman Te-Hina Paopao that keeps her on the sideline continues to have a ripple effect.
Team that could ruin your bracket: Missouri State. The fifth-seeded Lady Bears haven't lost since the week before Christmas and completely dominated the Missouri Valley Conference. Brice Calip, Jasmine Franklin and Abby Hipp are talented and experienced enough to scare any bigger-name program. Missouri State took down Maryland earlier this season, knocked off 23rd-ranked Minnesota two years ago upset DePaul and Iowa State on their way to the Sweet 16 in the 2019 NCAA tournament. If Missouri State makes it that far again, Stanford, the team that ended the Lady Bears' run two years ago, could be waiting.
Matchup we'd like to see: Stanford vs. Arkansas. If the Lady Bears don't get in the way, the Cardinal and fourth-seeded Razorbacks would make for a compelling Sweet 16 matchup.
Which teams advance? Stanford, Missouri State, Georgia and Louisville are my picks to reach the Sweet 16. Stanford advances to the Final Four