Among the prime groups in ladies’s faculty basketball are on show over the subsequent few days as No. Three Maryland hosts No. Eight South Carolina on Sunday (ESPN, Three p.m. ET) and Tennessee travels to No. 16 Notre Dame on Monday (ESPN2, 7 p.m. ET).
So with the five-month countdown to the Ladies’s Closing 4 in New Orleans underway, ESPN.com’s consultants make their predictions, whether or not it is choosing their Closing 4 or figuring out which freshmen or transfers may have probably the most impression. (And remember to take a look at the season’s largest storylines.) No. 1 Oregon isn’t the unanimous favourite to win all of it in April.
Make one daring prediction for 2019-20
Charlie Creme: We wrote final month that the Pac-12 may make historical past as the primary league to have three No. 1 seeds within the NCAA event. It will not occur — however the convention will put 4 groups into the Elite Eight.
Graham Hays: Rice may have one of many three finest seasons in Texas. If the Owls can discover some 3-point taking pictures to stability Erica Ogwumike, Nancy Mulkey and a stifling protection, they may have an extended run in March than Texas, ranked 15th within the preseason AP High 25, or No. 6 Texas A&M.
Mechelle Voepel: Oregon might need higher odds at profitable the nationwide championship than the Pac-12 regular-season championship. This league is projected to be the very best within the nation, and the Geese need to face the likes of Oregon State and Stanford twice, with their lone matchup towards UCLA on the highway. And Oregon travels to UConn for a nonconference recreation Feb. 3, proper within the coronary heart of Pac-12 season. Rising on prime of the league in any case that is likely to be harder than the Geese profitable six in a row within the Massive Dance.
Which unranked staff is value watching?
Creme: St. John’s. An ideal storm may await the Purple Storm. Marquette suffered important personnel losses from a yr in the past, and UConn continues to be one season away from rejoining the Massive East. All of the whereas, St. John’s is loaded within the backcourt with returners Qadashah Hoppie and Tiana England and the addition of extremely regarded transfers Leilani Correa (West Virginia) and Alissa Alston (Ole Miss). DePaul stays the convention favourite, however St. John’s may also be ok to win it.
Hays: Arizona. It was only some years in the past that UCLA used a WNIT championship as a springboard to a third-place end within the Pac-12 and a Candy 16 look the next season. With Aari McDonald and Cate Reese the most important prizes amongst returning core at Arizona, the reigning WNIT champions are poised for the same bounce.
Voepel: Drake. The Bulldogs have misplaced only one recreation in Missouri Valley Convention regular-season play the previous three seasons. Final season, in addition they had a giant nonconference victory over South Carolina. Seniors Becca Hittner and Sara Rhine return to guide Drake, which misplaced in additional time to Missouri within the first spherical of the NCAA event. Possibly the Bulldogs could make a run to the Candy 16 this season.
Which groups will attain the Closing 4?
Creme: Oregon*, Baylor, Stanford, UConn
Hays: Oregon*, Baylor, Oregon State, Maryland
Voepel: Baylor, Oregon, Stanford*, Maryland
* Nationwide champion
Who’s your preseason participant of the yr?
Creme: Sabrina Ionescu, Oregon
Hays: Sabrina Ionescu, Oregon
Voepel: Sabrina Ionescu, Oregon
Who’s your preseason freshman of the yr?
Creme: Sam Brunelle, Notre Dame
Hays: Haley Jones, Stanford
Voepel: Fran Belibi, Stanford
Which switch may have probably the most impression on her new staff?
Creme: Te’a Cooper, Baylor
Hays: Anastasia Hayes, Center Tennessee
Voepel: Elizabeth Balogun, Louisville
That are the 10 finest conferences this season?
4. Massive Ten
5. Massive 12
6. Massive East
8. Missouri Valley
9. West Coast
4. Massive 12
5. Massive Ten
7. Massive East
8. Convention USA
9. Atlantic 10
4. Massive Ten
5. Massive 12
7. Convention USA
8. Massive East
9. Missouri Valley
10. Mountain West