March 29, 2024 

Locked On Women’s Basketball: NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 preview

The Pac-12 dominates the remaining field, the Region of Doom and looking ahead to the Elite Eight

Are you ready for all 12 basketball games during what is arguably the most wonderful weekend of the year? You better believe we are here at The Next and at Locked On Women’s Basketball.

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On today’s episode of the podcast, host Jackie Powell is joined by Cameron Ruby from The Next to break down the Sweet 16 action that’s getting underway on Friday. The two talked about the Pac-12’s dominance of the NCAA Tournament so far, with five of the 16 teams in the Sweet 16 coming from the conference about to break up.

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“I just think it’s poetic,” Ruby said. “It’s the final year of the Pac-12 and we’re seeing one of the best years in history. I think, [UCLA coach] Cori Close a few games ago mentioned that, for a while, she called [the conference], ‘Stanford and the 11 dwarves.’ But the parity is just out of control, and it’s been all season long. It’s not news to any of the coaches or players that have been doing this all year.

“But I think that there’s something to be said about a team that hasn’t gotten to play on on national networks all year long getting to now do that and show everybody how good they are. I think that’s been a conversation that’s happened a lot is that people didn’t even really know how good this this league was … I think it’s poetic, I think it’s cool. It’s giving nostalgia, but it’s awesome.”

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Powell and Ruby then also pointed out that the last conference to have five teams in the Sweet 16 was … also the Pac-12, back in 2019. The two move on to what Powell called the “Region of Doom” in Albany 2, which pits No. 2 seed UCLA against No. 3 seed LSU before we get a Sweet 16 rematch from last season when top-seeded Iowa takes on No. 5 seed Colorado.

Powell said she is most looking forward to the UCLA-LSU matchup: “I think it could be potentially the new game of the tournament. Right now, that is Stanford-Iowa State, that overtime thriller, but this [UCLA-LSU showdown] has the potential to really be the a memorable, memorable matchup.”

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It’s all a part of our ongoing coverage of the NCAA Tournament, both at The Next and at Locked On Women’s Basketball. This week alone, we’ve had episodes on how SEC teams have fared in March, how Texas has overcome its setbacks and what it was like to be at the first two rounds in Iowa City.

We’ll have more in the weeks ahead and even from this weekend, thanks to our six — SIX! — reporters in Albany and two in Portland.

Add Locked On Women’s Basketball to your daily routine

Here at The Next, in addition to the 24/7/365 written content our staff provides, we also host the daily Locked On Women’s Basketball podcast. Join us Monday through Saturday each week as we discuss all things WNBA, collegiate basketball, basketball history and much more. Listen wherever you find podcasts or watch on YouTube.

As a reminder, here is our schedule for the weekend (all times Eastern):

  • Friday, 2:30 p.m.: No. 3 Oregon State vs. No. 2 Notre Dame in the Albany 1 Region (ESPN)
  • Friday, 5 p.m.: No. 4 Indiana vs. No. 1 South Carolina in the Albany 1 Region (ESPN)
  • Friday, 7:30 p.m.: No. 3 NC State vs. No. 2 Stanford in the Portland 4 Region (ESPN)
  • Friday, 10 p.m.: No. 4 Gonzaga vs. No. 1 Texas in the Portland 4 Region (ESPN)
  • Saturday, 1 p.m.: No. 3 LSU vs. No. 2 UCLA in the Albany 2 Region (ABC)
  • Saturday, 3:30 p.m.: No. 5 Colorado vs. No. 1 Iowa in the Albany 2 Region (ABC)
  • Saturday, 5:30 p.m.: No. 5 Baylor vs. No. 1 USC in the Portland 3 Region (ESPN)
  • Saturday, 8 p.m.: No. 7 Duke vs. No. 3 UConn in the Portland 3 Region (ESPN)
  • Sunday, 1 p.m.: Elite Eight matchup in the Albany 1 Region (ABC)
  • Sunday, 3 p.m.: Elite Eight matchup in the Portland 4 Region (ABC)
  • Monday, 7:15 p.m.: Elite Eight matchup in the Albany 2 Region (ESPN)
  • Monday, 9:15 p.m.: Elite Eight matchup in the Portland 3 Region (ESPN)

Thanks for tuning in, and make sure to subscribe to the Locked On Women’s Basketball podcast to keep learning about the WNBA, women’s college basketball and basketball history.

Written by The Next

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