Women's Bracketology: 2023 NCAA tournament

The women's NCAA tournament will undergo significant change for the second consecutive season. The field expanded to 68 teams last year. This season, the customary four regional sites have been reduced to two: Seattle and Greenville, South Carolina. The top 16 teams will continue to host the first and second rounds, and the First Four games will again be played at the site of the first-round games to which they feed. Defending champion South Carolina is the heavy favorite, and the Gamecocks seek to become the first repeat champions since UConn in 2015 and 2016. The Final Four is March 31 and April 2 at American Airlines Center in Dallas.

Bracket Watch

Tennessee and Texas, No. 1 seeds in the preseason, are absent this week. Tough schedules, injuries and transfers struggling to adjust to their new environments contributed to the Lady Vols -- 2-4 for the first time since 1981-82 -- and the Longhorns (2-3) languishing below .500. Bracketology is a snapshot of the season as if the tournament field is being chosen that day, and only teams with a winning percentage of .500 or better are eligible to be an at-large selection. Both teams are expected to bounce back and be in the field come March, but a disastrous trip to the Bahamas for the Battle 4 Atlantis -- the tournament that turned Bracketology sideways -- cost Tennessee and Texas a realistic shot at a No. 1 seed. They were favored to meet in the championship; instead, each left with only a win over Rutgers. The big winners this week are the teams that surprised at the Battle 4 Atlantis. UCLA, 6-0 for the first time since 2010-11, won the event and is a No. 3 seed. Marquette made the final and is a No. 6 after missing the field a week ago. Gonzaga and South Dakota State solidified their status as the best mid-majors in the country with two wins apiece, including one each over Louisville, which stumbles to a 6-seed.

68-Team Bracket

Photo illo by ESPN Illustration, additional photos courtesy of Getty Images, Associated Press, Imagn, Icon Sportswire, EPA/Shutterstock

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