How each Elite Eight team can reach Columbus

Challenges ahead for Mississippi State's defense (1:58)

Andy Landers and Nell Fortner focus on Mississippi State's defense and the problems UCLA guard Jordin Canada could present for the Bulldogs. (1:58)

We've had some big upsets in the women's NCAA tournament, but so far, the No. 1 seeds are intact. Now we're down to the Elite Eight, and the top seeds will try to make it an all-favorites gathering in Columbus, Ohio.

Lexington Region
No. 6 Oregon State vs. No. 1 Louisville

ESPN, noon ET Sunday
The Cardinals had to love their overall performance in an 86-59 victory over Stanford in the regional semifinals. They shot well, spread out the offense, outrebounded Stanford and forced 19 turnovers. It's good that their confidence is high, because it's the same for their opponents. The Beavers haven't looked like a No. 6 seed; they've made 25 3-pointers in their three NCAA tournament victories, and center Marie G├╝lich has averaged 23 points and 12 rebounds in those games. Louisville is looking to go to the Final Four for the third time (2009, 2013); it would be Oregon State's second trip (2016).

Why Oregon State could win: The Beavers (26-7) have made big shots and key plays in their upsets of third-seeded Tennessee and No. 2 seed Baylor. They defended well in both games, holding the Lady Vols to 33.8 percent shooting from the field in Knoxville and keeping the Lady Bears at 39.4 percent. If they can force the Cardinals into enough shots that they don't want, and win or break even on the boards, the Beavers could get their third upset in a row.

Why Louisville could win: The Cardinals (35-2) shot 63.5 percent against second-round opponent Marquette and 51.6 percent against Stanford in the Sweet 16. The shooting slump for star Asia Durr seems over; she has scored a combined 43 points in the past two victories and is 15-of-29 from the field. If Louisville's offense remains that potent, the Cardinals will be hard to stop.


Does South Carolina have what it takes to beat UConn?

Andy Landers and Nell Fortner review what the Gamecocks will need to do to beat the top-ranked Huskies in their Elite Eight matchup on Monday (ESPN, 7 p.m. ET).

Kansas City Region
No. 3 UCLA vs. No. 1 Mississippi State

ESPN, 7:30 p.m. ET Sunday

Both teams played well in Sweet 16 victories, and now they will meet for the first time. They played each other in a preseason scrimmage before the 2016-17 season, so there's some familiarity in personnel. Teaira McCowan, a 6-foot-7 center, led Mississippi State in the regional semifinals with an NCAA tournament record-tying 11 of 11 performance from the field for 24 points. Guard Jordin Canada led UCLA with 22 points and eight assists, and the Bruins scored 31 points off turnovers against Texas. These are very experienced teams: The Bulldogs start four seniors and a junior; the Bruins start three seniors and two juniors.

Why UCLA could win: The Bruins (27-7) don't have anyone that is McCowan's size. But with a speedy post crew led by 6-4 Monique Billings, they could use multiple players to frustrate McCowan and try to deny her the ball. If UCLA can do that and shoot the ball well, the Bruins could pull the upset. They have the talent.

Why Mississippi State could win: The Bulldogs (35-1) are averaging 81.8 points this season; they're hard to guard because they can score from all over the court -- and McCowan cleans up a lot of misses. Mississippi State is still a strong defensive team, but its offense can wear down opponents too.

Albany Region
No. 2 South Carolina vs. No. 1 UConn

ESPN, 7 p.m. ET Monday
This is the only regional final that is a rematch of a regular-season game; UConn beat South Carolina 83-58 on Feb. 1. The Huskies are 6-0 all time against the Gamecocks, and all have been double-digit victories. This is just the second time that UConn has played the defending champion in the NCAA tournament; the other was in 1997, when the Huskies lost to Tennessee. If UConn wins, it will result in the Huskies' 19th Final Four -- breaking the record they share with Tennessee -- and 11th in row.

Why South Carolina could win: The Gamecocks (29-6) haven't played as well as coach Dawn Staley thinks they're capable of, yet they're still in the regional final. They'll have to avoid turnovers -- they had 26 in the Sweet 16 versus Buffalo -- and hope to hit some 3-pointers, although that's not the Gamecocks' strength. And they'll need a huge game from senior A'ja Wilson, who struggled from the field -- 4-of-18 -- in the regular-season meeting with UConn.

Why UConn could win: The Huskies (35-0) haven't been tested yet in this NCAA tournament. And they haven't really been pushed hard in their previous six meetings with South Carolina, either, winning by an average margin of 22.9 points. Napheesa Collier has been playing particularly well so far in the tourney, going 26-of-37 from the field for 64 points.

Spokane Region
No. 2 Oregon vs. No. 1 Notre Dame

ESPN, 9 p.m. ET Monday
Of all the regional finals, this might be the one women's basketball fans are most anticipating, because it pits two outstanding offenses and two of the most entertaining players to watch in Notre Dame's Arike Ogunbowale and Oregon's Sabrina Ionescu. But there are a lot of standouts around them too. Forwards Ruthy Hebard (23 points, 14 rebounds) of Oregon and Jessica Shepard (13 points, 10 rebounds) of Notre Dame are coming off double-doubles in the Sweet 16. Notre Dame is looking to make the Final Four for the eighth time, but it would be a first for Oregon.

Why Oregon could win: The Ducks (33-4) were new to the scene when they faced UConn as a No. 10 seed in the Elite Eight a year ago. This is a far more confident and experienced group, and the Ducks come in off three NCAA tournament victories in which they controlled each game pretty much start to finish. Oregon's offense is reliable, but a key will be whether the Ducks can defend at a high level against the Fighting Irish.

Why Notre Dame could win: The Irish (32-3) had a Sweet 16 battle against Texas A&M, but Marina Mabrey's great shooting from the outside, with seven 3-pointers, and terrific guard play from Ogunbowale and Jackie Young helped Notre Dame pull through. The Irish also have a lot of experience in the Elite Eight. Notre Dame is a team that just doesn't get rattled.