ESPN

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 2015-16. The Final Four is March 31 and April 2 at American Airlines Center in Dallas.

Bracket Watch

Much of the focus on geography and where teams might be sent has been removed as we shift away from the traditional four regions. For example, the seemingly annual debate on whether it's fair UConn gets to play close to home is moot. Once the regionals in Greenville and Seattle begin, the Huskies -- should they reach them -- won't be anywhere near Storrs, Hartford, Bridgeport or Albany. Geography is simply far less a subject of debate. The one possible exception emerges in this week's bracket. Indiana's win at Michigan coupled with Ohio State's home loss to Iowa makes the 18-1 Hoosiers the No. 2 overall team. That means Indiana grabs a spot in the Greenville Region, and the previously unbeaten Buckeyes are now placed in Seattle. Greenville isn't any sort of home-court advantage for the Hoosiers, but it means less travel and no change in time zones. The lesson: Depending on the teams in question, being No. 2 overall vs. No. 3 might still have significance.

68-Team Bracket

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

More Stories