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NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament 2019: Bracket and Championship Predictions

Jake RillCorrespondent IMarch 19, 2019

FILE - In this Saturday, March 3, 2018, file photo, Baylor guard Alexis Morris (11), Lauren Cox, center, and center Kalani Brown (21) celebrate in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Kansas State in the quarterfinals of the women's Big 12 conference tournament in Oklahoma City. Baylor opens NCAA Tournament play at home for the sixth year in a row. The Lady Bears have arguably the best inside duo in the nation, with 6-7 Big 12 Player of the Year Kalani Brown and 6-4 Lauren Cox. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki, File)
Sue Ogrocki/Associated Press

After the bracket was revealed on Monday, the NCAA women's basketball tournament begins on Friday with a slate of 16 first-round matchups, followed by 16 more on Saturday.

Much like past years, the bracket is stacked at the top, as none of the four No. 1 seeds have more than three losses this season. Baylor (31-1) is the No. 1 overall seed.

The NCAA tournament concludes with the Final Four in Tampa, Florida, on April 5, followed by the national championship game on April 7.

          

2019 Women's NCAA Tournament Schedule

View the full bracket here. All times ET.

First Round

Friday, March 22

No. 16 Robert Morris vs. No. 1 Louisville, 12 p.m., ESPN2

No. 13 Belmont vs. No. 4 South Carolina, 1:45 p.m., ESPN2

No. 15 Mercer vs. No. 2 Iowa, 2 p.m., ESPN2

No. 12 Rice vs. No. 5 Marquette, 2 p.m., ESPN2

No. 9 Kansas State vs. No. 8 Michigan, 2 p.m., ESPN2

No. 12 Bucknell vs. No. 5 Florida State, 4 p.m., ESPN2

No. 13 Wright State vs. No. 4 Texas A&M, 4 p.m., ESPN2

No. 10 Drake vs. No. 7 Missouri, 4 p.m., ESPN2

No. 10 Buffalo vs. No. 7 Rutgers, 4:30 p.m., ESPN2

No. 15 Towson vs. No. 2 UConn, 6:30 p.m., ESPN2

No. 10 Indiana vs. No. 7 Texas, 7 p.m., ESPN2

No. 9 Clemson vs. No. 8 South Dakota, 7 p.m., ESPN2

No. 12 UCF vs. No. 5 Arizona State, 7 p.m., ESPN2

No. 16 Southern vs. No. 1 Mississippi State, 9 p.m., ESPN2

No. 15 Portland State vs. No. 2 Oregon, 9 p.m., ESPN2

No. 13 Florida Gulf Coast vs. No. 4 Miami, 9 p.m., ESPN2

          

Saturday, March 23

No. 16 Bethune-Cookman vs. No. 1 Notre Dame, 11 a.m., ESPN2

No. 11 Princeton vs. No. 6 Kentucky, 11 a.m., ESPN2

No. 11 Quinnipiac vs. No. 6 South Dakota State, 11 a.m., ESPN2

No. 14 Maine vs. No. 3 NC State, 1 p.m., ESPN2

No. 14 Fordham vs. No. 3 Syracuse, 1 p.m., ESPN2

No. 11 Tennessee vs. No. 6 UCLA, 1 p.m., ESPN2

No. 9 Michigan State vs. No. 8 Central Michigan, 1 p.m., ESPN2

No. 12 Little Rock vs. No. 5 Gonzaga, 3:30 p.m., ESPN2

No. 11 Missouri State vs. No. 6 DePaul, 3:30 p.m., ESPN2

No. 9 North Carolina vs. No. 8 California, 3:30 p.m., ESPN2

No. 10 Auburn vs. No. 7 BYU, 3:30 p.m., ESPN2

No. 16 Abilene Christian vs. No. 1 Baylor, 5:30 p.m., ESPN2

No. 15 UC Davis vs. No. 2 Stanford, 5:30 p.m., ESPN2

No. 13 Boise State vs. No. 4 Oregon State, 5:30 p.m., ESPN2

No. 14 New Mexico State vs. No. 3 Iowa State, 5:30 p.m., ESPN2

No. 14 Radford vs. No. 3 Maryland, 11 p.m., ESPN2

         

Second Round

March 24-25 at campus sites

         

Sweet 16

March 29-30 in Albany, N.Y., Chicago, Greensboro, N.C., and Portland, Ore.

          

Elite Eight

March 31-April 1 in Albany, N.Y., Chicago, Greensboro, N.C., and Portland, Ore.

            

Final Four

April 5 in Tampa, Fla.

         

National Championship

April 7 in Tampa, Fla.

       

Predictions

COLUMBUS, OH - MARCH 30:  Head coach Geno Auriemma of the Connecticut Huskies reacts against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish during the second half in the semifinals of the 2018 NCAA Women's Final Four at Nationwide Arena on March 30, 2018 in Columbus, Ohio
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Last year's NCAA women's Final Four featured the four No. 1 seeds. It's certainly possible that could be the case again this season.

However, one team that may prevent that from happening is UConn.

The Huskies are the No. 2 seed in the Albany region, marking the first time since 2006 that they didn't earn a No. 1 seed. But they still are having a strong season, as they enter the NCAA tournament with a 31-2 record after winning the AAC tournament championship.

UConn's only two losses came against Baylor, the No. 1 overall seed, and Louisville, the No. 1 seed in the Albany region. Not getting a No. 1 seed, paired with that earlier loss to the Cardinals, could have the Huskies extra motivated to make it to the Final Four for the 12th consecutive year.

Although UConn won four straight national championships from 2013-16, it has lost in the national semifinals the past two years to Mississippi State and Notre Dame, respectively.

The Huskies will be in the Final Four again this year, along with three No. 1 seeds—Baylor, Notre Dame and Mississippi State.

Once the tournament reaches that point, all the games should be highly competitive as the clear top class of women's college basketball teams battle it out for the national title.

However, Baylor has only one loss, and that came against Stanford back on Dec. 15. So, expect the Bears to continue to roll and win their first national championship since 2012.

Pick: Baylor over UConn in the national championship game

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