NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament 2021: Odds for Subregionals Bracket

Jake RillFeatured Columnist IMarch 19, 2021

NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament 2021: Odds for Subregionals Bracket

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    Isaac Brekken/Associated Press

    There are numerous teams capable of winning this year's NCAA women's basketball tournament, but don't expect it to be a surprise school. That's not how this tourney typically goes.

    The 2021 women's tournament gets underway with 16 first-round matchups on Sunday, followed by 16 more on Monday.

    And while there could be some upsets, it's less likely to happen here than it is in the men's tournament. It's highly possible that a lot of Nos. 1 and 2 seeds will make deep runs and be battling it out for the national championship on April 4.

    In the opening round, these title favorites are likely to rout the lowest-seeded teams. But there will still be some exciting games taking place over the first few days of the tourney between teams that are at a similar level.

    Here's the complete schedule for the first round of this year's tournament, along with odds for each game.

1st-Round Schedule, Odds

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    Saul Young/Associated Press

    Sunday, March 21

    No. 5 Iowa (-10.5) vs. No. 12 Central Michigan, noon ET, ESPN

    No. 7 Virginia Tech (-1.5) vs. No. 10 Marquette, noon ET, ESPNU

    No. 8 Oklahoma State (-7.5) vs. No. 9 Wake Forest, 1 p.m. ET, ESPN2

    No. 4 Kentucky (-4.5) vs. No. 13 Idaho State, 2 p.m. ET, ESPN

    No. 3 Tennessee (-13.5) vs. No. 14 Middle Tennessee, 2 p.m. ET, ABC

    No. 6 Michigan (-1) vs. No. 11 Florida Gulf Coast, 3 p.m. ET, ESPN2

    No. 1 NC State (-20.5) vs. No. 16 North Carolina A&T, 4 p.m. ET, ESPN

    No. 2 Baylor (-33.5) vs. No. 15 Jackson State, 4 p.m. ET, ABC

    No. 5 Georgia Tech vs. No. 12 Stephen F. Austin (-5.5), 4:30 p.m. ET, ESPNU

    No. 8 Syracuse (-4.5) vs. No. 9 South Dakota State, 5:30 p.m. ET, ESPN2

    No. 1 South Carolina (-32.5) vs. No. 16 Mercer, 6 p.m. ET, ESPN

    No. 8 Oregon State (-5.5) vs. No. 9 Florida State, 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN2

    No. 1 UConn (-40.5) vs. No. 16 High Point, 8 p.m. ET, ESPN

    No. 4 West Virginia (-12.5) vs. No. 13 Lehigh, 8 p.m. ET, ESPNU

    No. 8 South Florida (-3) vs. No. 9 Washington State, 9:30 p.m. ET, ESPN2

    No. 1 Stanford (-44.5) vs. No. 16 Utah Valley, 10 p.m. ET, ESPN

    Monday, March 22

    No. 3 Georgia (-19.5) vs. No. 14 Drexel, noon ET, ESPN2

    No. 6 Rutgers (-9.5) vs. No. 11 BYU, noon ET, ESPNU

    No. 7 Alabama vs. No. 10 North Carolina (-1.5), noon ET, ESPN

    No. 4 Indiana vs. No. 13 Virginia Commonwealth (no line), 2 p.m. ET, ESPNU

    No. 3 Arizona (-19.5) vs. No. 14 Stony Brook, 2 p.m. ET, ESPN2

    No. 4 Arkansas (-5.5) vs. No. 13 Wright State, 2 p.m. ET, ESPN

    No. 5 Gonzaga (-10.5) vs. No. 12 Belmont, 4 p.m., ESPN2

    No. 2 Maryland (-34.5) vs. No. 15 Mount St. Mary's, 4 p.m. ET, ESPN

    No. 7 Northwestern (-3.5) vs. No. 10 UCF, 4 p.m. ET, ESPNU

    No. 7 Iowa State (-1.5) vs. No. 10 Michigan State, 6 p.m. ET, ESPN

    No. 2 Texas A&M (-16.5) vs. No. 15 Troy, 6 p.m. ET, ESPN2

    No. 5 Missouri State (-9.5) vs. No. 12 UC Davis, 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPNU

    No. 6 Texas (-8.5) vs. No. 11 Bradley, 8 p.m. ET, ESPN2

    No. 2 Louisville (-19.5) vs. No. 15 Marist, 8 p.m., ESPN

    No. 6 Oregon (-3.5) vs. No. 11 South Dakota, 10 p.m. ET, ESPN2

    No. 3 UCLA (-20.5) vs. No. 14 Wyoming, 10 p.m. ET, ESPN

    Odds via Bovada

Stephen F. Austin Favored as No. 12 Seed

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    Michael Wyke/Associated Press

    Even though Stephen F. Austin is a No. 12 seed, it's a 5.5-point favorite for its opening-round matchup against No. 5-seeded Georgia Tech. And it's quite possible the Ladyjacks will follow through and knock off the Yellow Jackets on Sunday.

    Entering the tourney with a 24-2 record, Stephen F. Austin is on a 19-game winning streak and hasn't lost since falling at Houston on Dec. 11. It went 14-0 in Southland Conference play during the regular season, then took down Central Arkansas and Sam Houston State to win the conference tourney.

    The Ladyjacks are one of the best defensive teams in the nation, ranking fifth in points allowed per game (50.9), second in steals per game (13.6) and first in turnovers forced per game (24.27).

    Georgia Tech, which is 15-8 this season, is averaging 57.6 points over its past five games, and this might not be the best matchup for it to get back on track offensively.

    Not only will this be Stephen F. Austin's first NCAA tournament appearance since 2006, but it also hasn't won a game in the tourney since a first-round matchup in 2000. The Ladyjacks ended the first drought, and they could end the second on Sunday.

No. 11-Seeded Florida Gulf Coast Could Pull off Upset

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    Luis M. Alvarez/Associated Press

    Florida Gulf Coast loves to shoot three-pointers—and lots of them. It has attempted 1,001 shots from beyond the arc in 28 games this season, while no other team in the country has more than 796.

    Because of that, the Eagles also have the most made three-pointers in the nation (334), as they shoot at a 33.4-percent rate from beyond the arc. So, their effectiveness in that department against No. 6-seeded Michigan could decide whether they pull off the upset on Sunday.

    It's been a successful formula for Florida Gulf Coast this season. After a 1-2 start, it has won 25 consecutive games, which included defeating Jacksonville, Lipscomb and Liberty to win the Atlantic Sun tournament. Before that, it went 16-0 in regular-season conference play.

    Now, the Eagles will look to carry that momentum into their matchup against Michigan, which has lost four of its past six games and lost to Northwestern in its first game in the Big Ten tournament.

    If things continue to go in these directions for the two teams, then the Eagles could advance to the second round of the tournament for the third time since 2015.

Could Idaho State Pull off Rare Type of Upset?

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    Otto Kitsinger/Associated Press

    As Natalie Weiner of The New York Times recently pointed out, there hasn't been a team seeded No. 13 or lower to pull off a first-round upset since No. 13-seeded Marist beat No. 4 Georgia in 2012. Could that change this year?

    If it does, it could be the Idaho State Bengals that notch the big upset victory. The No. 13 seeds face No. 4-seeded Kentucky on Sunday, and they'll be looking to keep building on a strong season. Idaho State is 22-3 after beating Portland State, Northern Colorado and Idaho to win the Big Sky tournament.

    It's possible Kentucky will win because it's played a more difficult schedule. But Idaho State also appears to be a solid team, led by a talented lineup that features four guards averaging double-digit points: redshirt senior Dora Goles (12.4), redshirt sophomore Diaba Konate (11.7), graduate student Estefania Ors (10.2) and junior Callie Bourne (10.0).

    The Bengals have made only three previous NCAA tournament appearances (2001, 2007 and 2012), and they lost in the first round each of those three years. Maybe they'll be making program history on Sunday.