The 2018 Women's NCAA Tournament kicks off on Friday as we look to crown the next champion in women's basketball. Last year we saw Mississippi State knock off UConn in the Final Four then fall at the hands of South Carolina in the NCAA Championship.
Will 2018 bring about another exciting finish?
Baylor's win streak falters
Speaking of Baylor, they are also on a 12-game winning streak, a streak that would hit 13 with a first-round win and 14 with the predicted win over Northern Colorado above. Baylor made an Elite Eight run a year ago, but I think the Sweet 16 is their end this year, at the hands of a very talented Tennessee squad, led by Jaime Nared and Mercedes Russell.
Cardinal (no 's') all the way
That battle between the Cardinal and the Cardinals in the Sweet 16 is what will ultimately decide the region.
Stanford are winners of 10 of their last 12, including wins against ranked Oregon, Oregon State and Arizona State teams. They did lose badly to Oregon in the Pac-12 Tournament championship, but they've got veteran leadership in the form of Brittany McPhee and Alanna Smith, among others, while the performance of freshman Kianna Williams (8.4 points, 5.7 rebounds per game) has been a strong addition.
In my predictions they would get Louisville in the Sweet 16 and Tennessee in the Elite Eight, a team who beat them in California back at the beginning of the season. Five of Stanford's 10 losses on the season (including the Tennessee loss) came in the Cardinal's first 11 games. They were a different group to finish the season.
This Stanford squad made it to the Final Four as a two seed in the Lexington region just a year ago. Can they get back again this season? I like their chances.
Here's a look at the region with my predictions: