The 2017-18 season has come down to three games for the title.
Louisville vs. Mississippi State
With both teams ranked in the top 20 in the country in offensive and defensive efficiency, this has the potential to be one of the best matchups we have seen all year. The Cardinals dismantled Oregon State to advance to their programs third trip to the Final Four, and they did so on the defensive end of the floor.
There is no question that Louisville's Asia Durr and Myisha Hines-Allen have to be great offensively, they are beating opponents by an average of 28 points in the tournament. They are a versitile team able to game plan and match up with anyone in the country.
Louisville knows it is going to come down to getting stops. Their offense is driven by their defense, forcing turnovers and playing out of transition. Defending the post vs. the Bulldog's TeaIra McCowan, is the biggest key to limiting her touches while also defending on the perimeter as MSU shoots it nearly 40 percent beyond the arc.
The 6-foot-7 center poses a nearly impossible matchup and uses her size and strength well. She will need to remain out of foul trouble for Mississippi State as Louisville does a good job of attacking you inside.
[credit]Mississippi state Athletics[/credit]
The senior powered Mississippi State is 36-1 on the season with their lone loss coming to South Carolina where McCowan was limited in minutes due to foul trouble. They average 82 points per game and hold their opponents 56. Senior Victoria Vivians is playing the best basketball of her career averaging 19.6 points per game and shooting nearly 50 percent from the field.
Head coach Vic Schaefer has a veteran team that has continued to grow the program to new heights each and every year Both teams can score it, both teams can defend, both teams rebound it well and both teams are capable of going on to win it all.
Game Time: Friday, March 30th at 7:00pm ET on ESPN2.
Prediction: Louisville in OT
Connecticut vs. Notre Dame
These two programs know each other all too well, they met earlier this season which resulted in an 80-71 UConn victory. The Huskies, to no surprise are once again the favorite to win it all. This is their 11th consecutive Final Four and a chance to add their 12th National Championship to the record books.
With another undefeated season at stake, it would almost seem bizarre if they didn't go on to win it all. They are the top team offensively averaging 89.4 ppg and shoot the ball 53 percent from the field. If the Huskies are shooting the ball as well as they do and beat Notre Dame on the boards, the Irish can not win this game.
Notre Dame has defied many odds all season facing multiple injuries and a limited bench. Head Coach Muffet McGraw has been forced to reinvent her team and they have shown us just how tough they are to do just that primarily with junior guard Marina Mabrey's evolution to primary point guard.
The Irish will need Mabrey and Ogunbowale to be efficient offensively. UConn had previously held them to a combined 14-40 from the field, including Ogunbowale going 1-10 from the three point line. They will also need strong performances from Shepard and Kathryn Westbeld down low, forcing the UConn defense to spread the floor and open up opportunities for the others.
Game Time: Friday, March 30th at 9:30pm ET on ESPN2.