It’s bracket time! A thing I love about this tournament is that everyone, from experts to amateurs, look extremely silly. However, I choose to look at this as an opportunity. If science and logic don’t matter, we can use whatever we want to make decisions.
So, let’s say you have a favorite NWSL team or player, we’re going to tell you who you should pull for in the NCAAW Basketball Tournament.
Editor’s note: You can play along for free for a chance at $100,000 or signed Chelsea Gray merch here at Gaming Society. Isn’t that cool? Ok back to André.
Angel City may not have the length of history but their Hollywood-backed ownership groups has done a lot to push standards higher, and, naturally, tend to get a lot of media attention. Case in point, their 18 year old draft pick, Alyssa Thompson, was recently on daytime show The Talk.
Bracket winner suggestion: No. 2 seed UConn (28-5)
There’s always the conversation of whether there’s a media bias toward UConn, and one of the points against such a thing is that they are extremely good. Star Paige Bueckers tore her ACL, but they have a whole other No. 1 recruit in Azzi Fudd who’s a baller deserving of the spotlight.
There’s a youth revolution happening in Chicago. Some of it was planned (rookies Ava Cook and Ella Stevens played big roles last season) and some was forced (stalwarts Danielle Colaprico, Vanessa DiBernardo and Morgan Gautrat left in free agency), fifteen of the player projected to secure spots for 2023 are 25 or under.
Bracket winner suggestion: No. 2 seed Utah (25-4)
The Utes don’t have a single senior on their roster but the young guns earned a 2 seed despite not being named in any preseason top-25 lists. Sometimes it’s the teams that don’t know they shouldn’t be that good that are the most dangerous.
With María Sánchez, Ebony Salmon and Dana Ordóñez, the Dash will have loads of dynamism in attack but are still unproven in the playoffs, being kept out on the final day by Washington Spirit in 2020 and beaten in the first round in 2022.
Bracket winner suggestion: No. 1 seed Stanford (28-5)
They earned a No. 1 seed, but did not have as good a season as anticipated despite a lot of talent. Haley Jones will be a first-round pick this year and junior Cameron Brink is a potential No. 1 pick next year, but the team has to shed their shakiness to show their talent on a bigger stage.
Kansas City have kicked the door in and are looking to supplant every last one of the historical top clubs in the NWSL – you know where this is going. Securing Debinha is very much a Caitlin Clark at Iowa situation, and the results are likely to be every bit as devastating.
Bracket winner suggestion: No. 2 Iowa (26-6)
Iowa is not supposed to have a player like Caitlin Clark. A stone cold killer, an unguardable shot maker, dotter of eyes, my-range-is-the-entire-floor type talent. Clark could start for any team in the tournament and make them better, which was why Debinha was coveted across multiple continents.
Gotham is the vibiest club in the NWSL, sometimes those vibes are bad, which is unfortunate, but when the vibes are good – as they’re expected to be in 2023 – everyone and anyone is in danger of not just being beaten, but stunted on in the process.
Bracket winner suggestion: No. 2 seed Maryland (25-6)
Diamond Miller might be a top-2 draft pick. The team can stumble from time to time but is vibey enough to knock off big teams and let them know about it.
It remains to be seen if the Courage will play as chaotically as they did with Debinha and Diana Ordóñez, but we don’t expect too much deviation. So expect the Courage to continue their Jekyll/Hyde routine of chaotic good and chaotic bad.
Bracket winner suggestion: No. 3 seed LSU (28-2)
They’ve dominated bad opponents and have only lost twice all year, but one of those included a thorough wrecking by South Carolina. They have the capacity to be a chaotic good, particularly with Angel Reese, but can fumble when they face up against top teams.
The Reign have a history of success in the NWSL and have been one of the league’s crown jewels. However, from time to time, and particularly the playoffs, that pedigree can become a weight and catastrophe is possible.
Bracket winner suggestion: No. 1 seed Indiana (27-3)
The whole Hoosiers thing is real just ask them, but beyond that there’s some work to do. They’ve also lost in the Big 10 tournament after giving up a big lead and got Caitlin Clark’d at the buzzer.
Orlando is looking to finally make one of their rebuilds stick and with exciting new coach Seb Hines and a fantastic offseason recruiting young talent, the Pride are in their best position in years. Expect this team to have a lot to learn, but be extremely fun in the process and possibly achieve their first playoff appearance since 2017.
Bracket winner suggestion: No. 3 seed Notre Dame (25-5)
Their best player, junior Olivia Miles, has a knee injury and we don’t know if or how much she’ll play, but if she does expect Notre Dame to be fun as hell and have a chance to reach the final rounds of the tournament for the first time since 2019.
The Thorns are a powerhouse who will be looking to win their second straight championship. They also have young phenom, Sophia Smith, who’s already in the conversation for best in the world, and will only strengthen her case as years go on.
Bracket winner suggestion: No. 1 seed South Carolina (32-0)
They won last year, are 32-0 so far this year and have Aliyah Boston. Nuff said.
Louisville have assembled highly talented squads but as of yet haven’t proven they know what to do with them on the pitch. Still, the amount of talent alone makes them a danger to anyone they’ll play.
Bracket winner suggestion: No. 4 seed Tennessee (23-11)
The Volunteers have a ton of talent, starting with two first-round WNBA draft picks Jordan Horston & Rickea Jackson (even though Jackson recently announced she’s staying one more year). Despite that, they’ve struggled to put it all together to be as dominant as they should, but also, that could change at any time.
The Wave are simply an ultra solid team with a highly productive goalscorer and terrific head coach, Casey Stoney. They may not thrill or excite you, but there’s a very good chance they’ll beat you.
Bracket winner suggestion: No. 3 seed Duke (25-6)
Duke basketball teams elicit eye rolls by default but head coach Kara Lawson is changing that. The Blue Devils are a solid squad who will be a tough out for any team in the tournament.
The Spirit have an extraordinary core of young talent that can win a championship (2021) or finish second from bottom (2022). It’s a bit confusing in terms of results, but it does mean that regardless of where they end up, they will make you ooh and aah multiple times per game.
Bracket winner suggestion: No. 1 seed Virginia Tech (27-4)
A loaded roster with stars like Eliabeth Kitley and Georgia Amoore who messed around and earned a top seed. However, things could go either way in the tournament. They’re good enough to cut down nets, and confusing enough to be taken by surprise by a lower seed.
Happy basketballing! Also the NWSL season kicks off March 25th!