Caitlin Clark and Iowa vs. Penn State, and other must-watch NCAAW conference tournament matchups

March Madness is underway, and here are some must-watch NCAAW conference tournament matchups to watch to kick-off your weekend.

The month of March brings with it the fever pitch of college basketball. The NCAAW conference tournaments, a precursor to the national championship, promise edge-of-your-seat action and heart-stopping moments. This year, a blend of powerhouse programs and rising stars are set to clash, making some matchups unmissable for any college basketball fan.

NCAAW conference tournament predicitions

Iowa women’s basketball vs. Penn State: The Caitlin Clark farewell tour

In the Big 10 tournament, all eyes will be on Iowa women’s basketball as the Hawkeyes face off against Penn State. The spotlight will particularly be on Iowa’s Caitlin Clark.

Iowa women’s basketball player Caitlin Clark in the center, with South Carolina women’s basketball player Te-Hina Paopao, Texas women’s basketball player Rori Harmon, and LSU women’s basketball player Angel Reese

The last time Iowa and Clark faced-off against Penn State, Clark put up 27 points and a then season-high 15 assists. This sets an exciting stage for their upcoming tournament game, underscoring Iowa’s depth with Hannah Stuelke’s emergence as a formidable scorer.

This dynamic adds an intriguing layer to the rematch, promising a showcase of teamwork and individual brilliance.

Iowa’s dominance isn’t limited to Caitlin Clark’s brilliance alone; it’s a team effort, epitomized by their comprehensive team play and unmatched execution on both ends of the floor. Iowa women’s basketball and their ability to outclass opponents, as seen in their previous commanding win against Penn State, is a testament to their skills and teamwork​​.

Prediction: Iowa over Penn State (97-77)

Texas A&M vs. South Carolina: Gamecocks dominance continues

South Carolina Gamecocks guard MiLaysia Fulwiley (12) celebrates a three point basket against the Tennessee Lady Vols in the second half
© Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

As South Carolina women’s basketball and Texas A&M gear up for their SEC Tournament game on Friday, the outcome of their most recent matchup sets a telling backdrop.

The Gamecocks’ dominant 99-64 win over the Aggies, spearheaded by freshman sensation MiLaysia Fulwiley’s career-high 21 points, not only showcased South Carolina’s depth but also highlighted the emergence of talent ready to make an impact in the postseason.

Under the guidance of coach Dawn Staley’s, South Carolina women’s basketball is not just riding on the laurels of their experienced players but is continuously evolving with contributions from their newer roster members.

For the upcoming NCAAW tournament game, this context sets up a narrative of redemption for Texas A&M and a test of consistency for South Carolina. The Gamecocks’ undefeated streak and their recent performances against the Aggies position them as favorites. However, the unpredictability of tournament play and the potential for teams to evolve or buckle under pressure add a layer of excitement and uncertainty to this matchup.

Prediction: South Carolina over Texas A&M (96-60)

Auburn vs. LSU: A highly-anticipated matchup

In their first encounter this season, Auburn’s victory over LSU was nothing short of a master class in strategy.

Honesty Scott-Grayson led the charge with 21 points, disrupting the nation’s best scoring offense and snapping LSU’s 16-game winning streak. Auburn’s defense was crucial, forcing 15 turnovers and demonstrating the tactical depth of Auburn coach Johnnie Harris’s game plan.

 South Carolina Gamecocks guard MiLaysia Fulwiley (12) celebrates a three point basket against the Tennessee Lady Vols in the second half

However, LSU returned the favor vs. Auburn in February, defeating the Auburn Tigers 71-66. The teams are now an even 133-133 in points between the two games, per Cory Diaz of the Lafayette Daily Advertiser.

Given the stakes and the history, this rematch between Auburn and LSU in the SEC tournament is poised to be an exciting contest. Auburn’s previous performance suggests they have the blueprint to challenge LSU again, but LSU will be eager to continue their dominance.

Prediction: LSU over Auburn (82-78)

Texas vs. BYU or Kansas: Can the Longhorns bounce back from two byes

Heading into the Big 12 tournament as the second seed, the Texas women’s basketball team faces a unique challenge after earning byes through the first and second rounds. This scheduling gives the Longhorns a week’s rest before their quarterfinal match, raising questions about potential rustiness.

Their performance in the regular season against possible opponents, the seven-seed Kansas Jayhawks and the 10-seed BYU Cougars, has been dominant, showcasing Texas’s strength. With a significant victory over Kansas (91-56) and a resounding win against BYU (71-46), Texas looks to continue their momentum into the quarterfinals.

Prediction: Texas over BYU (83-42), or Texas over Kansas (97-48)

As the NCAAW conference tournaments unfold, these matchups stand out not only for the talent on display but also for the compelling storylines they bring. From Caitlin Clark’s brilliance for Iowa to the defensive stronghold of South Carolina, the dynamic offense of LSU and the intrigue surrounding Texas’s unknown opponent, there’s no shortage of reasons to tune in.

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