Ole Miss, Mississippi State face tough road through Women’s NCAA Tournament bracket

Published 8:12 pm Sunday, March 12, 2023

Ole Miss’ and Mississippi State’s women’s basketball teams are both headed to the NCAA Tournament, but their paths through the bracket will not be easy.

The 68-team field was announced Sunday evening. Ole Miss faces a potential second-round game against a No. 1 seed, while Mississippi State will have to win a play-in game before it gets to advance to the main bracket.

Ole Miss (23-8) is the No. 8 seed in the Seattle 4 Regional and will play No. 9 seed Gonzaga (28-4) on Friday. The winner of that game will likely take on No. 1 seed and first weekend host Stanford (28-5) in the second round.

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Stanford faces the winner of a play-in game between Southern University and Sacred Heart in the first round. Only one No. 1 seed has lost in 336 games against No. 16 seeds in the history of the women’s tournament.

Ole Miss is in the NCAA Tournament for the second season in a row. It lost to South Dakota in the first round in 2022, and is seeking its first NCAA victory since reaching the Elite 8 in 2007.

Gonzaga is making its sixth consecutive appearance in the NCAA Tournament.

Mississippi State (20-10) also received an at-large bid, but will have to put in some extra work. It and Illinois (21-8) shared the No. 11 seed in the Greenville 1 Regional and will square off in a play-in game Wednesday at 6 p.m. in South Bend, Indiana.

The MSU-Illinois winner will then face No. 6 seed Creighton (22-8) in the first round on Friday.

Mississippi State lost its last two games, to LSU and then Texas A&M in the Southeastern Conference Tournament. It is making its 12th NCAA Tournament appearance, but first since reaching the Elite 8 in 2019.

Illinois (22-9) reached the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2003.

LSU will also play in the Tournament, and will serve as a host in the first two rounds. The Tigers (28-2) are seeded third in the Greenville 2 Regional and will play No. 14 Hawaii (18-14) Friday in Baton Rouge. The winner of that game faces the winner of another first-round game between Michigan (22-9) and UNLV (31-2).

About Ernest Bowker

Ernest Bowker is The Vicksburg Post's sports editor. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post's sports staff since 1998, making him one of the longest-tenured reporters in the paper's 140-year history. The New Jersey native is a graduate of LSU. In his career, he has won more than 50 awards from the Mississippi Press Association and Associated Press for his coverage of local sports in Vicksburg.

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