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Autumn Johnson | | January 6, 2023

The first March Madness women's bracket predictions of 2023

March Madness women's first bracket prediction of 2023

The nonconference and early conference schedule across DI women's basketball has provided some huge upsets and the emergence of surprise contenders in the early part of the season.

Selection Sunday is just over two months away, when the 68-team field for the DI women's basketball championship will be announced at 8 p.m. ET March 12 on ESPN. NCAA Digital's Autumn Johnson took a crack at predicting how the bracket will look come March.

Autumn Johnson's early 2023 NCAA women's basketball tournament bracket prediction

SEED Greenville – Quad 1 Seattle – Quad 2 Greenville – Quad 3 Seattle – Quad 4
1 South Carolina Stanford  Ohio State Notre Dame
16 Albany/Idaho State Jackson State Norfolk State Long Beach State/SE Louisiana
8 St. John's Virginia Arkansas Texas
9 Louisville Tennessee Middle Tennessee Ole Miss
5 Baylor Kansas Iowa Arizona
12 UMass South Dakota State Columbia UNLV
4 Michigan Duke Oregon NC State
13 Stephen F. Austin Toledo Holy Cross Northern Iowa
6 Florida State Illinois Oklahoma Gonzaga
11 Alabama/Michigan State Seton Hall/Miami Missouri Mississippi State
3 Iowa State UCLA Virginia Tech Maryland
14 Drexel Cleveland State James Madison Eastern Illinois
7 Villanova Nebraska North Carolina South Florida
10 Florida Gulf Coast Kansas State Creighton Colorado
2 Utah LSU Indiana UConn
15 Fairfield Gardner-Webb East Tennessee State Fairleigh Dickinson

No. 1 seeds: South Carolina, Stanford, Ohio State and Notre Dame

South Carolina: The Gamecocks were Autumn Johnson's national champion pick in the preseason, came in ranked No. 1 on the back of their title win in 2022 and have yet to lose this season. Coach Dawn Staley has South Carolina in pole position to be the first repeat national champion since UConn's four-peat from 2013-16, so there's no movement at the top.

Stanford: The only blemish on the Cardinal's schedule this season is its five-point overtime loss to South Carolina in November and it has beaten every other opponent (bar Tennessee) by double digits. A late January meeting with current unbeaten Utah will be huge.

Ohio State: The Buckeyes are one of four remaining undefeated teams in the nation with huge wins over formidable nonconference opponents (Louisville, Oregon and Tennessee) and will be tested plenty in a competitive Big Ten with two games still to come against both Indiana and Maryland.

Notre Dame: The Fighting Irish have started ACC play undefeated, starting with a road win over top-10 opponent Virginia Tech, and have risen into the top 5 of the latest women's hoops Power 10. The most challenging portion of their ACC schedule will come in late January and into February.

WHO'S UP?: Autumn Johnson's first women's basketball Power 10 of 2023

Last four in 

  1. Miami
  2. Seton Hall
  3. Alabama
  4. Michigan State

First four out

  1. Southern Cal
  2. Purdue
  3. Georgia
  4. Marquette

The automatic qualifiers

Here are the 32 automatic qualifiers picked by Johnson, based on which team she thinks will win their conference tournaments.

America East Albany
American Athletic South Florida
Atlantic 10 UMass
ACC Notre Dame
ASUN Florida Gulf Coast
Big 12 Iowa State
Big East UConn
Big Sky Idaho State
Big South Gardner-Webb
Big Ten Ohio State
Big West Long Beach State
Colonial Athletic Association Drexel
Conference USA Middle Tennessee
Horizon  Cleveland State
Ivy Columbia
MAAC Fairfield
MAC Toledo
MEAC Norfolk State
Missouri Valley Northern Iowa
Mountain West UNLV
Northeast Fairleigh Dickinson
Ohio Valley Eastern Illinois
Pac-12 Stanford
Patriot Holy Cross
SEC South Carolina
Southern East Tennessee State
Southland SE Louisiana
SWAC Jackson State
Summit League South Dakota State
Sun Belt  James Madison
West Coast  Gonzaga
Western Athletic Conference Stephen F. Austin

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