The 2022 NCAA Women’s Tournament is Flipping a Long Standing March Madness Narrative

The South Dakota Coyotes celebrate the win against the Baylor Lady Bears in the second round of the NCAA women's tournament.
The South Dakota Coyotes celebrate the win against the Baylor Lady Bears in the second round of the NCAA women's tournament. / Chris Jones-USA TODAY Sports

If you haven't been watching the 2022 NCAA women's tournament through the first few rounds because of outdated narratives like, "there's no parity," or "upsets never happen early on," you're not only wrong, but you've missed out on some wild finishes.

This year, March Madness has been in full display both on the men's and women's side in 2022, with six first-round wins coming in the first round by double-digit seeds.

No. 12 Belmont held on against No. 5 Oregon in double overtime, Even No. 14 Jackson State nearly knocked off No. 3 LSU

In the second round, the madness has continued, as both No. 2 Baylor as well as No. 2 Iowa got dropped by No. 10 South Dakota and Creighton respectively. More could fall on Monday as well before the Sweet 16 gets going.

WynnBET Sportsbook only listed odds for nine specific teams in the NCAA women's tournament, with "The Field" coming in at +2500. None of the seeds had a lower number than "4," with Arizona rounding it out. Now, teams like Maryland, North Carolina, Texas and even the aforementioned South Dakota and Creighton are just two games away from reaching the Final Four.

There are More Eyeballs on the NCAA Women's Tournament Than Ever Before

Part of the other reason why the stereotype of the women's tournament continued to hold up was due to lack of accessibility. With the entire tournament now available on television, compared to just the regional rounds from before, more viewers are actually experiencing it for themselves, rather than simply hearing about it.

Sports Illustrated's Emma Baccellieri discussed this very notion in her latest column, while talking to some of the players on the right side of the upset; sharing how more coverage leads to more understanding, and ultimately more excitement for the tournament. When LSU guard Khayla Pointer was asked about nearly being upset by a 14-seed in Jackson State, she gave a response that most people covering the men's tournament wouldn't blink an eye at:

“It’s March. Everybody knows seeding doesn’t matter... We have seen it on the men’s side. We see it on the women’s side. It is about who wants it the most and who is trying to extend their season.”

There's still a full second round of action Monday afternoon, with No. 9 Kansas State taking on top-seeded NC State at 3:00 p.m. ET, followed by No. 11 Villanova and No. 3 Michigan a few hours later. No. 12 Belmont plays No. 4 Tennessee in a Nashville-Knoxville showdown, and No. 11 Princeton faces No. 3 Indiana in Bloomington this evening.

With already two double-digit seeds in the Sweet 16, Monday's results could make the women's tournament that much more eye-opening, and flip the old narrative on its head.

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