Women's Bracketology: 2025 NCAA tournament

The NCAA tournament will look different in 2025. With the Pac-12 mostly gone and the ACC (18 teams), Big Ten (18 teams), Big 12 (16 teams) and SEC (16 teams) bigger than ever, the NCAA still has decisions to make as to how to format the bracket. For now, let's assume there will be 31 automatic bids and an additional at-large. The expectation: Bigger conferences means more teams from those leagues will make the field. That grows the likelihood that the selection committee is forced to have two teams from the same conference possibly meeting in the second round. The two-regional format remains, with Birmingham and Spokane hosting.

Bracket Watch

One thing that won't look different in 2024-25 is which team starts the season at No. 1. Kamilla Cardoso is in the WNBA, but everyone else who contributed to South Carolina's undefeated national championship returns for Dawn Staley. With Oklahoma and Texas entering the SEC, the conference competition gets more difficult for the Gamecocks. USC will immediately be the conference favorite after moving to the Big Ten. The Trojans might also be South Carolina's greatest competition nationally, though UConn -- with national player of the year favorite Paige Bueckers back for one more run -- will have something to say about that. And could this be the first time Tennessee, with a new coaching staff and bigger challenges ahead in the SEC, doesn't make the tournament?

68-Team Bracket

Conference Breakdown

Photo illo by ESPN Illustration, additional photos courtesy of Getty Images, Associated Press, Imagn, Icon Sportswire, EPA/Shutterstock

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