Picks, predictions for all 32 Champ Week women's tournaments

First glance at 2024 SEC Women's Basketball Tournament (1:16)

SEC Now's Alyssa Lang and Steffi Sorensen discuss their favorite matchups and make predictions following their first look at the SEC Women's Basketball Tournament. (1:16)

Catch your breath yet? The final regular-season weekend for Power 5 conferences in women's college basketball was full of broken records (via Caitlin Clark), extended win streaks (courtesy of South Carolina) and some eyebrow-raising results (see: the ACC and Pac-12).

Champ Week is here, and it's officially the time of year when coaches tell their players to compartmentalize the regular season: It's in the past. For better or for worse, whatever they did up until now has little bearing on how they'll perform in the postseason, when the pressure is truly on and the lights are brightest.

Given how much of an unpredictable ride the past four months have been, with consistency often difficult for teams to come by, we could be in for a real roller coaster of a Champ Week. The first games tip off Tuesday in the Horizon League and Sun Belt Conference. The Power 5 tournaments kick off with early rounds Wednesday for the ACC, Big Ten, Pac-12 and SEC, and Thursday for the Big 12.

ESPN's Charlie Creme and Alexa Philippou break down what to watch for in the Power 5 conference tournaments and what's at stake for March Madness, and then join Michael Voepel in predicting which teams will win all 32 tournament championships.

More coverage:
Bracketology | NCAA tournament schedule | Women's Tournament Challenge

Which conference tournament will have the most impact on what happens in the NCAA tournament?

Creme: The SEC tournament will have major bubble implications. With its collection of top teams, the Pac-12 might be the most compelling and exciting. But for impact on the NCAA tournament, it's the ACC.

Virginia Tech's chances at a No. 1 seed might be gone after losing to Virginia on Sunday, but the Hokies might now have something to prove in Greensboro, North Carolina. Regaining a hold on a No. 2 seed or hanging on to a top-16 spot altogether depending on the health of Elizabeth Kitley could be at stake.

NC State needs a good week in Greensboro to ensure at least a No. 3 seed. Being a 3-seed is a monumental difference from a No. 4. A 4-seed means likely meeting a No. 1 in the regional semifinal. For example, that could mean playing South Carolina with the Gamecocks on nearly a full week of rest.

Then there's Notre Dame and Syracuse. Both are fighting for top-16 spots to host first- and second-round NCAA tournament games. The Irish have already moved into top-16 position thanks to a strong finish to the regular season, but it isn't guaranteed. There is work to be done in Greensboro. The Orange are just on the outside looking in and need a push this week and a little help around the country. Two wins will probably be necessary to give Syracuse a chance.

Which mid-major conference race has the most impact on the field?

Creme: Ivy Madness on March 15-16 will be required viewing for all bubble teams. Princeton is a certain NCAA tournament team as either the Ivy's automatic bid or an at-large.

Columbia is a much less likely at-large team, but the Lions beat the Tigers in their previous meeting. If they do it again in the final of the Ivy tournament, the league will be sending two teams to March Madness, and Columbia would essentially be taking the spot of a bubble team. Right now that looks like an SEC team, probably one that doesn't last long at that tournament in Greenville, South Carolina.

Which Power 5 team has the most to gain during its conference tournament?

Creme: Any team fighting for a spot in the top 16 qualifies. Getting to host games in the NCAA tournament is a huge advantage: having your fans on hand, not having to travel, not having to start the postseason in a strange arena.

In addition to Notre Dame and Syracuse, Kansas State has a lot on the line in the Big 12 tournament. Not only can the Wildcats put themselves back in the top 16 by winning in Kansas City, they can erase a bad taste from the last month of the season. At one point, Kansas State was in position to make a run at the Big 12 regular-season title. Then the Wildcats went 4-5 from Jan. 31 on, with only one significant win (in overtime at home against West Virginia).

Kansas State needs a shot of confidence as much as it needs a couple more home games. Winning the Big 12 tournament might accomplish both.

Which of the current top 16 seeds in Bracketology has the most to lose in Champ Week?

Creme: Colorado was a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament selection committee's first reveal 2½ weeks ago. The Buffaloes are now fighting to stay in the top 16. They managed to survive four straight losses and get slotted at No. 13 overall in the second reveal on Feb. 29 because all those losses were to other top-16 teams.

But the buffer is gone after they lost at home to Washington State on Saturday. An early exit in the Pac-12 tournament -- even if it comes to a good team in Oregon State in the quarterfinals -- will bounce the Buffs from a seed in the top 16.

Gamecocks defeat UT, execute perfect regular season

No. 1 South Carolina completes its second straight perfect regular season with a 76-68 victory over Tennessee as Kamilla Cardoso records 18 points and 14 rebounds.

How secure are the current projected No. 1 seeds in the NCAA tournament field?

Creme: Only South Carolina enters Champ Week completely secure in its spot on the top line. Ohio State could have wrapped up a No. 1 seed with a win at Iowa on Sunday. But with the Hawkeyes winning comfortably in Clark's final regular-season home game, the Buckeyes must now turn in a good performance at the Big Ten tournament. And they might have to win it; if they were to lose to Iowa again in the championship game, the Hawkeyes would have a claim to a No. 1 seed.

If Stanford and UCLA reach the Pac-12 title game, Ohio State would be pushed to a No. 2 seed.

The Pac-12 could contribute to multiple scenarios. UCLA should secure a No. 1 seed just by reaching the finals -- because doing so would likely require wins over Utah in the quarterfinals and USC in the semis. That is enough quality wins to keep the Bruins right where they are. The Bruins have also lost to both the Utes and Trojans this season. Should that happen again, UCLA would likely fall from the top line, especially if Stanford won the title, the Buckeyes or Hawkeyes won the Big Ten and the Texas Longhorns captured the Big 12 tournament.

The Cardinal don't have quite as difficult a road as UCLA to the Pac-12 final, but a loss to Oregon State in a potential semifinal meeting would likely cost them a No. 1 seed.

USC could still be in line for a top seed. If the Trojans are crowned Pac-12 champs, they could unseat one of their conference colleagues if Texas doesn't win the Big 12.

It's rare that this many candidates for No. 1 seeds are still in play heading into Champ Week. But it's also fitting for a season that has provided more change near the top -- after South Carolina -- than has been seen in years.

What matchups do we most want to see in the Power 5 conference tournaments?

Philippou: After Sunday's showdown, we all could use Ohio State-Iowa, Part III. The two heavyweights could meet again in the tournament's title game on a neutral floor in Minneapolis five days from now (Ohio State is the No. 1 seed, Iowa the No. 2). Other games on the list:

Stanford vs. Oregon State: This potential Pac-12 tournament semifinal pitting the Nos. 1 and 4 seeds could provide us our first real Cameron Brink-Raegan Beers matchup of the season. Brink missed Round 1 and Beers missed Round 2, both due to short-term injuries. USC-UCLA, another potential semifinal, wouldn't be too shabby, either.

LSU vs. South Carolina: Their game was tight when the teams met in January in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, which could make this potential championship between the SEC's top two seeds interesting. But it's tough to envision the undefeated Gamecocks losing, especially in their home state.

Texas vs. Oklahoma: The Longhorns, the Big 12 tournament's No. 2 seed, have to want another shot at No. 1 seed Oklahoma after the Sooners overcame a 15-point deficit Wednesday to beat Texas and clinch the Big 12 regular-season title with a late 3-pointer from Lexy Keys. I'd sign up for yet another game to enhance that soon-to-be-SEC rivalry.

Predicting the winners for all 32 conference tournaments

Conference tournaments listed in the order in which automatic NCAA berths will be clinched.

Ohio Valley Conference

Ford Center (Evansville, Indiana)
Saturday, March 9, 3 p.m., ESPN+

Creme: Southern Indiana
Philippou: Southern Indiana
Voepel: Southern Indiana

Big Ten

Target Center (Minneapolis)
Sunday, March 10, noon ET, CBS/Paramount+

Creme: Ohio State
Philippou: Iowa
Voepel: Iowa

Southern Conference

Harrah's Cherokee Center (Asheville, North Carolina)
Sunday, March 10, noon ET, ESPN+

Creme: Chattanooga
Philippou: Chattanooga
Voepel: Chattanooga


Greensboro Coliseum (Greensboro, North Carolina)
Sunday, March 10, 1 p.m. ET, ESPN

Creme: Notre Dame
Philippou: Notre Dame
Voepel: NC State


Bon Secours Wellness Arena (Greenville, South Carolina)
Sunday, March 10, 3 p.m. ET, ESPN

Creme: South Carolina
Philippou: South Carolina
Voepel: South Carolina

Atlantic 10

Henrico Sports & Events Center (Henrico, Virginia)
Sunday, March 10, 4 p.m. ET, ESPN2

Creme: Richmond
Philippou: Saint Joseph's
Voepel: VCU Rams


MGM Grand Garden Arena (Las Vegas)
Sunday, March 10, 5 p.m. ET, ESPN

Creme: UCLA
Philippou: UCLA
Voepel: Stanford

Big South

Qubein Center (High Point, North Carolina)
Sunday, March 10, 6 p.m. ET, ESPN2

Creme: High Point
Philippou: High Point
Voepel: High Point

Sun Belt

Pensacola Bay Center (Pensacola, Florida)
Monday, March 11, 2 p.m. ET, ESPNU

Creme: Marshall
Philippou: Marshall
Voepel: Troy

Big East

Mohegan Sun Arena (Uncasville, Connecticut)
Monday, March 11, 7 p.m. ET, FS1

Creme: UConn
Philippou: UConn
Voepel: UConn

Horizon League

Indiana Farmers Coliseum (Indianapolis)
Tuesday, March 12, noon ET, ESPNU

Creme: Green Bay
Philippou: Green Bay
Voepel: Cleveland State

West Coast Conference

Orleans Arena (Las Vegas)
Tuesday, March 12, 4 p.m. ET, ESPNU

Creme: Gonzaga
Philippou: Gonzaga
Voepel: Gonzaga

Summit League

Denny Sanford PREMIER Center (Sioux Falls, South Dakota)
Tuesday, March 12, 4:30 p.m. ET, CBSSN

Creme: South Dakota State
Philippou: South Dakota State
Voepel: South Dakota State

Big 12

T-Mobile Center (Kansas City, Missouri)
Tuesday, March 12: 9 p.m. ET, ESPN2

Creme: Texas
Philippou: Texas
Voepel: Oklahoma

Big Sky

Idaho Central Arena (Boise, Idaho)
Wednesday, March 13, 5 p.m. ET, ESPNU

Creme: Eastern Washington
Philippou: Eastern Washington
Voepel: Northern Arizona

American Athletic Conference

Dickies Arena (Fort Worth, Texas)
Wednesday, March 13, 7 p.m. ET, ESPNU

Creme: North Texas
Philippou: Temple
Voepel: North Texas

Mountain West

Thomas & Mack Center (Las Vegas)
Wednesday, March 13, 10:30 p.m. ET

Creme: UNLV
Philippou: UNLV
Voepel: UNLV


Legacy Center (Lake Charles, Louisiana)
Thursday, March 14, 5 p.m. ET, ESPNU

Creme: Lamar
Philippou: Lamar
Voepel: Lamar

America East

Campus site
Friday, March 15, 5 p.m. ET, ESPNU

Creme: Maine
Philippou: Vermont
Voepel: Maine

Mid-American Conference

Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse (Cleveland)
Saturday, March 16, 11 a.m. ET, CBSSN

Creme: Toledo
Philippou: Ball State
Voepel: Toledo

Western Athletic Conference

Orleans Arena (Las Vegas)
Saturday, March 16, 1:30 p.m. ET, ESPNU

Creme: California Baptist
Philippou: Grand Canyon
Voepel: Grand Canyon

Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference

Jim Whelan Boardwalk Hall (Atlantic City, New Jersey)
Saturday, March 16, 3:30 p.m. ET, ESPNU

Creme: Fairfield
Philippou: Fairfield
Voepel: Fairfield

Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference

Scope Arena (Norfolk, Virginia)
Saturday, March 16, 4 p.m. ET, ESPN+

Creme: Norfolk State
Philippou: Norfolk State
Voepel: Norfolk State

Southwestern Athletic Conference

Bartow Arena (Birmingham, Alabama)
Saturday, March 16, 4:30 p.m. ET

Creme: Jackson State
Philippou: Jackson State
Voepel: Jackson State

Conference USA

Propst Arena (Huntsville, Alabama)
Saturday, March 16, 4:30 p.m. ET, CBSSN

Creme: Middle Tennessee
Philippou: Middle Tennessee
Voepel: Middle Tennessee

Ivy League

Levien Gymnasium (New York)
Saturday, March 16, 5 p.m. ET, ESPNEWS

Creme: Princeton
Philippou: Princeton
Voepel: Princeton

Big West

Dollar Loan Center (Henderson, Nevada)
Saturday, March 16, 6 p.m. ET

Creme: UC Irvine
Philippou: UC Irvine
Voepel: Hawaii

Atlantic Sun

Campus site
Saturday, March 16, TBD, ESPN+

Creme: FGCU
Philippou: FGCU
Voepel: FGCU

Northeast Conference

Campus site
Sunday, March 17, noon ET, ESPNU

Creme: Sacred Heart
Philippou: Sacred Heart
Voepel: Sacred Heart

Patriot League

Campus site
Sunday, March 17, noon ET, CBSSN

Creme: Boston University
Philippou: Holy Cross
Voepel: Boston University

Coastal Athletic Association

Entertainment & Sports Arena (Washington)
Sunday, March 17, 2 p.m. ET, CBSSN

Creme: Stony Brook
Philippou: Stony Brook
Voepel: Stony Brook

Missouri Valley Conference

Vibrant Arena at the Mark (Moline, Illinois)
Sunday, March 17: 2 p.m. ET, ESPN2

Creme: Belmont
Philippou: Drake
Voepel: Drake