USC or Texas A&M-CC? How to pick 1 vs. 16 matchup in 2024 women’s March Madness bracket

The No. 1-seeded USC Trojans will host the Texas A&M-Corpus Christi Islanders on Saturday afternoon (4:30 p.m. ET, ESPN), in a game oddsmakers seem to think will be over before it starts. Our comprehensive betting preview will detail the odds, stats, and trends to know ahead of the weekend, and also detail our prediction so you can lock in your pick.

Advancing will be a tall order for the Islanders, who punched their ticket to the program’s first March Madness tournament by winning the Southland conference tourney. The Trojans, 27-5 on the season, just took down the Pac-12 championship over fellow powerhouse Stanford.

Does Royce Chadwick’s Corpus Christi squad have the March magic needed to mount this upset? Or, will USC steamroll through the first round en route to its projected Final Four destination? Let’s look at the odds, preview the matchup, and make our prediction for who will advance.

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USC vs. Texas A&M-CC odds

Whoa, Nelly! Early odds have USC as a whopping 32.5-point favorite entering Saturday’s matchup, according to BetMGM.

  • Odds: USC (-32.5)
  • Date: Saturday, March 23
  • Time: 4:30 p.m. ET
  • TV: ESPN
  • Arena: Galen Center in Los Angeles, CA

USC (26-5, 13-5 in Pac-12)

Plain and simple, USC has been one of the more dominant teams in the nation this season. The lady Trojans also enter the tournament on a five-game winning streak, and they have won 10 of their past 13. They’re 13-2 at the Galen Center on the campaign.

The trio of JuJu Watkins, McKenzie Forbes and Rayah Marshall has been nearly impossible for opposing defenses to contain. Watkins does it all, averaging a whopping 27.5 points per game to go with 7.2 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 2.4 steals, and 1.4 blocks.

Watkins had a casual 33 and 10 in USC’s semifinal win over UCLA in the regional tourney. Forbes dropped 26 in the championship game. Marshall has 70 rebounds over the Trojans’ past five games, and her interior defense has been key to USC’s success. Opponents shot a collective 38.8 percent from the floor against Lindsay Gottlieb’s squad.

Key players

JuJu Watkins, G, Fr. (6-2): 27.5 ppg, 7.2 rpg, 3.2 apg, 2.4 spg

McKenzie Forbes, G​​​​, Sr. (6-0): 13.5 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 3.3 apg

Rayah Marshall, C, Jr. (6-4): 10.2 ppg, 10.5 rpg, 2.1 bpg

MORE: Buy tickets to 2024 March Madness games

Texas A&M-CC (23-8, 14-4 in Southland)

Like their opponent in this game, the Islanders enter March Madness on a five-game winning streak and fresh off a conference championship. Royce Chadwick, who has now taken eight different teams to the NCAA tournament, returns to the Big Dance for the first time since his Stephen F. Austin Ladyjacks made it in 2001. 

The Islanders have plenty of size, and they crash the boards to make up for some of their shooting and turnover issues. Alecia Westbrook and Paige Allen, two of A&M-CC’s top scorers, also both average seven-plus rebounds per game. Still, Chadwick’s squad will miss injured 6-4 center Torie Sevier in this one, especially against Marshall down low and on the glass.

Key players

Alecia Westbrook, F, Sr. (6-1): 11.4 ppg, 7.6 rpg, 2.6 apg

Paige Allen, G, Sr. (5-8): 10.2 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 1.9 spg

Mireia Aguado, G, Sr. (5-9): 10.9 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 2.5 apg

WOMEN’S BRACKET GUIDES: Iowa | South Carolina | LSU | USC | UConn

USC vs. Texas A&M-CC prediction

We love what Chadwick has done with this Texas A&M-CC squad and we hate to see a promising mid-major get destroyed in the first round — but that’s what’s going to happen. USC has far too many weapons and far too much size for the Islanders to keep up.

The Trojans should dictate the pace early and force a ton of low-percentage shots from A&M, which has already struggled with its stroke throughout the season. Take USC and write it into your pool in pen.

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