South Carolina and three other NCAA Women’s Tournament contenders

The past dozen NCAA women’s basketball champions have at least one thing in common: Each has earned a top 10 spot in both offensive and defensive standings, according to website Her Hoop Stats.

Only five teams meet these criteria and participate in this year’s tournament. The reigning national champion and top-ranked South Carolina ranks first in both metrics, while Indiana, Connecticut, Stanford and LSU are in the top 10 on both offense and defense.

Unsurprisingly, all five of these teams were promoted in the NCAA tournament. Stanford, seeded No. 1, will meet a play-in winner later this week in the first round, while No. 1 South Carolina will take on Norfolk State. Indiana, No. 1, also faces a play-in winner, while U-Conn, No. 2, is seeded. competes against Vermont. LSU, a No. 3 in the Indiana region, will start with Gardner-Webb.

Although it meets the above criteria, LSU has not prepared to win a national championship. The Tigers’ schedule non-conference strength, based on NET rankings, was only 320th in the country. The Tigers have played just three games against teams in the AP’s top 25 — against No. 1 South Carolina and No. 23 Tennessee (twice) — and they’re 1-2 in those games, including a 24-point loss to the gamecocks. LSU didn’t look ready on their road trip to Columbia or in the SEC tournament right now, and it doesn’t appear to be a title threat. South Carolina and three other NCAA Women’s Tournament contenders

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