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The 2024 NCAA Women's Tournament continues Thursday with the final two First Four games featuring No. 11 seeds Arizona and Auburn and No. 16 seeds Holy Cross and University of Tennessee at Martin. The entire 64-team field will be in action with 16 first-round games on Friday and another 16 on Saturday.  

This year's title contenders are well known. There's undefeated No. 1 overall seed South Carolina, Iowa and the Caitlin Clark show, reigning national champions LSU and overlooked No. 1 seeds such as Texas and USC. But as everyone knows, March Madness never goes to plan. 

As the action gets underway, here's a look at three Cinderellas capable of making an extended tournament run. 

No. 12 FGCU, Albany 1

Florida Gulf Coast is getting to the point where you could argue they don't even qualify as a Cinderella anymore. This is the seventh consecutive NCAA Women's Tournament appearance for the Eagles, who have won their first round game in each of the last two years. During this run they are 3-3 in the first round as a double-digit seed, with one defeat by two points and another by seven. This team hasn't lost since Dec. 10, and 21 of their 22 consecutive wins have come by double digits. 

They will have all sorts of confidence coming into this game, and play a style that lends itself to upsets. Namely, FGCU has the highest 3-point attempt rate in the country with 51.3% of its shots coming from behind the arc. The Eagles actually didn't shoot all that well this year, hitting at just a 31.4% clip, but when you put up over 30 3s per game, it doesn't take much to turn the game into a math problem. -- Jack Maloney

No. 7 Ole Miss, Albany 1

When Yolett McPhee-McCuin took over as Ole Miss' coach in 2018, the program hadn't been to the NCAA Women's Tournament since 2007. By 2022, McPhee-McCuin had the Rebels dancing again, and in 2023 they made it to the Sweet Sixteen. This year, they're the No. 7 seed in the Albany 1 region, making a third consecutive tournament appearance for the first time since the mid-1990s. 

Although Ole Miss went 0-4 against ranked opponents this season, they had five wins against fellow tournament teams and rounded into form over the last month. The Rebels had won seven games in a row before falling to reigning national champion LSU in a close SEC Women's Tournament semifinal game.

Ole Miss has three consistent double-digit scorers in Marquesha Davis (14.6 points per game), Madison Scott (12.4) and Kennedy Todd-Williams (10.3). Snudda Collins also contributes 9.6 points per contest. As a group, Ole Miss is in the top 15 nationally in both free throw rate (.380) and rebounding rate (55.7). 

The Rebels will face Marquette in the first round, and that profiles as a good matchup. Winning that game would almost certainly mean a second-round meeting with Notre Dame -- a talented team, but one that will be without starting forward Kylee Watson. If the Rebels pull off the upset there, the bracket opens up a path to the Elite Eight, where they would likely face South Carolina. -- Isabel Gonzalez

No. 11 Middle Tennessee State, Albany 2

The Blue Raiders continued their dominance over Conference USA this season, finishing a perfect 16-0 in the regular season before winning the conference tournament for the sixth time since joining the league in 2013. For their efforts, they were awarded the No. 11 seed in the Albany 2 region, and a first-round matchup against Louisville. 

During Selection Sunday, former Louisville guard Hailey Van Lith shared her thoughts on the matchup. "Middle Tennessee is gonna whoop they ass," Van Lith appeared to say on the LSU Tigers' live stream. That might be a bit strong, but this is a matchup that the Blue Raiders can win. 

First and foremost, they can shoot. They are 25th in 3-point rate, with 45.2% of their shots coming from behind the arc, and 44th in 3-point percentage at 35.0%. It also helps that they're comfortable playing in the type of slow, grind-it-out games that often emerge in the tournament (66.1 pace, 327th in the country) and take care of the ball (15.1 TO%, 19th in the country). Add in a veteran starting lineup and a dynamic lead guard in Savannah Wheeler, and the Blue Raiders have all the makings of a Cinderella. -- Jack Maloney