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The Sweet 16 is getting ready to tip off and plenty of excellent matchups are coming our way. This has not been a good year for Cinderellas, but the top teams are giving us plenty of drama.

Indiana is the next team ready to challenge No. 1 overall seed South Carolina. The Gamecocks are deep and strong on both ends of the court, but only nine teams have ever lifted the trophy after an undefeated season, so statistically it is South Carolina vs. the field. 

LSU is still alive and trying to defend its national title, but the next step in that journey is taking down a tough UCLA team. Meanwhile, the Iowa Hawkeyes are also itching to get back to the championship game, but before even thinking about the Elite Eight -- where they could potentially get a rematch against LSU -- they will have to figure out how to win against Colorado.

This is going to be a fun weekend of hoops, and we've taken the liberty of ranking all eight matchups in the Sweet 16. Here is a closer look at the upcoming weekend:

8. (1) South Carolina vs. (4) Indiana

The Gamecocks are an intimidating team to face for anyone right now, but this could be a fun matchup since both teams have plenty of scorers who can shine any given night.

South Carolina earned its 10th consecutive Sweet 16 appearance after registering a +99 scoring margin through its first two NCAA Tournament games -- a new program record. Senior center Kamilla Cardoso is the team's top scorer, but she only averages 13.9 points per game because the offense is so balanced, as seven Gamecocks are averaging at least eight points per contest. The Gamecocks' defense is also one of the best in the nation, allowing just 55.4 points per game.

Meanwhile, Indiana might not suffocate its opponents at the same degree South Carolina does, but it is also a respectable defensive team as it holds opponents to under 64 points per game. With that being said, the Hoosiers' strength in this game will likely be their offense. Indiana is led by grad student forward Mackenzie Holmes' 20 points per game on 65.7% shooting from the field.

7. (1) USC vs. (5) Baylor

USC is back in the Sweet 16 for the first time since 1994. The Trojans are led by freshman star JuJu Watkins, the nation's second-leading scorer with 26.9 points per game. However, the team is much more dangerous than just her. One easy example is grad student McKenzie Forbes, who's playing her best basketball right now as she's scored at least 17 points in her last four outings. 

Meanwhile, Baylor has probably been overlooked by many, but its roster consists of versatile players. Similar to South Carolina, the Bears' strength doesn't come from one or two players who go off every night. They share their offense with six players averaging over eight points per game, and four of those players tally at least five rebounds per contest. Sophomore forward Bella Fontleroy recorded 19 points and 11 rebounds in the first round against Vanderbilt. On Sunday, junior guard Jada Walker registered a career-high 28 points to win a thrilling game against Virginia Tech.

6. (3) UConn vs. (7) Duke 

Despite the Huskies not being able to shake the injury bug this season, UConn is heading to its 30th consecutive Sweet 16. Paige Bueckers, the 2021 Naismith Women's Player of the Year, sat out last season because of a torn ACL. It seems she is flying under the radar with other stars in college basketball getting the spotlight, but she is just as good or perhaps even better than before her injury. Bueckers is still an elite offensive player, but this season she has also developed defensively.

Due to injuries and inexperience, UConn's rotation has only consisted of seven players. Bueckers is the player UConn will rely on the most, but Aaliyah Edwards is another player to watch as she almost averages a double-double with 17.6 points and 9.4 rebounds. Nika Muhl should also not be overlooked as she holds the program's all-time assists record, and her defense against Syracuse in the second round was a huge reason why the Huskies advanced. 

It was hard to make predictions about Duke before the season because the program added five freshmen. The Blue Devils have seen their ups and downs this season, but even in November they showed glimpses of who they could be. They left no doubts after upsetting No. 2 seed Ohio State in the Round of 32. Junior guard Reigan Richardson led that effort with 28 points while shooting over 60% from the field. Richardson is one of five Duke players averaging at least eight points per game.

5. (3) Oregon State vs. (2) Notre Dame

Any day is a good day to watch Notre Dame freshman Hannah Hidalgo play. She is one of the top freshmen players in the nation thanks to her versatility on both ends of the court. She is fifth in the nation in scoring with 22.9 points per game and No. 1 in steals with a total of 157. 

Without Olivia Miles, a few weeks without Sonia Citron, and several other injuries on the roster, the Fighting Irish were not always the most consistent team this season. However, things seem to be clicking for them now as they are riding a 10-game winning streak on their way to their third consecutive Sweet 16.

Oregon State struggled against Nebraska in the Round of 32 and scored just 16 points combined in second and third quarter. However, the Beavers' defense kept them in the game. Oregon State has its own talented young player in Raegan Beers. She was the 2023 Pac-12 Freshman and Sixth Player of the Year and has not slowed down. Beers has carried the team to its first Sweet 16 since 2019 with averages of 17.5 points and 10.2 rebounds this season. 

4. (1) Texas vs. (4) Gonzaga

Depth is what has helped most of the teams in the Sweet 16 make it this far, and both of these programs have it. Both are also in the top five nationally when it comes to scoring margin. 

Gonzaga, the last mid-major still dancing, reached a program-best 32 wins after taking down Utah in the Round of 32. This is the Zags' first Sweet 16 berth since 2015 and it's not hard to see how they made it this far. They had a tough non-conference schedule that prepared them for March and all five starters are averaging double figures. Senior forward Yvonne Ejim is leading the way with 20 points per game.

Texas was one of the most promising teams in the nation early in the season, as they had a 13-0 record and were ranked No. 5 in the nation. However, there was a lot of uncertainty about how this team would respond after losing star point guard Rori Harmon to a season-ending injury. The Longhorns lost their first game without her, but freshman Madison Booker took over and has now led Texas to its third Sweet 16 in four years. Booker is averaging 16.8 points and five rebounds per game. Four other Longhorns are also averaging over eight points per contest. 

3. (3) NC State vs. (2) Stanford

Stanford missed the Sweet 16 last season, but the West Coast powerhouse is back in it thanks to Kiki Iriafen's career night against Iowa State. The Cardinal were struggling with foul trouble and Cameron Brink -- the Pac-12 Player and Defensive Player of the Year -- fouled out late in the fourth quarter. The Cyclones were a persistent team, but ultimately Stanford advanced thanks to Iriafen's 41 points and 16 rebounds. Things won't get easier for Tara VanDerveer's squad as NC State is another tough opponent. 

The Wolfpack also played a close game in the Round of 32. They almost blew a 20-point lead against Tennessee, but they held on to earn their third Sweet 16 berth in four years. The team's top two scorers, Aziaha James and Saniya Rivers, tallied 22 and 20 points in that game, respectively. However, the team is deeper than those two as all five starters are averaging double figures. Four of them are also registering at least six rebounds per game. 

2. (3) LSU vs. (2) UCLA

Defending national champion LSU has looked shaky at times, but Kim Mulkey's team seems to always figure out how to come out on top. The Tigers have two double-double machines in Angel Reese and Aneesah Morrow, plus former Louisville star Hailey Van Lith has embraced the Tigers' point guard role.

LSU won the 2023 national title by taking down Iowa in the tournament final. One of the biggest storylines in this year's NCAA Tournament has been the potential rematch between LSU and Iowa in the Elite Eight. It seems like that would be must-watch television, but the Tigers would have to get through UCLA, a team that was undefeated all season until Pac-12 play.

The Bruins have plenty of powerful weapons too, including Lauren Betts, Charisma Osborne and Kiki Rice. Betts, the team's leading scorer and rebounder, missed the the first game of the tournament because of an injury, but she helped UCLA survive against Creighton with 20 points and 10 boards on Monday.

1. (1) Iowa vs. (5) Colorado

The Hawkeyes made it all the way to the championship game last year, and this season the buzz around the program grew even louder as Caitlin Clark became D-I college basketball's all-time leading scorer. She carries the Iowa offense with 31.8 points per contest and also a total of 307 assists -- both marks being the best in the country. The team has two other double-digit scorers in Hannah Stuelke and Kate Martin. 

Iowa survived an upset scare against a very disruptive West Virginia defense in the Round of 32, but the Hawkeyes showed their resilience and earned their second consecutive trip to the Sweet 16. Iowa has the top scoring offense in the nation, but West Virginia was able to hold the Hawkeyes to their lowest scoring half of the season. If Colorado was taking notes, we could have another nail-biter. 

The Buffaloes are also not a team that should be overlooked. They made a huge statement in November by upsetting LSU in the season-opener. Colorado was one of the hottest teams in the nation until Pac-12 conference play -- which might actually say more about the conference than Colorado itself. The Buffs are led by junior center Aaronette Vonleh's 14 points per game, but this is a very balanced team that can be hard to guard. Against Kansas State, six players scored at least nine points.