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The top favorite and sleeper in the 2019 NCAA women’s basketball tournament

Baylor and Notre Dame are sizable favorites, but there is a sleeper to consider.

Notre Dame v Mississippi State Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

The 2019 NCAA woman’s basketball tournament gets underway on Friday at 12 p.m. ET when No. 1-seeded Louisville hosts No. 16-seeded Robert Morris. The tournament wraps up on April 7 when the national title game takes place in Tampa, Florida.

The Westgate SuperBook released futures for the women’s title and Baylor and Notre Dame are the two favorites. Second-seeded UConn is slotted next, followed by the remaining No. 1 seeds — Mississippi State and Louisville. Natalie Weiner provides us with a look at why Baylor is the favorite, and why Mississippi State is a potential value pick.

Favorite: Baylor

The Lady Bears have cruised into the postseason, going undefeated after a brutal road loss to Stanford back in January. They’re the No. 1-overall seed, which explains their slight edge with Vegas, but a number of pundits are actually favoring Notre Dame to go back to back. Of the top tier NCAAW teams this season — of which there are at least six, depending on who you ask — Baylor is the strongest on defense, leading the nation in defensive rebounds and blocks thanks to 6’7 Kalani Brown and 6’4 Lauren Cox. If you believe defense wins championships, Baylor is an easy bet.

Sleeper: Mississippi State

The Bulldogs have been tantalizingly close to a title for two years in a row now, and it seems unlikely that coach Vic Schaefer is going to let another deep run evade his grasp while he can still count on star senior center Teaira McCowan. Mississippi State just won their first SEC title by playing some of the best basketball of their season, showing that they’re truly able to score from every part of the court — not just when they funnel the ball to McCowan, who shoots 65.5 percent from the floor. According to Her Hoop Stats, they’re the No. 2 offense and No. 3 defense in the country, which would seem like a pretty potent combination.

2019 NCAA women’s basketball title odds

Baylor: 9-5
Notre Dame: 2-1
UConn: 7-2
Mississippi State: 10-1
Oregon: 14-1
Louisville: 18-1
Stanford: 30-1
Iowa: 100-1
Maryland: 100-1
Field (all others): 100-1