SportsHead|MBB & WBB March Madness

Mars Johnson|Marlin Chronicle

The 2024 Women’s Basketball NCAA Division I tournament is going to be the best it’s ever been. Talent is more widespread than ever, and competition is at its highest. NowThis News reported six times as many tickets being sold for the women’s Final Four in comparison to the men’s Final Four. Clearly, the women’s tournament is highly anticipated, as it should be. 

We have South Carolina, Iowa, Texas and USC seeded as number one in their respective regions (Albany I, Albany II, Portland III and Portland IV). All are talented and deserving of their ranking. 

I’m not too confident about USC being in the Final Four. I can see them being upset by either Baylor in the Sweet 16 or Duke in the Elite 8 (crossing my fingers that Duke beats UCONN in the Sweet 16), but JuJu Watkins and Mackenzie Forbes might be the propellers for a Championship run for USC.

I don’t really see Texas being in the Final Four. I am picking Stanford over them for the Final Four spot. Stanford’s bigs, Cameron Brink and Kiki Iriafen, are offensive and defensive monsters. It is just a matter of shutting down Texas’ uber-talented first-year Madison Booker and supporting sophomore Aaliyah Moore. 

I think LSU will beat out Iowa for the Final Four spot. LSU beat Iowa in the championship game last year when Iowa was still blessed with Monika Czinano, so this year it should be a breeze, unless LSU’s players choke or Iowa’s role players start playing spectacularly (rare).

I am confident that South Carolina will make it to the Final Four; however, I am not too confident that they will win the whole tournament. I am rooting for them, though. 

Overall, I’m just excited to see how the freshman class performs in this tournament. Freshmen like Hannah Hidalgo, Audi Crooks, Milaysia Fulwiley, Mikayla Williams and many more have been playing at high levels. I expect them to continue this momentum and add to the craziness of this tournament.

By: Sydnee Washington

Emily Uzzle|Marlin Chronicle

I am irritated with this year’s Men’s National Collegiate Athletic Committee (NCAA) bracket. First off, three of the final four teams from the 2023 tournament are on the same side of the bracket, which makes close to zero sense. That means that a potential Sweet 16 matchup in the east region will be a rematch of last year’s National Championship game. 

Another thing I am chewing out the selection committee for is the fact that the Big East Conference only has three teams in the tournament. UConn as 1 seed in the east is unsurprising; they are the defending National Champions. Marquette is a 2 seed in the south, and I hope they lose soon because as a Villanova fan I don’t like them. The last Big East team that got a bid was Creighton, who is the 3 seed in the Midwest, and I think they have a team that can go far into March. They deserve it after being brutally beaten in the quarterfinals of the Big East tournament by Providence as the 2 seed. 

Speaking of Providence, they could have arguably made a case to be selected and quite honestly they would have done better than the University of Virginia who is already out of the tournament. They had an atrocious performance in the First Four games, where they did not score the last almost 10 minutes of the first half and spent about 53 minutes of real time not scoring.

I haven’t really been paying attention to the Big 12 this year, so I have no serious opinion on Houston, but I guess if they are still the 1 seed in the south after being blown out by nearly 30 to Iowa State in the Big 12 Championship, they must have had a pretty good season. The University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, I think, has the easiest road to the Final Four out of all the number 1 seeds, but quite honestly I hope they don’t make it to the Final Four. 

UConn is probably going to go back-to-back, they’ve pretty much been number 1 in the country all year. I don’t know if you could consider NC State a Cinderella, but they wouldn’t have even made the tournament if they didn’t win the ACC (Atlantic Coast Conference) tournament. They have been on an absolute tear recently, and I hope they go far. But hey, it’s March Madness and anything can happen.

By: Colette Kearney