March Madness Preview
Updated: Mar 12
March 12, 2023
To say that the Gamecocks are dominating everyone else might be an understatement.“It’s South Carolina, then it’s everybody else,” Mulkey said. And it’s been that way since the first tip in November.
With the NCAA women’s basketball regular season completed, LSU women’s basketball head coach Kim Mulkey enunciated a summation of this year in review following a heated trouncing handed to them by South Carolina.
In dominating fashion, the defending national champions are at the forefront of women’s basketball for the second year in a row. Coach Dawn Staley’s Gamecocks posted the only perfect regular season record at 29-0. This is their first undefeated regular season in Columbia.
Echoing Staley’s remarks after defeating the Connecticut Huskies in last year’s title game, this year’s squad performs as if they are ‘ordained’ to win it all again. Coincidentally (or not), Carolina winning the national championship could happen on the same date and the same place that the program did six years ago. Will anyone knock out the defending champs? Or will history vividly repeat itself with this year’s team cutting down the title nets in the American Airlines Center?
Is it truly South Carolina versus the field, or will there be a new champion? Does the Big Ten finally return to the Final Four? Can Connecticut continue their streak of Final Four appearances? Who else could be on the horizon to reach Dallas? Here are some of our takes on NCAA tournament headlines.
Picture Credit: South Carolina Athletics
Can the Gamecocks repeat?
Returning more than 75% of their offense from last year’s championship team, South Carolina looks to become the first back-to-back national champion since Breanna Stewart and company’s imperial, four-year run in Storrs that ended in 2015-2016. A trip to the Final Four would be their fifth appearance since 2015, and if the Gamecocks lay claim to the hardware, it will make it their third title in the last six years.
To say that the Gamecocks are dominating everyone else might be an understatement. Carolina’s depth, talent, and experience at every position continues to outmatch and overpower every last one of their opponents in just about every type of game: The 1 versus 2 tango with Stanford in Palo Alto; The shooting woes against Georgia, Mississippi State, and Ole Miss; the domination of LSU in front of 18,000 ‘fans’; The physical toughness of Connecticut in a battle of legendary powerhouse programs. Even in the bleakest, toughest game moments, South Carolina simply does not flinch.
Reigning national player of the year Aliyah Boston’s numbers dipped significantly from last year, but the expectations and command of her game when she steps on the floor continues to sharpen at an alarming rate. Boston became just the second gamecock to win multiple SEC player of the year honors, but what makes Carolina the most dangerous is not a single player. The collective resiliency of a genuinely battled tested team with an experienced senior group leading the way spells the perfect recipe that could culminate in another national title. But if that isn’t convincing enough, the Gamecocks also have history foretelling a deep tournament run, as the last nine defending champions have lasted through the Elite Eight or better.