2024 March Madness Preview

March Madness is underway as 68 teams in both the men's and women's tournaments will battle to see who will be crowned NCAA champions

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2024 March Madness Preview
March Madness is officially underway
Wayne Dawes

The NCAA March Madness basketball tournament is now underway, as 68 teams in both the men’s and women’s tournament have an opportunity to go all the way and win the NCAA championship. There is a lot of anticipation for the collegiate sport this year as audiences are hyped to see how well certain teams and players will perform. With this year’s tournament, there are alot of storylines on both the men’s and women’s sides and if expectations will be met.

Women’s college basketball has experienced a boom period over the past few years, with fans more tuned in than ever before, with some even saying that women’s college basketball has been better than men’s. This year’s tournament for the women’s side will feature future WNBA draft picks such as Caitlin Clark from Iowa University and Angel Reese from LSU University.

Caitlin Clark who is one of the faces of women’s college basketball and the leader of the Iowa Hawkeyes, recently broke the all-time Division I scoring record for both men’s and women’s as she surpassed Pete Maravich's 3,667 points. Now all eyes are on her to finally get to the finish line and win the NCAA women’s championship. After losing to Angel Reese and the LSU Tigers in last year’s championship, she is looking to add the championship to her stacked resume before she enters the WNBA 2024 Draft.

For Angel Reese and the Tigers, people are wondering if they will be able to block out all of the noise and notoriety that came with winning the 2023 NCAA Championship and win the tournament for the second straight year. After a rough start to the season due to a suspension, Angel Reese came back to the court and helped the Tigers get back into form as she averaged 19 points and 13 rebounds a game. Angel and the Tigers have a chance to cement themselves in basketball history if they stay on course and win the tournament.

For the Men’s side, the UConn Huskies had another strong season finishing with 31 wins and only 3 losses as they earned the Number 1 seed for the NCAA tournament and won this year’s Big East Conference championship against Marquette University 73-57. Fans will see if UConn head coach Dan Hurley can lead this well-rounded team to their second straight championship.

The Duke Blue Devils enter this year’s tournament with a 25-8 regular season record. There are a lot of doubts about the Blue Devils and if they can ever reach the national championship again. After a historic 42-year reign as head coach, Mike Krzyzewski retired with Jon Scheyer taking over the role in 2022. The Blue Devils still have the right personnel to get back to the promised land. Sophomore Kyle Filipowski, the star of the team averaged 17 points and 8 rebounds a game during the regular season. The Blue Devils expect Filipowski to bring the same level of production during the tournament.

Students interested in watching the NCAA tournament have the opportunity to attend the March Madness Watch Party Series at the Miron Student Center at Cougars Den on March 19, 20, 22 and 28 from 12 p.m to 7 p.m. On Friday March 22 there will be a March Madness Basketball Shooting Contest at the MSC Recreation Complex Basketball Courts from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. as students and faculty are welcomed to participate, shoot hoops and win prizes. More information on these events are on Cougar Link.