Destined for Dallas

Bracket Breakdown

Information by Chris Werner | Assistant Sports Editor | [email protected]

Page by Jami Martin-Trainor | Assistant Digital Editor | [email protected]

No. 2 Iowa (30-6)

Fast Facts

Location: Iowa City, Iowa

Enrollment: 31,317

Conference: Big Ten

Mascot: Hawkeyes


Coach: Lisa Bluder (23rd season)

Final Four appearances: Two (2023, 1993)


Road to Dallas

95-43 No. 15 SE Louisiana

74-66 No. 10 Georgia

87-77 No. 6 Colorado

97-83 No. 5 Louisville


Statistical Leaders

Points per game

Caitlin Clark – 27.3

Monika Czinano – 17.2

McKenna Warnock – 11.1


Rebounds per game

Caitlin Clark – 7.3

Monika Czinano – 6.6

McKenna Warnock – 6.0


Assists per game

Caitlin Clark – 8.6

Kate Martin – 3.6

McKenna Warnock 1.9

Top Player

Junior guard Caitlin Clark is not only Iowa’s top player but may be the nation’s top player, too. Clark is an offensive servant. From logo 3-pointers, pull-up jumpers, and driving layups, to pinpoint passes from all over the floor, the Big Ten’s scoring and assists leader can do it all on the offensive end. 

Why Iowa can win the national title

Iowa has Caitlin Clark, that’s the main reason the Hawkeyes can win it all this season. But Iowa has put a steady, experienced team around her. The Hawkeyes are rolling with the same starting five for the third year in a row, and Clark’s sidekick Monika Czinano is one of the nation’s premier post players. 


Daniel McGregor-Huyer/The Daily Iowan
Jeff Blake/USA TODAY Sports

No. 1 South Carolina (36-0)

Fast Facts

Location: Columbia, S.C.

Enrollment: 35,587 

Conference: Southeastern

Mascot: Gamecocks


Coach: Dawn Staley (15th season)

Final Four appearances: Five (2023, 2022, 2021, 2017, 2015)


Road to Dallas

72-40 No. 16 Norfolk State

76-45 No. 8 South Florida

59-43 No. 4 UCLA

86-75 No. 2 Maryland

Statistical Leaders

Points per game

Zia Cooke – 15.1

Aliyah Boston – 13.2

Kamilla Cardoso 9.7


Rebounds per game

Aliyah Boston – 9.8

Kamilla Cardoso – 8.4

Brea Beal – 4.4


Assists per game

Raven Johnson – 3.5

Brea Beal – 2.8

Kierra Fletcher – 2.0

Top Player

Aliyah Boston won National Player of the Year last season, and she is a finalist again this season. Like LSU’s Reese, Boston is a dominant post player who can score in a variety of ways around the basket. Along with her 2022 unanimous National Player of the Year Award, Boston also won Defensive Player of the Year last season.

Why South Carolina can win the national title

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. South Carolina has been to three straight Final Fours and won the 2022 NCAA Championship, and with four of the same starters from last year’s team returning to the starting lineup this season, there’s no reason to think the Gamecocks won’t repeat.


No. 3 Virginia Tech (31-4)

Fast Facts

Location: Blacksburg, Va.

Enrollment: 29,760 (undergraduate Fall 2021)

Conference: Atlantic Coast 

Mascot: Hokies


Coach: Kenny Brooks (7th season)

Final Four appearances: One (2023)


Road to Dallas

58-33 No. 16 Chattanooga

72-60 No. 9 South Dakota State

73-64 No. 4 Tennessee

84-74 No. 3 Ohio State 

Statistical Leaders

Points per game

Elizabeth Kitley – 18.2

Georgia Amoore – 16.3

Taylor Soule – 11.1


Rebounds per game

Elizabeth Kitley – 10.7

D’asia Gregg – 6.1

Taylor Soule – 5.7


Assists per game

Georgia Amoore – 5.0

Kayana Traylor – 2.9

Taylor Soule – 1.7

Top Player

Like LSU and South Carolina, a majority of Virginia Tech’s offense runs through the post. That post player is Elizabeth Kitley. The 6-foot-6 senior from Summerfield, North Carolina, has averaged slightly more than 18 points per game in each of her last three seasons in Blacksburg and has shot over 50 percent from the field in all four seasons of her college career. 

Why Virginia Tech can win the national title

The Hokies’ dynamic duo of Kitley and junior guard Georgia Amoore has been the Hokies driving force all season offensively. Defensively, the Hokies allow under 57 points per game, the second-lowest of remaining teams behind South Carolina. The scoring balance and sound defense could spell a national title for Virginia Tech in its first Final Four. 


Barbara J. Perenic/Columbus Dispatch
Jim Dedmon/USA TODAY Sports

No. 3 LSU (32-2)

Fast Facts

Location: Baton Rouge, La.

Enrollment: 37,354

Conference: Southeastern

Mascot: Tigers


Coach: Kim Mulkey (2nd season)

Final Four appearances: Six (2023, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004)


Road to Dallas

73-50 No. 14 Hawaii

66-42 No. 6 Michigan

66-63 No. 2 Utah

54-42 No. 9 Miami

Statistical Leaders

Points per game

Angel Reese – 23.2

Alexis Morris – 14.9

Flau’jae Johnson – 11.1


Rebounds per game

Angel Reese – 15.7

LaDazhia Williams – 6.0

Flau’jae Johnson – 5.9


Assists per game

Alexis Morris – 4.1

Kateri Poole – 2.4


Angel Reese – 2.2

Top Player

After two seasons at Maryland, Angel Reese came to LSU before the 2022-23 season. The 6-foot-3 junior has averaged a double-double for the past two seasons and has shot the ball above 50 percent from the floor in each of those years. The Baltimore, Maryland, native has scored in double figures in every game this season and has been held under 15 points just twice.

Why LSU can win the national title

Angel Reese is a force down low, and Tigers’ head coach Kim Mulkey knows how to win championships. Reese is the SEC’s top scorer and the fifth-best bucket-getter in the country. Couple a bonafide superstar in Reese and a coach in Mulkey who has won three national championships as a coach and two as a player and you’ve got a contender.