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June 20, 2024
209 days until next season! – Annenberg Media
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209 days until next season! – Annenberg Media

Jun 20, 2024

With a packed weekend of college hoops, the national championship games between Iowa and South Carolina and UConn and Purdue ended exactly as everyone thought they would.

South Carolina and UConn prevailed, thus reigning in an age of new college basketball superpowers.

Dawn’s Dynasty

The Gamecocks capped off their undefeated season in the most fitting way: by slowly wearing down Iowa and winning 87-75.

What’s so impressive about South Carolina going undefeated and winning the national championship is that the team lost all five of its starters from last season, which had only lost one game themselves.

Senior center Kamila Cardoso dropped 15 points and grabbed 17 rebounds to lead the Gamecocks down the home stretch.

However, it was redshirt sophomore Raven Johnson who was the game’s MVP in my eyes, as she held Iowa senior guard Caitlin Clark to just 12 points after the first quarter.

After the game, South Carolina head Coach Dawn Staley has already entered the G.O.A.T conversation for college basketball head coaches.

In the long run, UConn women’s head coach Geno Auriemma will be hard to topple, as he has 11 national championships under his belt. However, Staley’s last two seasons have been incredible.

In the last two years combined, the Gamecocks are 74-1, with that one loss coming last year to Clark and Iowa in the Final Four.

South Carolina’s season-long style wasn’t to beat opponents with one player, like Iowa and Clark did. The Gamecocks would beat teams down overtime with their ridiculously good depth, eventually just running circles around the other side.

The Gamecocks were by far the most deserving national champion, and it will be scary to see what they might accomplish next year with multiple starters returning.

Danny’s Destiny

This UConn team was destined to do one thing, and one thing only: beat opponents to a pulp in the NCAA tournament.

UConn head coach Dan Hurley is one of the most intense — yet most effective — coaches that college basketball has ever seen. His Huskies decimated the competition this March, winning their games in the 2024 edition by a combined plus-140 point differential over their opponents — the most in NCAA tournament history.

UConn, similarly to South Carolina, has only lost one out-of-conference game in the last two years and showed they still had it in them, somehow becoming even better than their incredible season a year prior.

The Huskies also shared another eerily similar quality to the Gamecocks: they, too, lost three of their best players from the previous year, yet still somehow improved from last year and steamrolled opponents.

Anyone who didn’t choose UConn now looks like a fool — myself included — and should have seen this from a mile away after Hurley’s crew’s performance throughout the regular season and the Big East tournament.

The National Championship game quite didn’t have the fireworks that most were hoping for between Purdue’s senior center Zach Edey and UConn’s sophomore center Donovan Clingan. But Edey played his heart out, adding 37 points and 10 rebounds, but in the end UConn did what it did best all year: annihilated the competition.

The Huskies will likely lose many key players from this year’s tournament run; however, as discussed earlier, it happened last year, too, so who’s to say they can’t cut the nets down three times in a row?

Hurley may get a call or two from Kentucky, pleading for him to come coach a more traditional “Blue Blood” in Lexington, but I can’t imagine he will leave after what he has done for this UConn program.

While I wish I could have pulled up this Google Doc and written about an incredible buzzer beater, or how Caitlin Clark and Zach Edey are the most incredible players ever, Goliath beats David 99 times out of 100, and that’s exactly what happened this weekend.

UConn and South Carolina were the best teams for the season’s duration, and they deserved to hoist the national championship trophy, cementing themselves as the “New Bloods” of college basketball.

In the words of Thanos, “I am inevitable.”

– UConn and South Carolina (probably)

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