The Final Madness

April 3, 2023

By: Carlos Alvarez

Welcome Back 

Final Four weekend was one for the books. Caitlin Clark may have broken a haul of NCAA Tournament records this month, but LSU got the last laugh on Sunday. We’re dancing into Game 67 of the men’s bracket tonight for the title match between UConn and San Diego State (9:20 pm ET). Let’s crown the champs of March Madness and tie a bow on this whole bracket thing, shall we?

Letter Rip!


Tigers On Top

Photo: Tom Pennington / Getty Images

LSU Upsets Iowa & Caitlin Clark (102-85) for 1st National Championship

Upset, Tigers! The game’s greatest shooter met the game’s greatest shooting performance on Sunday afternoon in Dallas for the Women’s NCAA National Championship. After Caitlin Clark led the Hawkeyes to a takedown of unbeaten South Carolina on Friday with another iconic 41-point performance, Sunday’s title game belonged to LSU with a sharpshooting clinic of their own, and some of the worst officiating basketball fans have ever seen. The women’s Final Four set all sorts of rating records, and it culminated with Kim Mulkey and Angel Reese bringing LSU the first championship in program history. Let\’s rewind the Women\’s NCAA Final Four.

The Final Four Rewind

Both 1-seeds fell in the Final Four on Friday with LSU using a fourth-quarter comeback to beat Virginia Tech (79-72) and Caitlin Clark notching her second consecutive 41-point game as Iowa ousted unbeaten South Carolina (77-73). The Iowa-South Carolina game was the most-watched semifinal in women’s NCAA Tournament history.

Semi-Final Highlights

#2 Iowa def. #1 South Carolina (77-73)

#3 LSU def. #1 Virginia Tech (79-72)

Caitlin Clark’s Tourney Takeover

With 30 points in the title game, Clark finished the 2023 NCAA Tournament with 191 points (31.8 ppg) — breaking Sheryl Swoopes\’s record of 177 points. She also eclipsed the tournament record for most 3s (25) and assists (60). And while Iowa hit 14 triples in the finale (eight from Clark), it wasn’t enough to deal with LSU’s 102-point offensive onslaught.

How LSU Won the Title Game

Clark came out firing early in the finale, but LSU was the hotter team as buckets came pouring in from multiple players. The Tigers put up 59 first-half points (59-42) as multiple LSU shooters were red-hot. Iowa climbed back in the third quarter to pull within single digits, but LSU continued to push the Hawkeyes to the limit. The frustration mounted as Clark picked up a technical foul in the third quarter, and LSU stepped on the gas. The Tigers continued firing at an alarming clip from deep. They finished 11-for-17 from beyond the arc (64.7 percent) en route to a 17-point win (102-85) and the first title in program history.

Championship Game Top Performers

C. Clark (IOWA): 30 points, 8 assists

J. Carson (LSU): 22 points

A. Morris (LSU): 21 points, 9 assists

L. Williams (LSU): 20 points, 5 rebounds

Tournament MVP: Angel Reese (LSU)

Title Game: 15 points, 10 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 steals, 1 block

The LSU trio of role players — Jasmine Carson, Last-Tear Poa, and Kateri Poole — shot a combined 9-for-10 from 3-point range.

Mulkey’s Moment

It was two years ago when Kim Mulkey shocked the college basketball world and left Baylor for LSU. In 21 seasons at Baylor, Mulkey led the Bears to the top of the mountain with five Final Fours and three NCAA Championships. Leaving for LSU surprised everyone, but she just delivered the Tigers’ first championship in Year 2.

LSU finished the year 34-2 with those losses coming at South Carolina and in the season\’s home finale against Tennessee. And in a year that saw the Gamecocks start 36-0 and come up short while Clark shattered records and put on a show, it’s Mulkey, Reese, and LSU who raise the trophy. Congrats to the Tigers, your women’s NCAA Tournament champs!

Watch: LSU Beats Iowa (102-85) to Win 1st National Championship

Additional Storylines

CBS Sports: LSU Runs Over Iowa to Win National Title

SI: LSU Tops Iowa to Win 1st Women’s Basketball Title in Program History

Yahoo! Sports: Refs Ruin Iowa-LSU Title Game With Awful Officiating

Draft Kings: ESPN Draws Record Ratings for Women’s Final Four & South Carolina-Iowa Game



Aztecs at the Horn

Photo: Gregory Shamus / Getty Images

LaMont Butler Punches SDSU’s Ticket With Game-Winner to Join Dominant UConn in Title Game

Hysteria in Houston! The Men’s Final Four Saturday featured a wild finish that will live in NCAA Tournament lore as San Diego State beat FAU on a buzzer-beater and UConn topped Miami with another walkover. It’s the Aztecs and Huskies — Mountain West vs. Big East — tomorrow night for the NCAA crown. Both teams scored 72 in the semifinal. Is that a recipe for a good game in the final? The finality of the madness is upon us. Here’s what happened in last night’s semifinals.

Final Four Highlights

#5 San Diego State def. #9 Florida Atlantic (72-71)

One for the record books! Florida Atlantic and San Diego State delivered an instant classic in Saturday’s opener. FAU overcame early struggles to take a double-digit lead early in the second half after Alijah Martin (26 points) caught fire, but SDSU wouldn’t go down easy. The Aztecs scrapped back thanks to eight offensive rebounds in a two-minute span that erased the deficit. Trailing by one in the final seconds (70-71), SDSU got a stop on the final possession and got it to LaMont Butler who pushed it in transition and pulled up for the dagger (72-71). Butler’s 15-footer from the right wing will live in Final Four infamy. SDSU’s 14-point comeback was the fifth-largest in Final Four history. Matt Bradley led the Aztecs with 21 points and six rebounds, and Brian Dutcher’s SDSU squad gets UConn in their first-ever NCAA title game.

#4 UConn def. #5 Miami (72-59)

The title favorites keep rolling! UConn opened a portal to another level of basketball once again in the Final Four. The Huskies — who beat their first four opponents by an average of 22.5 points per game — jumped on Miami with a 9-0 start and never looked back. The Hurricanes punched back throughout, but nothing, and no one has found the antidote for UConn’s firepower. Adama Sanogo (21 points, 10 rebounds) had a double-double while shooting 81 percent. Jordan Hawkins added 13 and Andre Jackson Jr. slammed home a pair of alley-oop exclamation points to end Miami’s run. Connecticut has beaten all five opponents by double digits, and they’ve now won 11 consecutive NCAA Tournament games in the second or third weekends — Sweet 16 or later. Dan Hurley’s squad will be the clear favorite on Monday night against SDSU.

Men’s NCAA National Championship

#4 UConn vs. #5 San Diego State (Tonight, 9:20 pm ET)

Additional Storylines

B/R: 2023 Men’s Final Four: The New Standard of Parity or Once-in-a-Lifetime Seed Medley?

SI: SDSU’s Brian Dutcher Explains Why He Didn’t Call Timeout Before Buzzer-Beater

USA Today: Final Four Recap: UConn Continues March Domination, Gets SDSU for Title



NCAA Championship Picks
The stage is set. It’s UConn vs. San Diego State. The Huskies are 7-point favorites, but we still want to know the vibe from readers. Who are you taking? (click to vote)


San Diego State



 NBA: Cavs-Knicks Thriller Sets Playoff Stage

A big weekend in the NBA saw multiple 40-point games, but two teams get our Monday morning nod. The Cavaliers (4th) and Knicks (5th) clinched the next two playoff bids in the East after Friday’s thriller where Jalen Brunson (48) and Donovan Mitchell (42) went toe-to-toe. The Knicks won (130-116), but both teams will likely face off in the first round of the playoffs.

 MLB: Ohtani & Trout Go Back-to-Back

Opening Weekend in the MLB had plenty of highlights. Three AL teams escaped the weekend unbeaten — Rays, Twins, and Rangers — but the best moment of in-game action belonged to the Angels when Shohei Ohtani and Mike Trout went yard on back-to-back pitches, amassing 881 feet in home-run distance.

 NHL: Oilers Clinch After Another Shutout

The Edmonton Oilers have been hockey’s hottest team not named the Boston Bruins since the start of 2023. They won for the ninth time in ten games on Saturday with a 6-0 shutout against the Ducks. Leon Draisaitl (3) and Connor McDavid (1) combined for four goals, and the Oilers (99 points) have officially punched their ticket to the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

 EPL: Newcastle Blank Man-U to Shake EPL Race

Arsenal (72 pts) and Manchester City (64 points) are well out in front in the Premier League table, but Newcastle’s 2-0 win over Man. United on Sunday rocked the top-4 outlook. Joe Willock and Callum Wilson netted a pair of late goals in a dominating performance, and Newcastle (50 points) now holds the edge over Man-U (50 points) in the race for third.

 PGA: Connors Captures Valero for 2nd Time

Canadian Corey Connors (-15) appears to have found his favorite venue. The 31-year-old rallied to win Sunday’s Valero Texas Open using a 4-under 68 in Round 4 to hold off Sam Stevens (-14), Sam Ryder (-13), and Matt Kuchar (-13). It was the second Tour victory for Connors after he won the same event four years prior (2019).

 TENNIS: Kvitova & Medvedev Win Miami Open

Petra Kvitova (women) and Daniil Medvedev (men) captured the Miami Open crowns over the weekend by beating Elena Rybakina and Janik Sinner, respectively, in straight sets. It was Rybakina’s fourth career win and the 19th for Medvedev.