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Eye on the Prize: Caitlin Clark Chasing National Title

Just in case anybody needed a reminder of why Caitlin Clark is generating so much buzz, her performance against defending national champion Louisiana State in the Elite Eight served that purpose.

Now Clark hopes to help Iowa win the next two games to give the Hawkeyes their first national title. Clark has set multiple scoring records during her four years playing for the Hawkeyes and expectations are high once again when looking at NCAAW predictions for Clark and the Hawkeyes.

Eye on the Prize: Caitlin Clark Chasing National Title
Eye on the Prize: Caitlin Clark Chasing National Title

Iowa takes a 10-game winning streak into the NCAA Division I women’s Final Four and another two wins would give Clark and the Hawkeyes a national championship before she embarks on her professional basketball career.

The college basketball odds entering the Final Four have Iowa second only behind undefeated South Carolina in the national title odds.

Iowa will face 11-time national champion UConn in Friday’s semifinals. The Hawkeyes are favored by 2½ points by the women’s basketball odds to reach the national title game for the second season in a row.

When looking at our odds of winning Women’s March Madness, Iowa is priced at +300 in the odds of winning the national title. South Carolina leads the way at -200 in the championship odds with UConn coming in at +750 followed by North Carolina State at +1400.

 

 

Unfinished Business for Clark

Clark doesn’t have many regrets in her basketball career. However, she has expressed disappointment that while putting up tremendous numbers in high school, Clark was never recruited by UConn.

Obviously, getting Clark out of Iowa was going to be a difficult challenge for any college coach. Notre Dame came close to making that happen, but perhaps that will be added motivation as Clark’s Iowa team meets up with UConn in Friday’s national semifinals.

Clark has rewritten the NCAA record books. Her 3,900 points are the most in NCAA men’s or women’s history, and the favorite to be National Player of the Year made plenty of NCAAW news along the way.

Iowa had won one Big Ten tournament title in the previous 21 seasons but, with Clark leading the way, the Hawkeyes have won the last three Big Ten tournaments. The Hawkeyes also reached the 2023 NCAA Division I national championship game.

Before heading to the WNBA, Clark is determined to lead Iowa to the national title.

Clark had 59 points, 16 rebounds and 13 assists in wins over Holy Cross and West Virginia.

The line was set as 32.5 points for Clark against West Virginia and she ended up with 32. She had 29 points and 15 assists in a win over Colorado in the regional semifinals and then had 41 points, seven rebounds, 12 assists and nine 3-pointers as Iowa had no problem taking out LSU in a rematch of the 2023 national title game.

Clark has also drawn more eyes to women’s basketball games with some unprecedented television ratings for Iowa games.

 

 

What About Clark’s Supporting Cast?

Clark has done it all for Iowa as she leads all Division I women’s players with averages of 32 points and 9.0 assists.

The last time the NCAA Division I women’s basketball scoring champion reached the Final Four in the same season was in 2001, when Jackie Stiles led Southwest Missouri State (now Missouri State) to the Final Four before the season ended with a loss in the national semifinals.

LSU’s Seimone Augustus accomplished that feat six years later with the same result in the Final Four.

Clark can become the first scoring champion to play in the national title game during the same season.

Obviously, she can’t win the title by herself.

Hannah Stuelke contributes 13.8 points and 6.8 rebounds while Kate Martin averages 13.1 points and 6.8 rebounds for Iowa. Martin had 35 points and 15 rebounds in the games against Colorado and LSU. Ohio native Gabbie Marshall has scored in double figures in two of the four NCAA Tournament games.

There are concerns about the availability of senior guard Molly Davis, who hasn’t played since early March.

 

What’s Next?

It is a foregone conclusion that Clark will be selected by the Indiana Fever with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2024 WNBA Draft.

Our sportsbook already has plenty of betting options for Clark heading into her rookie season.

She has -400 odds of being the WNBA Rookie of the Year while her odds of being named the WNBA MVP have gone from +900 to +500. The odds are at -130 for her to average more than 23½ points as a rookie. She has -130 odds to top 20½ points in her first WNBA game as a starter.

 

 

Questions Of The Day

How many 30-point games has Caitlin Clark had as a senior?


Clark has scored at least 30 points on 21 occasions this season, including five games with at least 40 points.

Where does Iowa rank in the odds of winning the national title?


Iowa is priced at +300 to win the national title and only undefeated South Carolina has better odds. Ironically, South Carolina’s last loss came to Clark and the Hawkeyes in the 2023 NCAA Tournament.

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