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Does Caitlin Clark have a ring? How Iowa star can win first in 2024 March Madness

Caitlin Clark has accomplished just about everything possible in college basketball.

The 22-year-old has these accolades on her resume: all-time NCAA leading scorer, AP Player of the Year, John R. Wooden award, Naismith College Player of the Year, two-time first-team unanimous All-American, two-time NCAA scoring and assists leader, FIBA U19 World Cup MVP, three-time Big Ten Player of the Year and much more.

But the Iowa Hawkeyes star has one notable omission – a national championship.

Clark and the Hawkeyes came close in 2023 as a No. 2 seed, but fell to No. 3 LSU 102-85 in the national championship. Clark, though, did her part. She logged 30 points on 9 of 22 shooting, eight assists and two rebounds in 35 minutes. No other teammate scored more than 13 points while LSU boasted three 20-plus-point scorers.

With Iowa a No. 1 seed in 2024 and resembling title contenders, can Clark and the Hawkeyes win their first women’s basketball championship in program history? Let’s do a round-by-round look at their potential opponents en route to the final, should they avoid a Cinderella upset:

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First round: vs. No. 16 Holy Cross or UT Martin

Iowa has to wait a little longer to find out its official first-round opponent. Holy Cross and UT Martin will duke it out in the First Four, with the winner getting to face Clark and Co. Iowa should get by whichever teams wins, with Holy Martin having a 20-12 record and UT Martin being 16-16.

Second round: vs. No. 8 West Virginia or No. 9 Princeton

The quality improves in the second round, but it’s another test Iowa should pass. West Virginia went 24-7 overall but a 14-2 home record shouldered the burden. Princeton went 25-4 but a 13-1 conference record in a relatively weak Ivy League pads it.

Sweet 16: vs. No. 5 Colorado, No. 12 Drake, No. 4 Kansas St., No. 13 Portland

Four possible opponents arrive in the Sweet 16, but, again, any team should be beaten by Iowa. No. 12 Drake, having won 14 straight games, could be a possible Cinderella team if the Bulldogs make it through. This is a round Iowa cannot afford to lose because of a potential thrilling Elite Eight matchup.

Elite Eight: No. 3 LSU, No. 2 UCLA stand out

The top end of the Albany 2 Region is incredibly stacked. No. 1 Iowa, No. 2 UCLA and No. 3 LSU will be hoping to participate in the national championship, but only one will advance past this stage. UCLA being the No. 2 seed is the highest in program history, while LSU, despite being loaded with stars, lost more games than it would’ve liked.

The biggest implication is, of course, a potential rematch of the 2023 title game. Iowa may be more equipped to dethrone LSU this year, but, as always in March Madness, nothing is guaranteed. If the Hawkeyes advance, it could set the tone for the final few games.

Final Four: No. 1 USC, No. 2 Ohio State and No. 3 UConn possibilities

The Portland 3 Region would present a similar challenge to potential Elite Eight opponents. No. 1 USC is in form having won five in a row and No. 3 UConn has won nine in a row after breezing past the Big East. No. 2 Ohio State will be difficult given it finished above Iowa in the Big Ten, but the two teams went 1-1 in head-to-head matchups with Iowa winning the recent one. The Hawkeyes could look to do it again in what would be a riveting third battle.

National Championship: No. 1 South Carolina, No. 1 Texas, No. 2 Stanford, No. 4 Indiana possibilities

Of course, there are numerous possibilities that could emerge from the opposite side of the bracket. But, if these teams take care of business, they could seek to battle Iowa if the Hawkeyes do the same.

No. 1 South Carolina went 32-0 and, record wise, is the best team in the tournament. No. 1 Texas finished 30-4 but were second in the Big 12 due to conference record. No. 2 Stanford could’ve been a No. 1 seed but missed out despite finishing first in the Pac-12. No. 4 Indiana went 24-5 but had the same conference record as Iowa at 15-3. The Hoosiers could be a top-end middle seed who make considerable noise.

In short, Iowa has more than enough quality for a deep run, and they also gained vital experience after last year’s heartbreak. On paper, the biggest challenges would be No. 3 LSU/No. 2 UCLA in the Elite Eight, No. 2 Ohio State in the Final Four and No. 1 South Carolina in the title game should that be the route.

But Iowa beat a robust South Carolina side in the Final Four last season and have taken down Ohio State this year. Let’s see if Clark can lead Iowa to glory and solidify herself with one more stamp before she rides off to the WNBA.