Mar 17, 2023 - Sports

Iowa's Caitlin Clark takes March Madness center stage

Caitlin Clark during a moment of celebration earlier this month against the Ohio State Buckeyes in Minneapolis. Photo: Bailey Hillesheim/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

As the nation turns its eyes to Caitlin Clark, Des Moines begins to hold its breath.

Why it matters: The first round of the NCAA Tournament this weekend could be something of a basketball nirvana for Iowans.

  • Clark and the rest of the No. 2 seed Hawkeyes take on Southeastern Louisiana at home at 3pm Friday.
  • Next up is Drake, whose men's and women's teams both made the tournament as No. 12 seeds. The men take on Miami Friday at 6:25pm and the women play Saturday at 6:30pm against Lousiville.

Of note: The Iowa men lost against Auburn last night — 83-75.

Driving the news: Eye-popping stats and national commercials have become normal for Clark.

  • That said, she had an excellent individual year last season and the Hawkeyes still lost in the second round.
  • And they haven't made the Final Four since 1993, roughly nine years before Clark was born.

State of play: This year could be different.

  • Clark, Monika Czinano, Gabbie Marshall, Kate Martin and McKenna Warnock have started 86 career games together, per ESPN.
  • The Hawkeyes lead the country in scoring by a comfortable margin.
  • Iowa wouldn't have to play South Carolina — the most dominant team in college basketball this season — until the semifinals.
  • And while this team can shoot well enough to cover up most mistakes, the defense has also improved from last year.

How to watch: The 3pm game is on ESPN.

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