LSU is Battling Iowa for the National Championship, Here’s Why They’ll Win
Friday night was one of the most exciting nights in sports in a while. The Women's Final Four took place and it was the most entertaining night in women's basketball I've ever seen; however, that isn't surprising as the women's tournament has been miles better than the men's. And Sunday is the culmination of an amazing tournament as the national championship game will take place between Iowa and your LSU Tigers.
Many people didn't think LSU would even make it to the Final Four let alone the National Championship due to their "weak" regular season schedule. And then you have Iowa which everyone wrote off due to them playing the juggernaut that is South Carolina. Well, both proved the critics wrong and I think we are in for an amazing game. However, many fans & sports journalists are doubting LSU once again. Well, I'm going to tell you why they are wrong and LSU will win the national championship!
Now I know after watching the Goddess of the 3-pointer Caitlin Clark on Friday night you're thinking how can LSU do it? Well after watching the Iowa game twice I'm here to tell you that they have weaknesses that LSU can exploit to get them the victory.
The first major glaring concern I have with Iowa is Caitlin Clark. Now I know you're like this guy is crazy, but hear me out. Iowa relies too much on Clark. If Clark doesn't get going early then this team is in a pickle. She is everything to this team. When she starts making those deep threes, it opens up the painted area just like how Moses parted the red sea. Her ability to shoot from anywhere forces the opposing defender to check her 94 feet. And when she steps one toe inside the three-point line, defenders have to help thus opening up her teammates. She gets them the easiest looks and opportunities to score the ball like they've never had before. And when she goes out of the game Iowa is not only vulnerable but they are abysmal. Therefore if LSU makes things difficult for Clark, whether that's making the game physical, running a box & 1(defensive scheme where 1 defender face guards the offensive player and the rest of the team plays a zone where they guard an area of the court instead of a player.), sending double teams as she drives to cloud her vision, or constantly having a hand on her hip to distract her from the play at hand, you have to do all of those things. And if you do, it'll affect how she plays. But you aren't doing that to stop her, you're doing that to mess up her ability to get her teammates involved. She will get her points, the goal is to make her not able to get her teammates involved. If you lose you want her teammates to beat you based on their own ability to score the basketball and the others on Iowa's team aren't good enough to beat LSU.
Another major concern I have for Iowa and probably the biggest issue they have is the fact that Iowa gives up an absurd number of offensive rebounds and they get out-rebounded in general. Throughout the tournament Iowa has been out-rebounded in every round but the 1st and the Elite 8; however, in the Elite 8 they only out-rebounded Louisville by 1 board and they still gave up 9 offensive rebounds. Iowa has given up double digits offensive rebounds in every round but one. And when you look at LSU, in every game during the tournament LSU has had double-digit offensive rebounds and they have out-rebounded every team in this tournament except against Virginia Tech who only gained two more boards than LSU. We saw on Friday the lack in size really hurts Iowa on the boards and if South Carolina could've turned some of those offensive rebounds into second-chance points they would've won. LSU offensively is a good team and they won't miss nearly as many layups as South Carolina did. The rebounding match up is a difference-maker in this game.
And finally, when you look at LSU they are a multifaceted team. They are great on defense, have a dominant post presence in star Angel Reese, and can shoot the ball. The majority of women's college basketball is stuck in the 90s. So many teams play basketball like dinosaurs in the sense that the schemes they run are similar to basketball played in the NBA in the 90s. That's why Iowa was able to beat South Carolina because they play basketball like a modern NBA team. Caitlin Clark is Steph Curry-esque and with that, they shoot a lot of threes and play a run-and-gun scheme. LSU is a mixture of both. They remind me of the Orlando Magic team from the 2008-2009 season. Angel Reese is the Dwight Howard surrounded by his shooters and defenders. Flau'Jae Johnson is the Jameer Nelson and Alexis Morris is the Hedo Turkoglu. The Magic was early on the modern-day wave. And the reason for the Magic comparison is that just like the Magic, LSU can beat you both in the paint and from the outside. Their ability to play multiple styles of basketball will turn out to be a huge advantage.
With all that being said, I do believe the National Championship is coming back to Baton Rouge. And for this to be the first time in school history that LSU goes to the championship is just special. Kim Mulkey did all of this in her second year and LSU will only get better from here. The championship takes place Sunday at 2:30 pm.
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