The student news site of Coral Gables Senior High School


The student news site of Coral Gables Senior High School


The student news site of Coral Gables Senior High School


Students React to March Madness’s Rising Recognition

Santiago Rodriguez
To many, March Madness emerged as an exciting competition with the rise of talented teams and young stars as they filled the tournament.

With the spring rolling around, basketball fans around the world came together to watch the annual March Madness tournament, as college teams across the nation battled to reach the next round and win their coveted trophy. March Madness encountered a major uprising in its popularity, with many considering both women’s and men’s college basketball to be filled to the brim with talented players.

Star players spread evenly throughout both leagues were seen as major causes of the tournaments popularity. Anticipation for both brackets was built in Gables, with many unforeseen games taking place. The upsets, blowouts and close calls have left Cavaliers in shock and elation. Awaiting the madness of next season, many considered this year to have been a major success in the popularity of college basketball.

The uprising basketball star, Caitlin Clark, was seen as a major contributor to women’s basketball, taking the next step into becoming an influential league. Becoming the face of the league, she is considered to have become one of the best players in college to step on the court. How do Cavaliers feel that Clark has broken records and made her mark on the game of women’s basketball?

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“I think [Clark] has changed women’s basketball with her scoring and play-making ability and the energy she brings to the court, which has brought in the attention of many more viewers for women’s college basketball. This March Madness season changed a lot for women’s basketball teams, [which are] now getting the attention they deserve because of [Clark], who also has inspired many young players and attracted more attention to the sport,” sophomore Lauren Puig said.

“[Clark] has revolutionized the game because we haven’t ever really seen a special talent like her in years. She has amazing footwork and ball-handling skills; her shooting is her best aspect. She can shoot [the ball] from anywhere and she rarely misses. She is a transcendent player and lots of people are starting to watch more and more women’s basketball purely because of the buzz around her name,” junior Bruno Sanchez said.

“I think [Clark] has been a crucial piece to changing the game of women’s basketball from the way she can handle the ball and shoot the three [point shot]. The fact that the women’s basketball was interesting this year was because she was dominating. She has brought many people eyes towards the league,” junior Massimo Vendrame said.

Astonishing outcomes resulted for both North Carolina State University and the University of Connecticut, who each had both their women’s and men’s team in the Final Four. Dominant runs by both UConn teams and major upsets by both NC State teams resulted in their semi-final round appearances. Cavaliers share how they felt about familiar teams in both tournaments, as well as the chances they might reappear in the future.

“It’s meant to be the type of tournament where you have different teams every year. Single elimination has so many stakes in one game and anyone can win no matter whose the better team. Getting these teams back into the Final Four for both tournaments will be very hard to see,” Mr. Miller said.

“I think the NC State and UConn situation with both men and women teams in the Final Four can happen again, but it will not be common. However, I can see it happening again with many schools investing more in their women’s teams now with the rise of its popularity,” freshman Marco Gonzalez said.

“Being honest, I don’t it will happen again for a long time. What usually happens is that colleges dedicate most of their sources to either the male or female team rather than both. An example is [when] a great women’s team makes it to the Final Four and they were so focused with the women’s team that the men’s team experiences an early exit from the tournament,” junior Massimo Vendrame said.

Back-to-back champions, UConn’s men’s basketball team defeated others by double digits through the tournament in every round. Blowing by multiple top-ranked teams, including Alabama University and Purdue University, UConn became the first team to win back to back titles since Florida in 2006 and 2007. How do Gables fanatics feel about UConn’s dominance? Will it carry over another year or will it come to an end?

“UConn displayed a unique performance and they have a lot of potential for next year to come back and win another championship. Their players all seem to be holding up very well and I think they could still come back and compete. They showed their dominance versus tough teams two years in a row, so why not three,” freshman Brandon Willoughby said.

“[UConn was] very dominant this year, having the biggest point differential. I think they could totally repeat. However, it is very difficult but I do expect for them to make the Final Four. If there key players can remain in that team for next year then they have a shot at competing for another title,” Mr. Khan said.

“I think UConn technically has a chance to win three straight, but their team will not be as good as these past two years. Donocan Clingan is being drafted into the [professional] leagues and I feel that thats a big blow for the UConn team. They will probably face their toughest test if they prevail next year,” freshman Marco Gonzalez said.

South Carolina achieved an undefeated season, following it up with a March Madness championship victory towards the only team that beat them the year before. What do the Cavaliers feel about South Carolina’s successful streak in spite of the talented teams they faced?

“South Carolina has a very strong team. Overall, they have a lot of strengths all around and did not just depend on one player. Their coaching is also what got them this far, [by] learning from their mistakes. Having multiple well-rounded players instead of one star like other teams is got them their success so far,” junior Nathalie Schwart said.

“South Carolina’s main success is from their head coach Dawn Staley. She is a top coach in the league, even winning Coach of the Year from the United States Writers Basketball Association. Their spread of talents around the team, including Kamilla Cardoso, helped them out in the long run to go undefeated and win the tournament,” freshman Jan Dave Calimlim said.

“South Carolina was successful this year because they were a scrappy team that wanted to win. They had a motor unlike other teams. They moved the ball quick and played amazing defense which led to their success year round,” junior Bruno Sanchez said.

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About the Contributor
Santiago Rodriguez
Santiago Rodriguez, CavsConnect Staff Writer
Santiago Rodriguez is a current freshman entering the International Baccalaureate program here at Coral Gables Senior High. He hopes to pursue his interest in running by joining the Cross Country and Track and Field team. Despite his love for running, his biggest opponents are mosquitos. If you find him outdoors, bug spray is his best friend. He has big hopes for his future in Gables such as joining the National Honor Society, International Baccalaureate Honor Society, Science National Honor Society and possibly becoming Editor in Chief of CavsConnect. His favorite seasons are summer and fall for the many reasons of sports, weather and vacation. Wanting to continue to be a above average student, Santiago works harder, taking multiple Advanced Placement classes during high school. Hoping he has a great year at Gables, he is eager to be working in CavsConnect.
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