Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Who will climb the ladder and cut nets this March Madness?


As the excitement of March Madness reaches its peak, three men’s and women’s teams have distinguished themselves as contenders for the national championship. As they take to the court, they carry with them the hopes and dreams of their fans, fueled by the desire to emerge victorious, scissors in hand, ready to cut down the nets in jubilant celebration. 

Men’s Basketball 

  1. NC State Wolfpack

The NC State Wolfpack, echoing the underdog mentality of their legendary 1983 run, have ignited a resurgence. After beating top contenders in Duke and North Carolina in the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament, they have carried that momentum into the NCAA tournament, achieving their first Elite Eight appearance since 1986 with victories over the likes of Texas Tech and Marquette. Led by the senior trio of DJ Horne, DJ Burns Jr. and Casey Morsell, the Wolfpack have beaten formidable opponents, demonstrating their ability to rise to the occasion. This impressive run has reignited a sense of belief, positioning them as dark horses in the championship race.

  1. Purdue Boilermakers

The Purdue Boilermakers, historically prone to upsets, seem to have shifted the narrative this season, displaying formidable strength and resilience as they have comfortably dismantled their first three tournament opponents. At the heart of this run is senior center Zach Edey, whose scoring and defense have been central to Purdue’s success. Alongside him, sophomore guard Braden Smith defies his height with his scoring, rebounding and assists, forming a dynamic duo with Edey. Partnered with senior guard Lance Jones, a consistent scorer, they craft a lethal backcourt that blends well with Edey’s size and skill which has kept Purdue in serious championship contention.

  1. UConn Huskies

Fresh off a championship victory last season, the University of Connecticut Huskies, under the leadership of coach Dan Hurley, are a combination of battle-hardened veterans and budding talent. Senior guards Tristen Newton and Cam Spencer are the heart of the team, exhibiting the ability to impact every aspect of the game while also providing invaluable leadership. Future NBA talents like Donovan Clingan, a towering presence in the paint, Stephon Castle, known for his ability to create space and make shots and Alex Karaban, known for his elite shooting, contribute to the team’s versatility and strength. The collection of talent, guided by experience and great coaching, makes UConn a force and the frontrunner to ascend the ladder and cut down the nets in championship glory.

Women’s Basketball 

  1. Iowa Hawkeyes

Led by the electrifying presence of senior guard Caitlin Clark, the Iowa Hawkeyes stand as a formidable force. Clark, hailed as the best player in college basketball, has been instrumental in propelling the Hawkeyes to prominence. The team boasts talent in sophomore forward Hannah Stuelke and senior guard Kate Martin. With Clark leading the charge, the Hawkeyes possess the firepower necessary to contend for the national championship, aiming to cap off her legendary collegiate career with a title.

  1. UConn Huskies 

The UConn Huskies women’s team, under the leadership of Geno Auriemma, has consistently shined in college basketball. Junior guard Paige Bueckers is right alongside Iowa Hawkeyes’ Caitlin Clark as one of the best women’s college basketball players, central to UConn’s tactics with her exceptional playmaking and scoring. Senior forward Aaliyah Edwards provides a fierce presence inside, excelling at rebounding and interior scoring. Freshman guard Ashlynn Shade shines with her skill and flexibility on both ends of the floor. This combination of talent and coaching, combined with the Huskies’ winning culture, positions them as serious contenders for the championship.

  1. South Carolina Gamecocks

Under the stewardship of coach Dawn Staley, the undefeated South Carolina Gamecocks boast a deep and skilled roster. The team’s anchor, senior center Kamilla Cardoso, has been exceptional, impacting games on both sides of the court with her offense and defense. Alongside her, freshman guard MiLaysia Fulwiley has impressed with her ball-handling skills, sharp shooting and defensive tenacity, while senior guard Te-Hina Paopao and sophomore guard Raven Johnson have been instrumental in both facilitating the offense and anchoring the defense. This deep and experienced roster has all the makings of a championship-winning team. Their unblemished record and depth make them frontrunners for another championship under Staley’s tenure.

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About the Contributor
Aramis Santiago, Staff Writer

Hey, I'm Aramis (he/him). I am a 22 year old, freshman, communication major here at UTSA. He has a  passion for sports, specifically football and basketball, and to a lesser degree, baseball and UFC as well. My goal is to have a job lined up after graduating for journalism where I can talk and write about sports for a living. I also love food and listening to music. I enjoy eating from any place and mainly listen to reggaeton, R&B, and hip-hop. My hobbies whenever I am not working or going to school are watching sports, working out, hanging out with friends, listening to music, playing video games, and I've recently started reading as well. I was born in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico in 2000, moved to Baltimore, Maryland with my parents in 2006, and moved to San Antonio, Texas in 2010 where I’ve stayed ever since. I’m also a diehard fan of the Baltimore Ravens, haven’t missed a game since 2014 and will continue watching them for as long as I can breathe.

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