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The Caitlin Clark Effect

Updated: May 8

By: Mike Patt

Original Date: 3/28/24

Hello sports fans, and welcome back to the IE Sports Radio blog. March Madness is upon us. The NCAA tournaments have not had many crazy upsets, as most of the top seeds have made the Sweet 16 on both sides. Still, the games have been excellent, and there are a few intriguing squads left battling for glory. On the women’s side, All-World player Caitlin Clark leads Iowa as they try to upend top seeded, undefeated South Carolina. Clark will have to contend with LSU and Angel Reece, who upset the Hawkeyes in last year’s tournament. Then there is Paige Bueckers, who leads a challenging UConn team. On the Men’s side…well… UConn is pretty good and, ummm, Purdue is doing well…UNC has a chance I think? You could also see the other 13 teams remaining make the final, I guess.

This exaggerated example you see above is what I like to call the Caitlin Clark effect. For those of you who somehow have not heard of her, Clark has cemented her status as one of the greatest college basketball players of all time. Her list of accolades rivals that of what players like Lebron James, Kevin Durant, and Diana Taurasi have done at the PROFESSIONAL level. She is the all-time leading scorer in NCAA history, men’s or women’s. She can do it all, and is not lacking in attitude or theatrics either. It is the latter part that has drawn extra attention to her game. Remember, positive and negative coverage are both ultimately the same thing; coverage.

Everywhere you look right now, the Women’s NCAA Tournament is getting as much, if not more, attention than the Men’s side. Particularly, games involving Iowa are front page news on ESPN every time they play. Arenas have been sold out all season, and will continue to be as long as Iowa and Clark remain on the court. You could almost see potential for the NCAA to do anything to keep them in it as long as possible (not me suggesting conspiracy or anything like that). The only sad part about this train ride is that it is about to reach the end of the track. That’s right, Clark’s collegiate career is coming to an end.

The WNBA draft is in less than three weeks (April 15th to be precise, be sure to tune in at 7:30 EST), and Clark is the guaranteed first overall pick. My early congratulations to the Indiana Fever, who are about to add the most talented player to come out of the college ranks in a long time, perhaps of all time. Now all of this fanfare will get transferred to the professional level. Not to be critical, but the WNBA could sure use this additional fanfare. Clark is the type of player that will have fans no matter where she goes, similar to what we see with Lebron and other big name NBA stars. It would not surprise me if stadiums start selling out just because of her presence.

For too long, the WNBA has not been able to get over the hump and become a profitable league that can expand and gain nationwide popularity. With Caitlin Clark, they have an opportunity to get to that level. If she can’t do it, then I don’t know if the league will ever reach that goal. Tune in to Let’s Wine About DMV Sports, hosted by Mike Patt, on Fridays at 9PM EST/6PM PST. Be sure to check out all of the great shows we have throughout the week on IESR, as well as the live calls on our partner station USRN. Shout out to our sponsors, Planet Jerky and Seal the Deal Wax Stamps, and all you loyal viewers that continue to help our network grow. Thank you for reading, and we will see you next time on IE Sports Radio; your direct feed for all that is sports.

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