Final Four Flip? The Women Are Taking Over While The Men Play Catch-Up

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HOUSTON – Those damn women. They’re taking over everything.

The late, great South Carolina sports columnist Ken Burger once said, “I love women. And I love basketball. But I don’t like women’s basketball.”

I wish he would have been alive to see the NCAA women’s Final Four open Friday night in Dallas – 239 miles north of here on Interstate 45. Big D may have let H-Town know yet again that it’s still No. 1, and with dueling Final Fours, too.

The women are dominating Dallas. And the men are trying to keep everybody awake in Houston.

That iconic, oil-based television soap opera that was must-see Friday night TV was called “Dallas,” not “Houston,” after all. Actually, there was a Houston TV series in 1987 that tried to compete with “Dallas,” but “Houston Knights” had no more days after 1988 because of ratings.

Interestingly, the ticket ratings resale battle between Dallas and Houston is playing out in very similar fashion. They’re soaring at the Final Four in Dallas, and dropping like the men’s top seeds in Houston.

Championship game ticket prices for Iowa and LSU Sunday afternoon (3 p.m., ABC) are lapping that of the men’s prime time title game Monday (9 p.m., CBS) big time. As of Saturday, tickets for the women’s title game were going for $450, while men’s tickets were in the $70 range.

Yes, there are 71,000 seats in Houston’s NRG Stadium compared to 20,000 capacity at American Airlines Center in Dallas. But still, the women are a hotter ticket.

One can watch Saturday night’s men’s Final Four games for a mere $40 apiece. I’ve been told that’s less than lap dances here.

Final Four Of No Names In Houston

There are just too many Cinderellas at the men’s Final Four in Houston, and we’re not talking transgenders here.

No. 9 seed Florida Atlantic and No. 5 San Diego State open it tonight at 6:09 on CBS, followed by No. 5 seed Miami and No. 4 Connecticut at 8:49 p.m. FAU, SDSU and Miami just are not exciting the natives like what is going on in Dallas.

Dallas’ Final Four was full of elite seeds – No. 1 South Carolina, No. 1 Virginia Tech, No. 2 Iowa and No. 3 LSU.

And we found out Friday night “Who Shot JR,” really, in another “Dallas” reboot. It was Iowa’s Caitlin Clark, who scored 41 points with eight assists and six rebounds to lead the Hawkeyes over 36-0 and villainous South Carolina, 77-73.

Thee bar TV crowd at Vic & Anthony’s steakhouse in downtown Houston lined four deep screaming and yelling in the final minutes.

For a women’s game!

And Clark looks like she could be related to actress Mary Crosby, whose Kristin Shepard character shot JR Ewing.

Iowa's Caitlin Clark Sets NCAA Tournament With 41-Point Triple-Double
Iowa point guard Caitlin Clark has taken over the NCAA Women’s Tournament like no man has in the NCAA Men’s Tournament. (Getty Images).

Clark couldn’t be stopped no matter how much South Carolina huffed and puffed and threw a player to the court. She scored 16 of Iowa’s 18 points in the fourth quarter and had the assist on the other bucket. It was enough to leave South Carolina coach Dawn Staley 36-1 and 42-1, counting last year’s national championship, whining like Bobby Ewing.

See you, Dawn. Take yourself and your Bobby Knight-like, fact-twisting, anger-management baggage back home.

It’s going to be a much more fun NCAA women’s championship game without Staley and your ridiculous diatribes. She can talk all she wants, and we’re sure she will, but she couldn’t stop Clark.

Hope you enjoy watching LSU coach Kim Mulkey and her latest outfit. Get used to her. She’s about to take over your league.

Mulkey will have trouble with Clark, too, though. The 6-foot-0 junior point guard from Des Moines, Iowa, leads the nation in assists with 8.6 a game, in 3-pointers with 3.5 and is third in scoring at 27.3. She is the first player in women’s NCAA Tournament history with back-to-back 40-point games. She also became the first in women’s NCAA Tournament history with a 40-point, triple-double. Clark scored 41 with 12 assists and 10 rebounds in a 97-82 win over Louisville last week in the Elite Eight.

She is the first in the women’s game to reach 900 points and 300 assists in a season. Clark has 161 in this tournament for a 32.2 average. With 17 more, she will break the NCAA Tournament women’s record of 177 held by Texas Tech’s Sheryl Swoopes since 1993 when Tech won the national title.

Clark is the reigning Naismith, Associated Press and Women’s Basketball Writers player of the year. Meanwhile, there is one player remaining in the men’s Final Four from the 16 Wooden Award finalists. That is Miami guard Isaiah Wong. Everyone else got beat.

Kansas State’s Markquis Nowell could have been the men’s Caitlin Clark. He averaged 23.5 points in four NCAA Tournament games with a whopping 13.5 assists and the men’s NCAA Tournament record for assists with 19 in the Sweet 16 win over Michigan State. But Florida Atlantic beat him in the Elite Eight.

Great players remain in the men’s Final Four, such as San Diego State’s Darrion Trammell, Florida Atlantic’s Vlad Goldin, Miami’s Jordan Miller and Connecticut’s Jordan Hawkins, if he recovers from a stomach bug. But there is no one like Clark.

She is something to see, even if you still don’t like women’s basketball.

Yes, even deep in the tournament, you never know when each team is going to go about seven minutes without scoring. That actually happened in LSU’s 54-42 win over Miami in a horrid Elite Eight game last week. Mulkey even said during the game that if she had been watching at home, she would’ve turned it off.

ESPN’s announcers scrambled to recover as if FOX had just taken over their broadcast, but it was so true.

LSU women’s basketball head coach Kim Mulkey has been brightening up the court at the NCAA Women’s Tournament. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

If there is a lull in Sunday’s women’s final, it won’t last long. Not with Clark. And LSU’s Angel Reese is fifth in the nation in scoring with 23.2 a game. But if things do start banging off the rim, the women’s Final Four has the show-stopping coach that the men’s Final Four lacks. You can always just check what Mulkey’s wearing again. It might be from Bourbon Street, Goodwill or Rodeo Drive, but it will catch your eye.

So should this.

Mulkey, who played on boys teams in Dixie Youth Baseball in Hammond, La., became the first LSU basketball coach – man or woman – to reach an NCAA national championship game with the 79-72 win over Virginia Tech on Friday.

LSU’s men’s and women’s teams were 0-11 in the Final Four since 1953 before Friday:

1953 Men – Indiana 80, LSU 67; Washington 88, LSU 69 (consolation game).

1981 Men – Indiana 67, LSU 49; Virginia 78, LSU 74 … Notes: Last consolation game ever, and Miami coach Jim Larranaga was an assistant at Virginia. The game was almost not played because earlier that Monday, March 31, President Ronald Reagan was shot.

1986 Men – Louisville 88, LSU 77.

2004 Women – Tennessee 52, LSU 50.

2005 Women – Baylor 68, LSU 57. Note: Kim Mulkey was coaching Baylor and went on to win the national championship.

2006 Men – UCLA 59, LSU 45.

2006 Women – Duke 64, LSU 45.

2007 Women – Rutgers 59, LSU 35.

2008 Women – Tennessee 47, LSU 46.

So, Mulkey is 1-0 at LSU in the Final Four. Seven other LSU coaches were 0-11. Harry Rabenhorst was 0-2 with the men in 1953. Dale Brown was 0-3 with the men in 1981 and ’86. John Brady was 0-1 with the men in 2006. Pokey Chatman was 0-3 with the women in 2004-06. Bob Starkey was 0-1 in 2007 with the women, and Van Chancellor was 0-1 in 2008 with the women.

Iowa and LSU will each be trying to win their first national championship in basketball – men or women. It’s not going to be a cat fight.

“I mean, they’re an amazing offensive rebounding team,” Iowa coach Lisa Bluder said about South Carolina before their game. “Somebody kind of just described it to me as, ‘You’re going to a bar fight when you try to go rebound against them.’ They’re just so good. They’re so tall.”

It’s going to be another bar fight.

Now, men, let’s see what you got.


Written by Glenn Guilbeau

Guilbeau joined OutKick as an SEC columnist in September of 2021 after covering LSU and the Saints for 17 years at USA TODAY Louisiana. He has been a national columnist/feature writer since the summer of 2022, covering college football, basketball and baseball with some NFL, NBA, MLB, TV and Movies and general assignment, including hot dog taste tests.

A New Orleans native and Mizzou graduate, he has consistently won Associated Press Sports Editors (APSE) and Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) awards since covering Alabama and Auburn at the Mobile Press-Register (1993-98) and LSU and the Saints at the Baton Rouge Advocate (1998-2004). In 2021, Guilbeau won an FWAA 1st for a game feature, placed in APSE Beat Writing, Breaking News and Explanatory, and won Beat Writer of the Year from the Louisiana Sports Writers Association (LSWA). He won an FWAA columnist 1st in 2017 and was FWAA's top overall winner in 2016 with 1st in game story, 2nd in columns, and features honorable mention.

Guilbeau completed a book in 2022 about LSU's five-time national champion coach - "Everything Matters In Baseball: The Skip Bertman Story" - that is available at, and Barnes & Noble outlets. He lives in Baton Rouge with his wife, the former Michelle Millhollon of Thibodaux who previously covered politics for the Baton Rouge Advocate and is a communications director.

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