While Iowa and Caitlin Clark have garnered most of the attention during this year’s NCAA Women’s Tournament, there’s certainly no guarantee they’ll take home the crown.

The top overall seed in the tournament is actually the South Carolina Gamecocks, who won the championship two seasons ago.

The Gamecocks enter Friday’s Final Four games undefeated for the second-straight season.

South Carolina doesn’t have the flash or storylines associated with Clark and Iowa or Paige Bueckers, but it’s a deeply talented team.

“South Carolina remains the favorite. All of this is fun and good — all the glimmer, all the shine, all the super stardom is great. South Carolina still remains the best team,” basketball analyst Andraya Carter said on ESPN’s “Get Up” Tuesday morning.

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A large part of what makes South Carolina great is its head coach, Dawn Staley.

On Wednesday, Staley was named the Naismith national coach of the year for the third-consecutive year. She’s taken home that honor four times in the past five years.

Staley has turned the South Carolina women’s basketball program around since she was hired in 2008. Prior to Staley, the Gamecocks had never made it to the championship or Final Four.

They now have two NCAA titles (2017 and 2022) and six Final Four appearances, and Staley has led South Carolina to seven of the program’s eight Elite Eight appearances, according to the university.

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Staley has a ways to go to catch up to coaching greats like Stanford’s Tara VanDerveer, who is the winningest men’s or women’s college basketball head coach, UConn’s Geno Auriemma, who has led the Huskies to 11 NCAA titles, and the late, great Pat Summitt, a coaching legend, but she’s one of the biggest names in college basketball right now.

Why South Carolina could win the NCAA championship

South Carolina is playing with a completely new starting five this season and has still been able to go undefeated.

“South Carolina is still top dog. South Carolina is still the best team in terms of depth, in terms of talent top to bottom,” Carter said.

That depth allowed the Gamecocks to win five games without the team’s leading scorer this season, Kamilla Cardoso, and it will allow the team to still find success even if Cardoso or Raven Johnson is having an off night.

ESPN reported that South Carolina’s bench has averaged 33.9 points a game this season.

“There are players on South Carolina’s bench that would be starters on multiple teams across the country,” Carter said. “They are capable of knocking down threes. They have an incredible inside presence with 6′7″ Kamilla Cardoso, who they need to play through every single possession.”

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How to watch South Carolina-NC State

South Carolina will tip off against NC State Friday night in the Final Four at 5 p.m. MDT.

The game will be broadcast on ESPN and streamed on ESPN+.