Two of women’s basketball bluebloods made it to the title game in Minneapolis, one the perennial title contender for nearly 30 years and the other a comparative newcomer even though this is the third appearance from South Carolina to the Final Four in the last seven tournaments.
The Huskies may have some home-court advantage on Sunday night, but the Gamecocks have already beaten UConn once this year.
Here are our free National Women’s Championship picks and predictions for Connecticut vs. South Carolina on April 3, with tip set at 8:00 p.m. ET.
UConn vs South Carolina Odds
|UConn||Caroline from the south|
|+4 (-110)||propagated||-4 (-110)|
|More than 125.5 (-110)||Total||Less than 125.5 (-110)|
Odds courtesy of DraftKings on April 2, 2022.
Shortly after the Huskies fended off Stanford’s late charge on Friday, South Carolina opened up as a 4-point favorite in Sunday’s title chase. The initial total was 126.5, but fell to 125.5 by midday on Saturday.
UConn vs South Carolina Predictions
Predictions made on 04/02/2022 at 3:00 PM ET.
Click on each prediction to go to the full analysis.
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Match info UConn vs South Carolina
• Location: Target Center, Minneapolis, MN
• Date: Sunday, April 3, 2022
• Trick: 8:00 p.m. ET
• TV: ESPN
UConn vs South Carolina betting preview
UConn: Paige Bueckers G (Likely), Dorka Juhasz F (Ext).
Caroline from the south: Kamilla Cardoso C (Probable).
Betting trend you need to know
South Carolina’s last three games have all gone over the total.
UConn vs South Carolina Picks and Predictions
Our side and total predictions are based on our analysis of the line and total in this match. Our best bet is our preferred choice in all markets.
South Carolina has simply seemed too dominant lately to bet against. Dispatching another No. 1 seed like Louisville by an occasional 13 points on Friday doesn’t illustrate how good the Gamecocks can be. South Carolina literally never trailed, taking a 7-0 lead before Louisville even found the scoreboard more than three minutes into the game. Wire-to-wire dominance from an elite opponent is something often missing when simply looking at a final score, but that might as well be the norm for South Carolina.
After Cinderella Creighton took a 2-0, 5-4 lead in the Elite Eight, South Carolina all but ended the game with a 9-0 run over the next two minutes. That was all it took for the Gamecocks to qualify for the Final Four, 153 seconds of quick attack.
Such a powerful attack has been their calling card all season. Back in the Bahamas in November, they were hanging out then-No. 2 Connecticut by three at halftime. Less than two minutes later, South Carolina took the lead with two Aliyah Boston layups and two Aliyah Boston rebounds. Of course, the Huskies fought back, briefly taking a lead and only trailing by a field goal before the final frame.
And then, this powerful attack scored six games in a row.
Even more embarrassing for Connecticut, they managed just one bucket in that fourth quarter, losing by 16.
Boston finished with 22 points and 15 rebounds in that top-two game, and while the Huskies have grown over the season, they haven’t literally grown. At 6-foot-5, Boston is just too much for someone wearing a Connecticut uniform to slow down.
Only two Huskies in the usual rotation are also listed at 6-foot-5, and neither Olivia Nelson-Ododa nor Dorka Juhasz play big enough to limit Boston (and the latter had wrist surgery and won’t play anyway) . Together, they averaged 13.3 rebounds. Boston alone is averaging 12.4, and that’s with just 28.3 minutes played per game this season thanks to South Carolina’s penchant for blowouts.
To quantify that reality without going through a game-by-game season, realize that only nine Connecticut players average more than six minutes per game, with all nine actually averaging between 19 and 35 minutes. Five Huskies average more than 27 minutes.
Gamecocks leader in minutes per game, Destanni Henderson, averages less than 31 minutes. Only three South Carolina players average more than 27 minutes per game. Of the 10 double-digit players, half of them have between 10 minutes and 18 minutes, essentially coming in when the Gamecocks have already moved away from an opponent.
That’s all to say that Boston’s efficiency on Sunday night will be better than you’d expect from a player averaging 12.4 rebounds, even though that number is already impressive. There’s little reason to think she won’t dominate the championship from start to finish, giving South Carolina cushion just like she did in November, let alone this whole tournament.
Prediction: South Carolina -4 (-110 to DraftKings)
Covers NCAA basketball betting analysis
Some things are forgotten about late game situations in women’s college basketball. Specifically, timeouts advance the ball beyond half court, in the NBA. This alone increases a game’s total.
When the favored team is as good at the free throw line as South Carolina, this effect is compounded. The Gamecocks’ three best players are all shooting over 70% from the boards. As the Huskies try to lengthen the game, they will simply increase the game total.
On the other side, UConn has the bucket-getters for the last few minutes. The problem will be that they will already be too late to win. But when Paige Bueckers, Christyn Williams and especially Azzi Fudd start throwing desperate threes, they will. Fudd is shooting 42.9% from deep, after all, on 5.5 attempts per game.
Prediction: More than 125.5 (-110 to FanDuel)
There are plenty of reasons to bet on the underdog moneyline if you’re looking for that sales pitch. Connecticut star Bueckers hails from a Minneapolis suburb, so Target Center will have a Huskies vibe. UConn head coach Geno Auriemma has never lost in the national championship game, going 11-0. Yes, it’s a bit absurd.
But Boston is quite the star that Bueckers is and much more the veteran. Gamecocks head coach Dawn Staley has established herself as one of the best coaches in the game, and if not already Auriemma’s equal, it’s only because she hasn’t not reported that same number of titles.
Those Connecticut shooting thoughts may have spooked a South Carolina fan, but the reality is that UConn isn’t shooting deep enough to change the course of the game before it’s too late. Those three Huskies shooters combine to take 13.1 threes per game, or five.
Boston will be more reliable. Shot variance is not taken into account for a player making 54.5% of her field goal attempts, let alone almost five free throws per game.
Bet on the best player on the field to put this game out of reach before Connecticut’s desperation provides a brief storyline.
To take: South Carolina -4 (-110 to DraftKings)
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