Two of women’s basketball’s 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 if this is South Carolina’s third Final Four appearance in the last seven tournaments.
The Huskies may have some homecourt advantage Sunday night, but the Gamecocks already trounced UConn once this year.
Here are our free women’s national championship picks and predictions for Connecticut vs South Carolina on April 3, with tip set for 8:00 pm ET.
UConn vs South Carolina odds
|+4 (-110)||Spread||-4 (-110)|
|Over 125.5 (-110)||Total||Under 125.5 (-110)|
Odds courtesy of DraftKings on April 2, 2022.
Shortly after the Huskies held off Stanford’s late charge on Friday, South Carolina opened as a 4-point favorite in Sunday’s title tilt. The initial total was 126.5, but that fell to 125.5 by midday Saturday.
UConn vs South Carolina predictions
Predictions made on 4/2/2022 at 3:00 pm ET.
Click on each prediction to jump to the full analysis.
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UConn vs South Carolina game info
• Lease: Target Center, Minneapolis, MN
• Date: Sunday, April 3, 2022
• tip-off: 8:00 p.m. ET
• TV: ESPN
UConn vs South Carolina betting preview
UConn: Paige Bueckers G (Likely), Dorka Juhasz F (Out).
South Carolina: Kamilla Cardoso C (Probable).
Betting trend 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 upon our analysis of the line and total in this game. Our best bet is our favorite pick across all markets.
South Carolina has simply looked too dominant of late to bet against. Dispatching a fellow No. 1 seed like Louisville by a casual 13 points on Friday does not illustrate just how good the Gamecocks may be. South Carolina quite literally never trailed, taking a 7-0 lead before Louisville even found the scoreboard more than three minutes into the game. Wire-to-wire domination of an elite opponent is something often missed when just looking at a final score, but it might as well be South Carolina’s norm.
After Cinderella Creighton took a 2-0 and a 5-4 lead in the Elite Eight, South Carolina all but ended the game with a 9-0 run over the next two-plus minutes. That was all it took for the Gamecocks to book passage to the Final Four, 153 seconds of quick offense.
Such a potent offense has been their calling card all season. Back in the Bahamas in November, they trailed then-No. 2 Connecticut by three at halftime. Less than two minutes later, South Carolina enjoyed a lead thanks to two Aliyah Boston layups and two Aliyah Boston rebounds. Of course, the Huskies fought back, briefly taking a lead and trailing by just a basket heading into the final frame.
And then, that potent offense scored six straight.
Even more troublesome for Connecticut, it managed only one bucket in that fourth quarter, losing by 16.
Boston finished with 22 points and 15 rebounds in that top-two matchup, and as much as the Huskies have developed as the season went along, they have not literally grown. At 6-foot-5, Boston is just too much for anyone in 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 plays big enough to limit Boston (and the latter underwent wrist surgery and won’t be playing anyway). Combined, they average 13.3 rebounds. Boston alone averages 12.4, and that is with her playing only 28.3 minutes per game this season thanks to South Carolina’s penchant for blowouts.
To quantify that reality without going through a season’s worth of play-by-play, realize only nine Connecticut players average more than six minutes per game, with all nine actually coming in between 19 and 35 minutes. Five Huskies average more than 27 minutes.
The Gamecocks’ leader in minutes per game, Destanni Henderson, averages fewer than 31 minutes. Only three South Carolina players average more than 27 minutes per game. Of the 10 players in double-digits, half of them are between 10 minutes and 18, essentially stepping in when the Gamecocks have already distanced themselves from an opponent.
That is all to say, Boston’s effectiveness Sunday night will be more than what one might expect from a player averaging 12.4 rebounds, even if that number is already impressive. There is little reason to think she will not dominate the championship from start to finish, giving South Carolina some cushion, just like it had in November, not to mention throughout this tournament.
Prediction: South Carolina -4 (-110 at DraftKings)
Covers NCAA basketball betting analysis
A few things get forgotten regarding late-game situations in women’s college basketball. Specifically, timeouts advance the ball past halfcourt, a la the NBA. That alone raises a game’s total.
When the favored team is as good from the free-throw line as South Carolina is, that effect is compounded. The Gamecocks’ three best players all shoot better than 70% from the stripe. As the Huskies attempt to lengthen the game, they will simply be boosting the game’s total.
On the other end, UConn has the bucket-getters for those closing minutes. The problem will be that they will already be down by too much to prevail. But when Paige Bueckers, Christyn Williams, and particularly Azzi Fudd begin heaving desperation threes, they will make them. Fudd shoots 42.9% from deep, after all, on 5.5 attempts per game.
Prediction: Over 125.5 (-110 at FanDuel)
There is plenty of reason to bet the underdog moneyline if looking for that sales pitch. Connecticut star Bueckers is from a Minneapolis suburb, and Target Center will thus have a Huskies vibe to it. UConn head coach Geno Auriemma has never lost in the national championship game, going 11-0. Yes, that is a little absurd.
But Boston is every bit 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 Auriemma’s equal already, it is only because she has not rattled off that same title count.
Those Connecticut shooting thoughts may have spooked a South Carolina backer, but the reality is UConn doesn’t shoot enough from deep to change the trajectory of the game before it’s too late. Those three Huskies shooters combine to take 13.1 threes per game, making five.
Boston will be more reliable. Shooting variance does not factor in for a player making 54.5% of his field goal attempts, not to mention taking nearly five free throws per game.
Bet on the best player on the court to put this game out of reach before Connecticut’s desperation can provide brief intrigue.
pick: South Carolina -4 (-110 at DraftKings)
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