Louisville vs South Carolina Women’s Final Four Picks and Predictions: Gamecocks Taken To Brink

Two No. 1 seeds clash in the Final Four with a spot at the National Championship game on the line. Can USC cover the hefty 8.5-point spread? Find out in our Louisville vs. South Carolina Final Four picks and predictions.

Last Updated: Mar 30, 2022 4:36 PM ET Read Time: 4 min
Emily Engstler Louisville Cardinals College Basketball
Photo By - USA TODAY Sports

If you thought the men’s bracket was busting with NCAA basketball bluebloods, the women’s Final Four is a who’s who of college hoops, including a heavyweight matchup between No. 1 seeds when the Louisville Cardinals clash with the South Carolina Gamecocks on Friday night.

Oddsmakers have South Carolina installed as a significant 8.5-point favorite, aiming to avenge last year’s loss in the national semifinals. The Gamecocks have faced little pushback en route to the Final Four, including a 30-point blasting of Creighton in the regional final.

Check out our free women’s March Madness picks and predictions for Louisville vs. South Carolina on April 1.

Louisville vs South Carolina odds

Louisville South Carolina
+8 (-110) Spread -8 (-110)
Over 120.5 (-110) Total Under 120.5 (-110)
+300 Moneyline -400

Odds courtesy of DraftKings on March 30, 2022.

South Carolina is out there between -7.5 (-120) and -8 (-110) in this first Final Four game Friday. The total is sitting between 120 and 120.5 points.

Louisville vs South Carolina predictions

Predictions made on 3/30/2022 at 4:00 p.m. ET.
Click on each prediction to jump to the full analysis.

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Louisville vs South Carolina game info

Location: Target Center, Minneapolis, MN
Date: Friday, April 1, 2022
Tip-off: 8:00 p.m. ET
TV: ESPN

Louisville vs South Carolina betting preview

Key Injuries

Louisville: No injuries to report.
South Carolina: No injuries to report.

Louisville 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.

Spread analysis

The Gamecocks are the top two-way team of the remaining four national semi-finalists, boasting the largest margin of victory on the season at almost 21 points per game. That defensive dominance has stood up in the NCAA Tournament, with South Carolina holding its four NCAA opponents to 21, 33, 61, and 50 points.

The Gamecocks’ offense has been hit and miss in the tournament, posting 79 points versus Howard in the opener and 80 points against Creighton in the Elite Eight. However, they only mustered 49 against Miami and only 30 of their total 69 points in the second half against North Carolina. 

Louisville is not the defense to try and get right against. The Cardinals are extremely active and play high-pressure basketball – the opposite of what USC encountered with the Bluejays. The Cardinals jump the passing lanes and allow only 10.3 assists per game while forcing an average of 19.4 turnovers. 

They forced 22 turnovers in the win over Michigan, translating those mistakes into 24 easy points. South Carolina isn’t immune to those same errors, averaging more than 14 turnovers per outing on the season and coughed the ball up a total of 30 times in the games versus Miami and UNC, leading to those offensive lulls.

Offensively, UL is cut from a similar cloth as the Gamecocks, as both run a more methodical tempo with the basketball which helps feed into their defensive schemes. However, Louisville boasts perhaps the hottest scorer in the NCAA Tournament in Hailey Van Lith.

The sophomore guard has poured in 86 total points on 47% shooting in the past four contests, including a 9-for-15 effort for 23 points in the victory over Michigan. At 5-foot-7, Van Lith is used to playing bigger than her stature and has myriad ways to getting buckets  dribble drive, pull-ups, off-the-ball cuts, and beyond the arc.

Van Lith will be the most dangerous player on the floor Friday night and if the Cardinals can kick start their offense by forcing USC mistakes on defense, Louisville will keep this within the 8.5-point spread.

Prediction: Louisville +8.5 (-110 at bet365)

Over/Under analysis

A quick glance at this total will tell you all you need to know about this matchup. The Over/Under is parked as low as 120 points, with these teams ranked No. 2 and No. 6, per HerHoopsStats defensive rating. 

We’ve mentioned the projected pace of play for this game being at a snail’s rate, with South Carolina and Louisville eating up the ball and dragging possessions deep into the shot clock. When opponents do get to touch the basketball, the Gamecocks and Cardinals sit No. 2 and No. 8 respectively in points allowed per 100 possessions.

As for offense, the Gamecocks are great from inside, boasting a 2-point field goal rate of nearly 47%. But when pushed to the perimeter, USC is making less than 31% of 3-point takes this season and that’s slipped to 26% in the tournament.

USC also leave points on the table at the free-throw line, as we saw in its wins over Miami and North Carolina in which the team was a collective 25-for-38 from the stripe (66%). Take Aliyah Boston's 14-for-19 charity stripe mark out of that mix, and the rest of the team went 59% from the foul line in those contests.

Louisville is a stronger 3-point shooting side, ranked out 16th in success from beyond the arc, but hasn’t been as sharp during the tournament. The Cards have connected on just 24 of 73 looks from long range (33%) in the tournament. The finger points at versatile forward Emily Engstler, who’s gone MIA at times on offense and is just 3-for-13 from deep in the Big Dance.

Prediction: Under 120.5 (-110 at DraftKings)

Best bet

The battle to watch in this one is South Carolina’s Aliyah Boston versus Louisville’s frontcourt. Slowing down the Gamecocks’ 6-foot-5 sophomore star is going to be a team effort.

The Cardinals starting forwards Olivia Cochran (6-foot-3) and Emily Engstler (6-foot-1) have the first crack at Boston, bringing in 6-foot-5 senior Liz Dixon off the bench. 

Louisville did a solid job slowing down Michigan standout senior forward Naz Hillman, checking her to just 4 of 10 shooting in the Elite Eight. But Hillman got to the line for 13 free throws, making 10 of them to finish with 18 points.

Boston isn’t as potent a scorer as Hillman but is exceptional at drawing whistles and cashing in from the stripe. She’s 21-for-29 from the foul line in the tournament and shoots 77.4% at the line for the season. Boston has put up 19 and 28 points in the past two games playing just 27 and 28 minutes. She'll see much more floor time Friday.

Cochran, Engstler, and Dixon have been prone to foul trouble at times and UL’s aggressive defense gets whistled for nearly 16 personal fouls per contest. The buckets won’t come easy for Boston, but she will have a surplus of scoring chances from the free-throw line.

Pick: Aliyah Boston Over 18.5 points (-114 at FanDuel)

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