UConn vs USC Predictions, Picks, and Odds for March Madness Elite 8 Matchup

As great as JuJu Watkins has been, Paige Bueckers is an even bigger star and has the better supporting cast around her. All that points to UConn leaving victorious when the two face off on Monday night —— read more below.

Apr 1, 2024 • 17:51 ET • 4 min read
Paige Bueckers UConn Huskies Big East college basketball
Photo By - USA TODAY Sports

Either JuJu Watkins or Paige Bueckers will earn the final spot in the Final Four of the March Madness women's bracket when the USC Trojans face the UConn Huskies in Portland tonight. Don’t worry, the court should have the correct dimensions this time.

That will matter more in this game than in yesterday’s display of NCAA ineptitude, with UConn efficient from beyond the arc while USC is rather dependent on it. That difference in adjectives emphasizes which offense is reliable and which should fall short tonight with Women's March Madness odds favoring the Huskies by 3.5 points.

We will side with the chalk in our free March Madness picks as we preview USC vs. UConn on Monday, April 1, with tip set for 9:00 ET.

UConn vs USC best odds

UConn UConn Huskies USC USC Trojans 
-3.5 (-110) Spread +3.5 (-110)
-170 Moneyline +142
Over 135.5 (-110) Total Under 135.5 (-110)

Odds courtesy of DraftKings as of April 1.

UConn vs USC picks and predictions

My best bet: UConn -3.5 (-107 at Pinnacle)

Recruiting rankings alone could influence this best bet. USC Trojans freshman JuJu Watkins may have been the top recruit in the class of 2023, but UConn senior guard Paige Bueckers had that honor in 2020, and she has not disappointed that ranking on an individual basis.

Injuries may have slowed Bueckers over the years, but when she's been on the court, she has been all that was ever expected of her.

Each of the UConn Huskies’ last four recruiting classes has finished in the Top 5 in the country. None of the Trojans’ have, not even with Watkins in the last cycle, with only two of those classes finishing in the Top 20.

As great as Watkins is — and she is, there is no attempt at diminishing her here — UConn’s roster has a bounty more talent.

But look beyond that talent and to on-court habits. Two things can both be true: The Huskies are a better 3-point shooting team than the Trojans are but USC is more dependent on 3-pointers.

Both teams shoot 35.8% from deep, but UConn does so more selectively, effectively using the deep shots to open up the interior and create an effective field goal percentage of 55.1%, No. 8 in the country. Only 26.8% of the Huskies’ points come from deep.

USC shoots 3-pointers more often, partly because its interior game is lacking, making only 46.1% of 2-point attempts. That creates a disproportionate reliance on threes to produce offense for a team that shoots them fine but not great.

A more talented team with a more proven star and an offense that can score better at all levels should be enough cushion for UConn to cover this two-bucket spread tonight.

UConn vs USC same-game parlay

UConn -3.5

JuJu Watkins Under 27.5 points

Paige Bueckers 25+ points

Watkins will be the face of women’s college basketball in 2024-25. Bueckers is now. The future will need to chase this present when UConn has the ball, and that will cost Watkins some offensive energy.

This will be Bueckers’ 15th career March Madness game. She will not be fazed, not by the atmosphere, not by Watkins, not by the court mishap on Sunday.

In six postseason games this year, she has scored at least 27 points in five of them, the exception being a 24-point showing as she struggled shooting on Saturday. Yes, 24 points was the sign of Bueckers struggling.

In three NCAA Tournaments, she has never fallen short of the Final Four. Betting on Beuckers to be sure of that trip once more makes sense.

Learn how to bet a same-game parlay with these helpful tips and strategies.

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UConn vs USC spread and Over/Under analysis

  • The money and tickets have been relatively split on this game, per BetMGM, but there is a slight tilt toward UConn in the percentages. While only 51% of tickets have been on the Huskies at -3.5, 57% of the money has been.

  • Bettors are expecting this game to go Over its total, though the number has not moved from 135.5. Nearly three-quarters of bets and 80% of the handle have been on the Over at BetMGM.

  • Bets on the Over should also be considered as bets on UConn, given USC is the superior defensive team that will want this game to be played slower to minimize the talent gap.

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UConn vs USC game info

Location: Moda Center, Portland, OR
Date: Monday, April 1, 2024
Tip-off: 9:00 p.m. ET

UConn vs USC key injuries

UConn: No key injuries to report.
USC: No key injuries to report.

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