Monday Women’s NCAA Tournament Odds, Picks, Predictions: How To Bet UConn-NC State, Michigan-Louisville
Andy Lyons/Getty Images. Pictured: Hailey Van Lith
Four women’s basketball teams will battle it out for the remaining two slots in next weekend’s Final Four in Minneapolis.
So far, it’s been all chalk as No. 1 seeds South Carolina and Stanford advanced in the first set of the Elite Eight games on Sunday. It’ll now be up to NC State and Louisville to try to follow in their footsteps.
Let’s preview both Monday matchups.
Women’s NCAA Tournament Predictions
Connecticut vs. NC State Odds
|Moneyline||UConn -170 / NC State +150|
|Time||7 p.m. ET|
With South Carolina earning the top overall seed in the tournament, the Women’s Basketball Championship Committee was left with no choice but to place NC State in the Bridgeport, Conn. region.
The problem, of course, is that if the UConn Huskies advanced to the Elite Eight, it would have a home-court advantage despite being the lower seed. That’s precisely the scenario NC State finds itself in, as it is a four-point underdog in this contest.
Connecticut might’ve had a chance at a top seed had it not lost its star point guard Paige Bueckers for 19 games due to a knee injury. Before the injury, Bueckers averaged 18.1 points per game. However, she’s averaging 8.3 points since her return. UConn also went 15-4 in her absence, but it’s 13-1 with her on the court.
The good news for Huskies fans is that Connecticut is now starting to ramp up Bueckers’ minutes, as she averaged over 30 minutes in the past two games. Bueckers’ injury meant that other players needed to step up following her injury as the team has four players averaging at least 10 points per game.
As for NC State, it has only two players averaging in double figures. Six-foot-5 center Elissa Cunane leads the Wolfpack with 13.6 points per contest. Although Cunane is a second-team All-American and potential WNBA lottery pick, her length shouldn’t trouble the Huskies as they have plenty of players with enough size to guard her.
Cunane can be more aggressive as she only averages 9.4 field goal attempts per game. She tends to drift away from the basket to the perimeter, where she resorts to just being a passer because she lacks the footwork to be an effective pick-and-roll option.
I thought NC State was extremely fortunate to win on Saturday against a Notre Dame team that shot 51% from the floor in a 66-63 loss.
NC State likely won’t be able to mount a similar comeback against UConn if it falls behind yet again.
Pick: 1/2 unit on UConn ML (-170) at Bet365
Michigan vs. Louisville Odds
|Moneyline||Michigan +167 / Louisville -192|
|Time||9 p.m. ET|
The Michigan Wolverines have a generational player in Naz Hillmon. This season, Hillmon became the first player in her program’s history to earn AP All-America first-team honors. Her performance has also coincided with Michigan’s first-ever appearance in the Elite Eight.
Michigan will need other players to step up on Monday to get past Louisville and its stout defense. Outside of Hillmon’s 21.1 points per game, Leigha Brown is the only other Wolverine averaging double figures (14.5 PPG). The Wolverines will face a stiff challenge against a Cardinals team ranked ninth with a 79.3 defensive rating.
Louisville should have plenty of experience at this stage as it has four straight Elite Eight appearances. The Cardinals rely on their super sophomore, Hailey Van Lith (14.3 PPG), who even caught the attention of the late Hall of Fame great Kobe Bryant when she was in high school.
Bryant invited Van Lith to Los Angeles to work out at his Mamba Academy because he was interested in her workouts and how she prepared for games. Through three games in the tournament, Van Lith is scoring 21.3 points per contest.
I’m always going to be partial to guards at the college level because of how much they have the ball in their hands. Louisville should have the edge in the backcourt, as my model makes it a 7-point favorite for this game.
However, instead of laying the points, I aim is to play a two-team 4.5 point teaser with the Cardinals and the Huskies at -110. I think chalk prevails as I expect all the number one seeds to advance to the Final Four next weekend.
Pick: Two team 4.5-point teaser, Louisville PK / Uconn +0.5 (-110)