Picks for women's NCAA Tournament Final 4 games: Caitlin Clark, UConn, and more

Apr 4, 2024; Cleveland, OH, USA; Iowa Hawkeyes guard Caitlin Clark (22) stretches during a practice
Apr 4, 2024; Cleveland, OH, USA; Iowa Hawkeyes guard Caitlin Clark (22) stretches during a practice / Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

In many ways, this year’s women’s NCAA Tournament has gotten more attention than the men’s tournament. The buzz, hype, and excitement reached a boiling with last year’s championship rematch in the Elite 8 with Caitlin Clark and Iowa taking on Angel Reese and LSU on Monday night.

But that was just the appetizer for Friday night’s Final 4 which features Iowa, UConn, South Carolina, and North Carolina State. The teams will compete in Cleveland for the right to play in the Championship game on Sunday night.

1 South Carolina vs. 3 North Carolina State

The first game of the night features the undefeated South Carolina Gamecocks led by head coach Dawn Staley facing the upstart NC State Wolfpack. The Cocks have become a juggernaut, as this is their fourth straight Final 4 appearance.

They’ve relatively cruised through the season with only a handful of true tests and a number of lopsided victories. NC State has been a nice story, and played well in this tournament, but I don’t think they have enough to stack with the mighty Gamecocks, led by Kamilla Cardoso down low and the guard combo outside of Raven Johnson, Bree Hall, MiLaysia Fulwiley, and Te-Hina Paopao.

The pick: South Carolina 72 - North Carolina State 59

1 Iowa vs. 3 UConn

The nightcap features two of the brightest stars in the game with National Player of the Year Caitlin Clark leading Iowa against Paige Bueckers and UConn. All the hype is around this Iowa team and Clark, the larger than life star of the moment.

But I’m actually going with the upset in this one, taking Geno Auriemma and his Lady Huskies here. I think they are motivated by their relative lack of success in recent years. Clark has gotten all of the attention - and rightfully so. 

Despite this being the Final 4, Iowa and Clark got the monkey off their back last game beating LSU and this could be a slight letdown. On the other hand, Bueckers and UConn have been waiting for this for years. I expect them to be the hungrier team and ultimately prevail in an instant classic.

The pick: UConn 84 - Iowa 77