NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament 2022: Final Four Odds, Schedule, Bracket

Maurice Bobb@@ReeseReportFeatured ColumnistApril 1, 2022

NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament 2022: Final Four Odds, Schedule, Bracket

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    Charlie Niebergall/Associated Press

    After weeks of exciting basketball action, only four teams remain in the 2022 NCAA women's basketball tournament.

    In the first national semifinal game, South Carolina and Louisville, both ranked No. 1, will face off at the Target Center in Minneapolis.

    Then it's on to the second matchup between No. 2 UConn and No. 1 Stanford.

    Since there weren't as many upsets in this tournament as the men's version, all four teams remaining are basketball powerhouses with stars who are destined to play in the WNBA soon.

    With that kind of star power, anything can happen in both games despite rankings, so fans should strap in and get ready for some unforgettable basketball.

    Here's a quick look at the schedule, odds, how to watch the action and predictions.

Final Four Schedule, Odds

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    Friday, April 2

    No. 1 South Carolina vs. No. 1 Louisville (-5.5), 6 p.m. ET, ESPN

    No. 2 UConn (-13.5) vs. No. 1 Stanford, 9:30 p.m. ET, ESPN

    Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook.

Final Four Preview

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    Frank Franklin II/Associated Press

    For those who rely on betting favorites, Louisville and UConn are the two teams that will be cutting down the nets on Friday night.

    But with the talent that will take the floor for these four teams, the odds aren't enough to tell the story.

    Sure, the Cardinals earned their way to this point, beating Michigan 62-50 with a balanced attack and star guard Hailey Van Lith exploding for 22 points, so they'll be ready to take on South Carolina, especially if their leader has another great game.

    "I've never met her in person, but I wanted to tell her that I think the one thing I've seen that was truly inspiring was her leadership," Utah Jazz star Donovan Mitchell told Brett Dawson of the Courier Journal on Wednesday. "You love to see that. As the leader of my team, being able to see her taking on that characteristic is dope to see. Everybody talks about her 20 points per game, but the thing I told her was, ‘Your leadership is what I think is most outstanding.'"

    The Gamecocks, on the other hand, are fresh off of an 80-50 win over Creighton, where The AP Player of the Year Aliyah Boston led with a team-high 19 points.

    Boston has been consistent and dominating for South Carolina, so look for her to continue her award-winning play Friday night.

    "Not often do you get the complete package. I think this recognition is for what she was able to do on both sides of the ball," South Carolina coach Dawn Staley told the Associated Press. "The player of the year is usually for offensive-minded people who think that when you put the ball in the hole, you should be bestowed the player of the year. She's the full package. Every single day."

    With Van Lith and Boston's play canceling each other out, it will take the play of teammates like Emily Engstler and Chelsie Hall or Victaria Saxton and Brea Beal to determine a winner.

    UConn is predicted to beat Stanford, but they are both equally dangerous teams.

    At this point, having faced each other 18 times (five in the national semifinals or championship game), the Huskies and Cardinals have formed a bit of a rivalry.

    So there's more than just a victory on the line—pride and bragging rights are on the table, too.

    Of the 18 games, UConn has won 11 matchups, but Stanford has the momentum as the reigning champs looking for their first back-to-back championship under head coach Tara VanDerveer.

    "We've been competing against each other for a long time, playing against each other," VanDerveer told Doug Feinberg of Yahoo Sports. "I like [Huskies head coach Geno Auriemma] and think we get along really well. I've never felt that we were adversaries in a negative way, but more competitors in a good way."

    For the Cardinals to win, Cameron Brink, who averages 13.4 points and 8.1 boards per contest, will have to have a good game.

    If the Huskies want to keep dancing, they'll need Paige Bueckers to play as she did in the 91-87 double-overtime win over NC State when she scored 23 of her 27 points in the second half and extra periods.

    Bueckers grew up 10 miles from Minneapolis, so she'll be extra motivated to play her best.

    "I'm obviously super grateful to be home, but it doesn't matter the location, where it is, we're all excited to be at the Final Four and keep playing," Bueckers said. "I'm hoping to see a lot of Minnesota basketball fans because it's an awesome experience and opportunity for the state."