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Women’s NCAA Tournament Final Four Preview: Connecticut Huskies vs. Arizona Wildcats

by April 1, 2021

In a metaphorical David vs. Goliath Final Four game, UConn is coming off a controversial victory over the Baylor Bears, taking the game down after a no-call in the final seconds. Arizona has avoided a one-seed up until this point, upsetting a struggling Texas A&M team while taking down four-seeded Indiana to get here. Aari McDonald posted 33 points in the regional final game and will need to continue her dominance if Arizona expects to pull off an upset.

UConn is led by freshman sensation Paige Bueckers, who is a legitimate walking bucket. She went 10-for-22 (3-for-7 from three) from the field vs. Baylor, scoring 28 points with three steals. She has lived up to her hype this tournament, and while her having a great game isn’t necessary for a UConn victory, it would be quite helpful for their chances of reaching the championship.

*Odds courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook

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Details

  • Lines: UConn -13.5; O/U 128.5 at DraftKings Sportsbook
  • Location: Alamodome, San Antonio, TX
  • Time: Friday, 8:30 PM CT
  • Television: ESPN

Overview

It is no surprise that UConn is in this position, marking their 13th consecutive Final Four appearance. And they’ve done it all without a single senior on their roster. This young team has already shown they can step up to the challenge, roaring back from a late deficit against the Baylor Bears. 

Paige Bueckers is getting all the press, but Christyn Williams and Evina Westbrook have both done well in this tournament. The trio of Bueckers, Williams, and Westbrook will make up the bulk of the Huskies scoring, and it will be nearly impossible to stop all three.

Arizona may be the underdog of the Final Four, but if any player is capable of putting a team on her back en route to victory, it’s Aari McDonald. McDonald scored 33 of the teams’ 66 points vs. Indiana, and she scored 31 vs. the Aggies. 

Where McDonald excels offensively, she is defensive prowess as well. As a two-time Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year, I see no one better equipped to guard Paige Bueckers than her. If the Wildcat star can essentially eliminate Bueckers from this game, Arizona would have more than a fighting chance in this game.

Bottom Line

Everybody and their mother are taking UConn in this game, and with good reason. Even if Paige Buckets is sidelined, the rest of this Connecticut team is underrated and can carry the load. If Arizona hopes to keep this game close, not only will Aari McDonald have to continue being her stellar self, but role players such as Cate Reese, Trinity Baptiste, and Bendu Yeaney will have to step up. 

The Huskies are a 13.5 point favorite for a reason. They have the highest field goal percentage in all college basketball (51.6%), and their defense ranks 7th in defensive effective field goal percentage (38.4%).

Arizona is no stranger to being a big underdog, as they played Stanford twice already this year. With that being said, I expect this game to be close in the first half, but Arizona can only ask so much of Aari McDonald. UConn pulls away late to cover…barely.

Pick: UConn -13.5 at DraftKings Sportsbook

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Ryan Coleman is a featured writer at BettingPros. For more from Ryan, check out his archive.

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