Iowa vs. UConn Final Four Odds & Betting Preview: Battle Between Caitlin Clark And Paige Bueckers

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Iowa vs. UConn Final Four Odds & Betting Preview: Battle Between Caitlin Clark And Paige Bueckers

Caitlin Clark, one of the biggest stars in college basketball history, will lead Iowa against one of the most successful programs in the history of women’s college hoops in a premier Final Four showdown at 9:30 p.m. ET Friday night at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse in Cleveland. 

Clark’s Hawkeyes are slight favorites after notching a 94-87 win over LSU in the Elite Eight in a rematch of last year’s national championship game. The UConn Huskies are coming off an 80-73 victory over top-seeded USC to reach the Final Four for the 23rd time under Geno Auriemma. The winner of this matchup will take on either South Carolina — a prohibitive favorite to win the title — or Cinderella story NC State in the national championship this Sunday at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. 

Below, we’re taking a look at the odds and storylines for this March Madness showdown, including player and team props, spreads, and totals. 

Iowa vs. UConn basketball odds and betting lines

Caitlin Clark’s legacy 

Already the all-time leading scorer in men’s and women’s college basketball with a long line of incredible performances to her name, Clark could cement her legacy by taking down UConn to carry Iowa to a second straight national championship game. The senior guard dropped 41 points, seven rebounds, and 12 assists against LSU, putting her atop the all-time list in DI women’s basketball at 28.47 points per game. She is averaging 29.4 points per game in 15 tournament appearances and has hit 190 3-pointers this season. 

Paige Bueckers and Geno Auriemma lead UConn

As usual, the Huskies are a balanced and talented team, but they also have a star in point guard Paige Bueckers. The 6-foot 22-year-old from Minnesota missed all of the 2022-23 season with a torn ACL, then returned and became the fastest player in program history to top 1,000 career points this season. By using a redshirt season, Bueckers is eligible to return next winter and announced that she would forgo the WNBA draft to stay at UConn. The Huskies snapped a streak of 14 straight Final Four appearances last year without Bueckers but are back in the semifinals despite losing six players, including starters Azzi Fudd and Caroline Ducharme, to significant injuries this season. 

UConn defense gears up to try to contain Clark 

No defense has been able to contain Clark, with her range and ability to create her own shot off the bounce. The Huskies held Clark to 21 points in a 92-72 win in the Sweet 16 back when she was a sophomore, and Creighton held Clark to 15 points on 4-for-19 shooting in the Round of 32 the following season.

Last year, Clark scored at least 22 points in her final eight games, including 41 points on 15-for-31 shooting to take down powerhouse South Carolina in the Final Four. Her season-low as a senior is 21 points, and she’s tallied at least 27 points in each NCAA Tournament game this March. UConn has a top-15 defense in terms of opponent field goal percentage and has a few options to throw at Clark including Bueckers and Nika Muhl, who combined to hold USC star JuJu Watkins to 9-for-25 shooting in the Elite Eight.

Can Iowa match up down low? 

While injuries have ravaged their roster, the Huskies still have arguably the best forward in this matchup in senior Aaliyah Edwards. Averaging 17.6 points and 9.3 rebounds per game this season, the 6-foot-3 forward from Canada dropped 24 points against USC, leading UConn to a 28-20 advantage on points in the paint. Iowa gave up 44 paint points and 23 offensive rebounds in its Elite Eight win over LSU, with 6-foot-3 junior Angel Reese accounting for 17 points and 20 rebounds in defeat. 

Iowa vs. UConn injury report: Who’s out, who’s playing 

Iowa senior guard Molly Davis suffered a knee injury in early March. She initially hoped to return during postseason play, but she has been unable to take the court during the NCAA Tournament. Sydney Affolter has been filling in for Davis. 

UConn lost seasoned starters Azzi Fudd (ACL) and Caroline Ducharme (neck) for the season early this year, then lost Ayanna Patterson (knee) and Aubrey Griffin (ACL) in January. The Huskies have a very short rotation, with freshmen guards Ashlynn Shade and KK Arnold stepping into key roles as a result of those injuries. Edwards suffered a broken nose during the Big East Tournament but is playing through the injury with a mask.