With the help of our TRACR model, we’ve calculated the probabilities of advancement for the Women’s Final Four. If you’re looking for March Madness predictions, you’re in the right place.

While the characters and stories that fill the NCAA women’s basketball Final Four are often familiar, this year’s quartet of teams provide a reminder of the twists and turns lurking for the final chapter.

Remember when South Carolina was undefeated and favored to win the national title heading into the semifinals last year, as it is heading into this weekend’s Final Four at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse in Cleveland?

Well, Caitlin Clark and Iowa spoiled the Gamecocks’ perfect season with an upset in the semifinals last year, only to fall short of a storybook ending themselves – a first national title – by losing to LSU in the national championship game two days later.

Connecticut? Oh yeah, no Division I women’s basketball team can touch the Huskies’ 11 national titles and 23 Final Four appearances, but coach Geno Auriemma’s program has lost in the national semifinals or final five times since it last finished on top in 2016 – a lifetime ago by the Huskies’ standard.

And in a sport that doesn’t always get Cinderella this deep into March Madness, it has NC State still at The Dance after entering the season unranked. A No. 3 seed is as good as the slippers get in women’s basketball, but the red-clad Wolfpack look splendid after beating their region’s top seeds, Texas and Stanford, to advance to the Final Four for the first time in 26 years.

Whoever continues the momentum this weekend – the championship game is set for Sunday – will write quite the final chapter.

For March Madness predictions, we’ve utilized TRACR, our Team Rating Adjusted for Conference and Roster. TRACR is a net efficiency metric that calculates a team’s points per possession on both sides of the ball, adjusted by the team it plays. The model rewards teams that do well against good teams and subtracts from those that do poorly against weaker squads.

South Carolina, UConn and Iowa were TRACR’s top-three teams in that order prior to March Madness, and we’ve continued to simulate both the women’s and men’s NCAA college basketball tournaments for the probabilities of advancement and predictions.


Here are the semifinal-round matchups at the NCAA women’s Final Four:

No. 3 Seed NC State (31-6) vs. No. 1 Seed South Carolina (36-0)

Tipoff – 7 p.m. ET Friday (ESPN)

TRACR Rating – NC State: 43.40 (ninth in NCAA Division I); South Carolina: 63.48 (first)

Offense TRACR Rating – NC State: 19.45 (22nd); South Carolina: 34.23 (first)

Defense TRACR Rating – NC State: -23.96 (third); South Carolina: -29.25 (first)

Win Probability – NC State: 14.5%; South Carolina: 85.5%

NCAA Tournament Wins – NC State: Chattanooga, 64-45 (first round); Tennessee, 79-72 (second round); Stanford, 77-67 (Sweet 16), Texas, 76-66 (Elite Eight); South Carolina: Presbyterian, 91-39 (first round); North Carolina, 88-41 (second round); Indiana, 79-75 (Sweet 16); Oregon State, 70-58 (Elite Eight)

Coaches – NC State:  Wes Moore (11th season); South Carolina: Dawn Staley (16th season)

3 Key Players – NC State: Aziaha James, 5-9 guard (16.7 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 3.0 apg); Saniya Rivers, 6-1 guard (12.7 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 3.8 apg); River Baldwin, 6-5 center (10.6 ppg, 6.9 rpg, 43 blocked shots). South Carolina: Kamilla Cardoso, 6-7 center (14.1 ppg, 9.4 rpg, 77 blocked shots); MiLaysia Fulwiley, 5-10 guard (11.9 ppg, 2.1 apg, 59 steals); Te-Hina Paopao, 5-9 guard (10.9 ppg, 3.7 apg, 46.3 3-point%)

What to Know – South Carolina, having advanced to the Final Four for the fourth consecutive season, is seeking to join 12 previous unbeaten national champions (nine since NCAA women’s basketball began in the 1981-82 season; three previously during the AIAW era). Meanwhile, NC State’s only previous Final Four appearance occurred back in 1998 before any of its current players were born. Both teams spread around the contributions: All five starters on the underdog Wolfpack average double figures in points – James has jumped to 24.3 points per game in the four NCAA Tournament wins – while the unbeaten Gamecocks have seven players who average at least eight points an outing. Staley has led her SEC power to national titles in 2017 and ’22, and she’s done a remarkable job in replacing all five starters from last season’s 36-1 team. While it helped to return key reserves Cardoso, who’s become a first-team All-American this season, and point guard Raven Johnson, the newcomers have been impactful, especially Paopao, an Oregon transfer, and Fulwiley, a freshman. NC State has an impressive 52 assists to just 31 turnovers in the NCAA Tournament, and the offensive efficiency needs to continue against the Gamecocks, whose defense has smothered opponents to just 32.1% on field goals – the No. 1 ranking in Division I. Rivers came off the bench for South Carolina’s 2021-22 national championship squad, then made a transfer to NC State after that season. A junior, she’s the ACC squad’s most versatile player.

All-Americans Paige Bueckers and Caitlin Clark met once in college previously in UConn’s 2021 Elite Eight victory. UConn also defeated Iowa 86-79 in the regular season on Nov. 27, 2022, but Bueckers did not play due to injury. (AP)

No. 3 Seed UConn (33-5) vs. No. 1 Seed Iowa (33-4)

Tipoff – 9:30 p.m. ET Friday (ESPN)

TRACR Rating – UConn: 52.78 (second in NCAA Division I); Iowa: 50.90 (third)

Offense Rating – UConn: 28.71 (fourth); Iowa: 34.15 (second)

Defense Rating – UConn: -24.07 (second); Iowa: -16.75 (22nd)

Win Probability – UConn: 45.8%; Iowa: 54.2%

NCAA Tournament Wins – UConn: Jackson State, 86-64 (first round); Syracuse, 72-64 (second round); Duke, 53-45 (Sweet 16); USC, 80-73 (Elite Eight); Iowa: Holy Cross, 91-65 (first round); West Virginia, 64-54 (second round); Colorado, 89-68 (Sweet 16); LSU, 94-87 (Elite Eight)

Coaches – UConn:  Geno Auriemma (39th season); Iowa: Lisa Bluder (24th season)

3 Key Players – UConn: Paige Bueckers, 6-0 guard/forward (22.0 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 3.9 apg); Aaliyah Edwards, 6-3 center (17.6 ppg, 9.3 rpg, 59.5 FG%); Nika Muhl, 5-11 guard (6.8 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 6.5 apg). Iowa: Caitlin Clark, 6-0 guard (32.0 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 9.0 apg); Hannah Stuelke, 6-2 forward (13.8 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 62.5 FG%); Kate Martin, 6-0 guard (13.1 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 2.4 apg)

What to Know – Clark versus LSU power forward Angel Reese in Iowa’s Elite Eight win was the most-recognized individual rivalry of the season, but the best matchup is Clark versus Bueckers. The UConn standout was the 2020-21 national women’s college player of the year, becoming the first freshman to receive the award, while Clark has skyrocketed since then and claimed the honor at Iowa in each of the last two seasons. Division I’s all-time leader in points (3,900) and 3-pointers (540 on unlimited range) has led the Hawkeyes to a national-high 91.9 points per game, but she also ranks No. 1 in the nation in assists per game for the third consecutive season. The passing skills have helped her teammates combine for a 52.0 field-goal percentage (Clark is 46.0%). Martin has 17 games of 15+ points this season, including 21 in the LSU win, and Stuelke had a 47-point outburst in a Big Ten game two months ago. With UConn, Auriemma has long implored Bueckers to shoot more often, and she has during March Madness, averaging 28 points and 22 field-goal attempts, way up from 21.3 and 14.5, respectively, through the Big East Tournament. Bueckers and Edwards form arguably the top 1-2 combo on any Final Four roster, but the Huskies have only eight healthy players due to injuries, and regularly utilize just one or two off the bench even when players are in foul trouble. Muhl, UConn’s all-time assists leader (679) and twice the conference defensive player of the year, most likely will be assigned to guarding Clark.

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