NC State vs. South Carolina Prediction, Odds and Key Players for NCAA Tournament Final Four (Lay the Points)

College basketball betting preview for NC State-South Carolina. 

Mar 29, 2024; Albany, NY, USA; South Carolina Gamecocks center Kamilla Cardoso (10) looks to put up a shot against Indiana in the Sweet 16.
Mar 29, 2024; Albany, NY, USA; South Carolina Gamecocks center Kamilla Cardoso (10) looks to put up a shot against Indiana in the Sweet 16. / Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

Is there a better March Madness story than NC State’s basketball programs? On the men’s and women’s side, both Wolfpack squads made runs to the Final Four. 

On the women’s side, NC State, a No. 3 seed in the NCAA Tournament, won by double figures over No. 2 Stanford and No. 1 Texas to reach the Final Four for the first time since 1998. Wes Moore’s Wolfpack will need a Cinderella story to reach the national championship game for the first time in program history. NC State is a double-digit underdog to top-seeded and undefeated South Carolina in the Final Four.

South Carolina met little resistance in the Elite 8, taking out Oregon State, 70-58. The Gamecocks have outscored their four NCAA Tournament opponents by 28.5 points per game with only one contest (Indiana in the Sweet 16) decided by single digits.

Will South Carolina continue its run to become the 10th team all-time to pull off an undefeated season? They’ll need to pull away in Cleveland on Friday against NC State to keep its perfect season alive.

Here’s the betting breakdown of the matchup with a best bet. 

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NC State vs. South Carolina Odds, Spread and Total

NC State vs. South Carolina How to Watch

  • Date: Friday, April 5 
  • Game time: 7 p.m. EST
  • Venue: Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse 
  • How to watch (TV): ESPN
  • NC State record: 31-6
  • South Carolina record: 36-0

NC State vs. South Carolina Key Players to Watch

NC State

Aziaha James: A third-year guard at NC State, James has made quite the jump from averaging 6.8 points per game while primarily coming off the bench (six starts) last season. In her first year as a full-time starter, James is averaging 16.7 points per game and has taken over in the NCAA Tournament. When it matters most in March, James has averaged 24.3 points while shooting 50.8% from the floor and a sizzling 57.1% from beyond the arc. 

South Carolina 

Kamilla Cardoso: For South Carolina’s opponents, it’s a brutal game of pick your poison in defending against a Gamecock lineup that features seven players averaging at least eight points per game. Cardoso, a 6-foot-7 senior center, delivered in crunch time in South Carolina’s only close game of the tournament, turning in a team-high 22 points and 7 rebounds on 10-of-12 shooting in a 79-75 win over Indiana in the Sweet 16. Cardoso is averaging close to a double-double on the year at 14.1 points and 9.4 rebounds per game. 

NC State vs. South Carolina Prediction and Pick 

NC State’s defense was No. 2 in the ACC this season, but good luck slowing down a high-powered South Carolina offense that is No. 3 in the country in scoring at 85.6 points per game. The Gamecocks have had a different leading scorer for every NCAA Tournament game thus far and seem to have an answer to any defense the opposition wants to throw at them.

NC State is not great at attacking the glass, ranking 13th in the ACC in offensive rebounding. That’s bad news against a South Carolina squad that might be below average in giving up second-chance opportunities, but that’s mostly because of the sheer volume of missed shots the Gamecocks produce. 

South Carolina is No. 1 in the country in opposing field goal percentage (32.1%) and what’s been lost during NC State’s magical run to the Final Four is the Wolfpack’s shooting struggles. In four NCAA Tournament games, NC State has combined to shoot just 42.6% from the field.

The Wolfpack have relied heavily on getting to the free-throw line, averaging 22 attempts from the charity stripe in the tournament. They shouldn’t get many opportunities for freebies on Friday against a South Carolina squad that is No. 2 in the ACC in fouls per game (14.1). 

Overall, South Carolina has too much firepower for NC State’s underdog story to continue. Lay the big number with the Gamecocks as Dawn Staley’s group chases the program’s second national title in three years. 

Game odds update periodically and are subject to change.