South Carolina remained undefeated at 36-0 by beating Oregon State 70-58 in the NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament's Elite Eight round last Sunday. As a result, the Gamecocks will be playing in their fourth consecutive Final Four when they meet North Carolina State in the national semifinals on Friday.

This is more than a typical Cinderella run for NC State, which has knocked off some great teams in Tennessee, Stanford, and Texas. The Wolfpack didn't merely win those games -- they won them convincingly. However, there can be no doubt that South Carolina will be NC State's toughest test yet. Let's take a closer look at this matchup whose winner will move on to the championship game.

North Carolina State vs. South Carolina Odds, Spread, Moneyline, Over/Under – March Madness Betting Lines 4/5

Moneyline: NC State Wolfpack +700, South Carolina Gamecocks -1200
Spread: NC State +11.5 (-105), South Carolina -11.5 (-115)
Total: Over/Under 139.5 points  

NC State vs. South Carolina Injury Report

Neither team has any key injuries to report.

NC State vs. South Carolina Prediction and Picks 

It’s no secret that undefeated South Carolina will be North Carolina State’s biggest test of the 2023-24 season. While the Wolfpack certainly won’t be South Carolina’s biggest test of the entire season, they will definitely be the Gamecocks’ toughest test to date in this year’s NCAA Tournament.

NC State is a complete team led by junior Aziaha James, who has been unguardable in this tournament. She is averaging 24.2 points through four March Madness games -- a dramatic uptick from her 16.7 points-per-game average for the overall 2023-24 season. This production isn’t limited to James, since all five Wolfpack starters have double-figure per-game scoring averages this season, and those five players make up a good chunk of their team’s average of 71.6 points per game.

No. 1 South Carolina is a complete team. The Gamecocks rank third in the nation in scoring and lock down opponents defensively by allowing just 56 points per game. Only the Indiana Hoosiers – who fell to South Carolina by four points -- have managed to test the Gamecocks in this tournament. Apart from that game, South Carolina has pretty much cruised to its berth in the Final Four.

It is worth noting, however, that Indiana was able to score 75 points in taking the Gamecocks down to the wire, as South Carolina barely eked out its Sweet 16 victory over IU. NC State resembles Indiana in terms of its balanced scoring attack, because all five of both the Wolfpack and Hoosiers starters score at least 10 points per game.

Because the Wolfpack have so many scoring options, they can really attack the Gamecocks’ defense and become a very tough out for them, much like Indiana was. NC State didn’t get to this Final Four by accident, and South Carolina’s 11.5-point spread for this game is too much against a team like the Wolfpack. NC State will be able to dissect South Carolina’s defense while also keeping up with the Gamecocks’ scoring pace.

The Pick: NC State +11.5 (-105) 

South Carolina, led by 6-foot-7 senior center Kamilla Cardoso, has been a scary team to face this season, particularly because it has held opponents to only 56 points per game. On the other hand, this NC State team can score points in many different ways, which is how it has beaten its NCAA Tournament opponents so far. When all five of a team’s starters can create their own shots, defending against them is very hard.

The Wolfpack have averaged 77.3 points per game during their stretch of NCAA Tournament wins over Tennessee, Stanford, and Texas leading up to the Final Four. NC State really proved itself against Texas, a stout defensive team like South Carolina that was holding opponents to 57.7 points per game. Despite their impressive stats, the Longhorns let the Wolfpack score a tournament-high 76 points against them.

These numbers are precisely why the over/under total for this game really confuses me. South Carolina’s offense is one of the best in the country – with six players averaging at least nine points per game. Only two NCAA schools topped the Gamecocks’ 85.6 points per game this season, as this team ranks in the nation’s top five in both field-goal percentage and 3-point percentage.

The Gamecocks have displayed offensive prowess in every game other than their Elite Eight win over Oregon State, when they scored “only” 70 points. At the same time, South Carolina’s defense is stout and will likely be a major reason the Gamecocks cut down the nets in the coming days.

Despite all of that, South Carolina will struggle to stop NC State, because the Wolfpack’s Aziaha James will be a tough test for whichever player is assigned to guard her. James is a matchup nightmare for any team, given her size at the guard position. In addition, NC State has been shooting 38.7 percent from 3-point range in this year’s NCAA Tournament, and the Wolfpack just went 9-for-18 from beyond the arc in their Elite Eight win over Texas.

NC State is ready for the moment here, and the Wolfpack will prove it as they test this South Carolina defense. This should also be a test for a South Carolina offense that will have to keep pace with the upstart underdogs. Expect these two teams to be neck-and-neck for all four quarters.

The Pick: Over 139.5 (-110)

Odds are subject to change*

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