The Connecticut Huskies started out the 2022-23 season like a house afire. Then they cooled off quite a bit. But now they seem to be getting hot again at the right time as they head into the Final Four. And that’s all that counts at the moment.
Can anyone beat them as everyone congregates in Houston? They are rated the favorites to cut down the nets on Monday night.
Here are the March Madness betting odds on the field from BetOnline:
To Win 2023 NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship
San Diego State +400
Miami Florida +475
Florida Atlantic +650
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UConn, coached by Dan Hurley, of the famous coaching family (and brother of Danny Hurley, who took Arizona State into the Big Dance), won its first 14 games of the season. And they weren’t just warmups, either; one of those victories was against top-five Alabama, and it came by fifteen points.
But then came a stretch where the Huskies lost six of eight games. All of that came in the Big East. In point of fact, this team has not lost to any team outside of the conference (and a news flash – they have failed to cover only one of those non-conference games). They aren’t the Big East champions, however. Marquette defeated them in the league championship game.
Still, no one in their right mind would discount the Huskies. And they have been simply sizzling in the Big Dance.
The lowest margin of victory thus far has been 15 points against Saint Mary’s, which has been considered an extremely capable side by most people throughout the season. UConn has shot 54.9% from two-point range and 41.9% from beyond the three-point arc; that latter figure would have been the best in Division I basketball if it was projected over a full season.
They have absolutely shut down opponents as well. Over the last three games they have allowed just 21.6% triples (11 of 51). And 38.7% from two-point range.
We have already mentioned that no one has come within fifteen points of the Huskies. But what they have done in the second halves of games has been truly dominant. Over these four contests, they have outscored the opposition 174-107 after halftime. That’s an average margin of 16.75 points per game. This should be of particular concern for the Miami Hurricanes, who have been pretty formidable in coming back from second half deficits.
What the Huskies offer that is very difficult to contend with is a powerful 1-2 duo at center. Adama Sanogo, the native of Mali, bangs around on the inside and is one of the top offensive rebounders in the nation. Donovan Clingan, who might be ticketed for the NBA, has blocked 1.8 shots per contest playing an average of only 13.1 minutes.
With the presence of outside shooters like Jordan Hawkins, UConn has the balanced offensive game to get through these next two tests. The other teams, if you’ve been following the tournament, aren’t too bad themselves. But do the Huskies offer any value at that price?
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