Sweet 16 Picks: UConn vs. San Diego State Odds and Predictions
by Darin Zank - 3/24/2011
The Connecticut Huskies might be the hottest team in college basketball. The San Diego State Aztecs have lost twice all season. So it will be two pretty good teams going at it when San Diego State, the two seed in the East region, meets third-seeded UConn in an NCAA tournament regional semifinal game Thursday night at the Honda Center in Anaheim (7:15 p.m. Eastern, CBS).
Including its run through the Big East tournament, UConn won seven games in 12 days ending last weekend. They beat DePaul, Georgetown, Pittsburgh, Syracuse and Louisville to win the conference tourney, then knocked off Bucknell, 81-52, and Cincinnati, 69-58, to open the NCAA Tournament. This all has to be considered at least somewhat unexpected considering the Huskies went just 9-9 in the Big East during the regular season.
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So Connecticut is now 28-9 straight-up and 20-11 vs. the college basketball odds this season.
San Diego State tied BYU for the regular-season title out in the Mountain West this season, then won the conference tournament with a 72-54 trouncing of Brigham Young in the title game. This was a nice piece of revenge for the Aztecs considering the Cougars were and still are the only team to beat them this season. SD State then opened the NCAA Tournament with a 68-50 win over Northern Colorado, and then held off Temple in double-overtime Saturday night, 71-64. So the Aztecs are now 34-2 SU and 22-12 ATS on the season.
This is the furthest the Aztecs have ever been in the NCAA Tournament. They had actually never won a game in the Big Dance heading into this season.
San Diego State, which starts three seniors and two sophomores, is shooting 45.5 percent from the field this season as a team, 34 percent from 3-point land and 70 percent from the charity stripe. The Aztecs are also holding opponents to 39 percent FG shooting, and outrebounding foes by 6.3 boards per game.
UConn, which starts a senior, a junior, a sophomore and two freshmen, is shooting 43 percent from the floor this season, 33 percent from long range but 76 percent from the stripe. The Huskies are also limiting opponents to 40 percent shooting, and outboarding them by 5.1 per game.
UConn, of course, is led by junior G Kemba Walker, who's averaging almost 24 points per game this season and leads the team in assists. And during the Huskies seven-game post-season run Walker is averaging almost 26 PPG. Fortunately for Connecticut he's also been getting some help from the supporting cast recently. And on top of everything Walker has already done to get UConn to this point, he's also 20-for-20 from the FT line in the first two games of this tournament.
San Diego State is anchored by a tough front line, led by sophomore F Kawhi Leonard, who leads the team in scoring and rebounding at 16/11 per game. And point guard DJ Gay owns a 3.1/1 assist/turnover ratio on the season.
These two teams have played one common opponent this season. Back in November UConn beat Wichita State, 83-79, on a neutral court out in Hawaii. A couple of weeks later San Diego State knocked off the Shockers, 83-69, in San Diego.
Connecticut vs. San Diego State Odds
As of Wednesday afternoon some online sportsbooks had UConn favored by one point over San Diego State. Bodog had the Huskies at -1.5. Several sportsbooks had opened this game with San Diego State favored by a point.
The total for this game was listed at 128.5 at most places, but can be found at 128 at Bodog.
On the futures markets UConn could be gotten at +375 at BetUS to win the East regional, and at +1,650 at BetOnline to win the NCAA championship. San Diego State could be backed at +350 just about everywhere to win the East, and at +1,600 at Bodog to win the tournament.
Connecticut vs. San Diego State Betting Trends
UConn is 7-0 ATS over its last seven games.
SD State is 6-1 ATS over its last seven games.
UConn is 5-4 SU, 4-5 ATS in games with pointspreads of three points or less this season.
SD State is 4-0 both SU and ATS in games with spreads of three points or less this season.
UConn is 0-3 on the ‘over/unders’ its last three games.
UConn is 15-9 both SU and ATS vs. NCAA Tournament qualifiers this season.
SD State is 7-2 both SU and ATS vs. NCAA Tournament qualifiers this season.
The ‘over/unders’ are 13-17 in UConn games this season, which have averaged 139 points.
The ‘O/U’s are 15-19 in SD State games, which have averaged 131 points.
Sweet 16 Picks: Connecticut vs. San Diego State Predictions
Connecticut might not be the one-man show on offense that some of us think they are, but San Diego State is still the more balanced squad. And the Aztecs should have an edge on the inside Thursday night. UConn has had a hell of a run, but they'll need another stellar game from Walker to win this one. Nobody has been able to put the squeeze on Walker lately, but the Aztecs, who have only allowed 59 PPG this season, might have the dudes to do it. And playing in Anaheim might give SD State a bit of an edge. So we'll take the Aztecs to win this one, and advance on to play the winner of Duke-Arizona in a regional final Saturday.
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