NCAA March Madness: UConn Huskies vs. Arkansas Razorbacks betting preview, odds and predictions
In a 4 vs. 8 matchup in the West region of the NCAA Tournament, the UConn Huskies take on the Arkansas Razorbacks with a spot in the Elite Eight on the line. All tournament long, VSiN will be providing you with March Madness betting odds, in-depth team analysis and expert college basketball picks. Make us your one-stop shop for all of your betting needs.
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How to watch UConn vs. Arkansas
When: Thursday, 7:15 p.m. ET
Where: Las Vegas, Nevada
Odds for UConn vs. Arkansas
Spread: UConn -4
(Odds accurate as of Sunday, March 19th at 8:00 p.m. ET)
Real-time betting splits at DraftKings Sportsbook
West Region No. 4 Seed UConn Huskies
There was a point earlier in the season in which the Huskies looked like they were clearly the best team in college basketball. Things got a bit rockier for Dan Hurley’s team after a hot start, but this is one of the most dangerous teams in the country. UConn is very good on both ends of the floor, and the team has two borderline stars it can count on every night: Adama Sanogo and Jordan Hawkins. Those two make up one of the best inside-outside combinations in the nation, and the Huskies have a bunch of other guys that know their roles. UConn is one of only four teams with a top-20 rating in both adjusted offensive efficiency and adjusted defensive efficiency. Those numbers didn't consistently translate into big wins during the regular season, but the Huskies are rolling in this tournament. They earned relatively easy wins over the Iona Gaels and Saint Mary's Gaels in the first two rounds.
West Region No. 8 Seed Arkansas Razorbacks
The Razorbacks have a pair of potential NBA lottery picks in Nick Smith Jr. and Anthony Black. Black has been the better of those two players by a significant margin, with Smith being one of the more disappointing freshmen in the country this year. But it wouldn't be surprising if he had a moment at some point in this tournament. But so far it has been Ricky Council IV and Devo Davis that have carried the load for the Razorbacks offensively, with Jordan Walsh's stellar two-way play also giving Arkansas a spark. The Razorbacks are a top-20 team on the defensive end, which is why this team has a chance in every game it plays. The offense is what sometimes lags behind, but the team has players that are capable of rising to the occasion.
UConn vs. Arkansas matchup analysis
Arkansas might be only 22-13 on the season, but this is a top-20 team in KenPom's adjusted efficiency margin and Bart Torvik's Power Ratings. The team is also 17th in our VSiN Power Ratings. With that said, you shouldn't be factoring in the records at all when you look at this one. That might have you severely underrating the Razorbacks.
With that out of the way, the Razorbacks are facing something of an uphill battle in this one. Arkansas is not shooting the 3 well this year, and UConn happens to defend the 3-point line at an elite level. Meanwhile, the Huskies can really shoot it from deep, and it's going to be hard for Eric Musselman's team to win if only UConn is knocking down 3s.
The Huskies also happen to have a major advantage inside, where Adama Sanogo is a monster in the paint. The Razorbacks lost their best big man early in the season, as Trevon Brazile tore his ACL and is out for the year. That has been a huge absence for Arkansas, which doesn't have a lot of depth at the forward and center positions.
With Dan Hurley's team having an advantage in shooting and post play, the Razorbacks will have to be nearly perfect defensively in order to win this game. But it's not outrageous to think that Arkansas is capable of that. This has been a top-15 team in defensive efficiency, and the Razorbacks simply need to stay disciplined on that end of the floor.
Offensively, Arkansas is going to need somebody to step things up in this one. Last game, Devo Davis carried the Razorbacks to a win over an elite Kansas team. Perhaps he'll ride that momentum to a great performance here. Otherwise, it could be Ricky Council IV, who has all the confidence in the world but isn't the most efficient player. And anything the Razorbacks can get out of Anthony Black and Nick Smith Jr. offensively would help. Black is a great table setter for his teammates, and he does a good job of getting downhill. But he has been somewhat invisible as a scorer lately.
Looking to the under could be a wise option here, too. The Razorbacks are going to want to slow this game down and avoid giving the Huskies a chance to get out into space. And these teams are both great defensively.
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