NCAA March Madness: UConn Huskies vs. San Diego State Aztecs National Championship betting preview, odds and predictions
On Monday, April 3rd, the San Diego State Aztecs face the UConn Huskies in the national title game. The Aztecs knocked off the Florida Atlantic Owls with a buzzer beater from Lamont Butler, who buried a mid-range jumper that gave San Diego State a 72-71 win in the Final Four. Meanwhile, UConn blew out the Miami Hurricanes in a 72-59 win in their game. VSiN will continue to provide you with betting odds, in-depth analysis and expert college basketball picks for the final game of March Madness. So, make sure you're checking out the website over the next two days, and also try and check out some of our VSiN shows! We'll be talking about this game a lot until it finally tips!
MORE: Check out the public betting splits for the national title game on the VSiN betting splits page
How to watch UConn vs. San Diego State
When: Monday, 9:20 p.m. ET
Where: NRG Stadium - Houston, Texas
Odds for UConn vs. San Diego State
Spread: UConn -7.5
(Odds accurate as of Saturday, April 1st at 11:50 p.m. ET)
Real-time betting splits at DraftKings Sportsbook
West Region No. 4 Seed UConn Huskies
The Huskies looked like they were clearly the best team in college basketball before Big East play began. Things got a bit rockier for Dan Hurley’s team from there, but this group has found its mojo again in March Madness. The Huskies have won all five of their NCAA tournament games by double digits, and they have never really looked like they've been in serious danger of losing. UConn is elite 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 the only team in the country with a top-10 rating in both adjusted offensive efficiency and adjusted defensive efficiency. That's trouble for a San Diego State team that really only plays the defensive end of the floor well.
South Region No. 5 Seed San Diego State Aztecs
San Diego State was consistently excellent under Steve Fisher, and things have gone to another level since he handed the program over to longtime assistant Brian Dutcher. This year, the Aztecs were the top team in the Mountain West again, and they're now further into March Madness than they've ever been. That shouldn’t come as much of a surprise considering they’re more like a blue blood than a mid-major team when it comes to on-court talent. Matt Bradley is the player to watch for this San Diego State squad, as the senior led the team in scoring this year — and he hit some big shots against FAU in the Final Four. But any number of players is capable of stepping up and leading the Aztecs to a win, which is why this is a dangerous basketball team. We have seen that in full force this tournament, with Darrion Trammell being the best scorer for the team in a couple of games. And then it was Lamont Butler that hit the game winner against FAU. This UConn defense is probably the best that SDSU has faced all tournament, though. Will somebody rise to the occasion?
UConn vs. San Diego State matchup analysis
Dan Hurley's Huskies have absolutely dismantled every team they've played thus far, as they have won all five of their NCAA tournament games by at least 13 points. UConn has also played some tough competition in that span, as the Huskies have earned wins over the Saint Mary's Gaels, Arkansas Razorbacks, Gonzaga Bulldogs and Miami Hurricanes. Those are four of KenPom's top-25 teams this season, and UConn is now hoping to add San Diego State to the list.
The Aztecs have obviously won some tremendous games on this run themselves, with their win over the Alabama Crimson Tide being the most impressive. However, San Diego State's offense could be a problem here. The Aztecs were just 68th in KenPom's adjusted offensive efficiency metric this season, and they were only 58th in Bart Torvik's ratings. This is a team that doesn't necessarily take bad shots, but the group does lack a true go-to scorer. And that has caused San Diego State to get stuck in the mud a bit throughout this tournament. The Aztecs have been fortunate enough to get by to this point, but can they do it against a Huskies team that plays both ends of the floor at an elite level? We have our doubts.
UConn is the most perfectly constructed team we've seen all year, as the Huskies defend like there's no tomorrow and then have a tremendous offensive approach. UConn can beat teams inside with Adama Sanogo's brute strength around the basket, but the team also has a bunch of competent 3-point shooters. Jordan Hawkins is the best outside scorer on the team, as he's averaging 16.3 points per game this season. He'll be the biggest threat to create his own offense against this stifling Aztecs defense, but guys like Alex Karaban and Tristen Newton will also bury their outside shots when defenses collapse on either one of UConn's stars. Then, there's Andre Jackson Jr. and his ability to attack the basket, plus find good looks for his teammates.
The Huskies just have a lot of offensive weapons and they also happen to run some very advanced sets for the college level. With that in mind, it's UConn that is more likely to get good looks in this game, and the Huskies could end up getting a lot more of those. San Diego State does have a lot of length to go out and contest shots, but the same goes for a UConn team that happens to play a lot of big guards. That means that the Huskies should be able to make life pretty rough on a smaller player like Darrion Trammell.
It's going to take an otherworldly performance from somebody on San Diego State to keep the Aztecs in this one, but do they have somebody that is capable of rising to the occasion? Matt Bradley is probably the best bet, especially after scoring 21 points against FAU. But that was only his fourth 20-point game of the entire season, so it's not exactly realistic to count on him for that. And it will take a lot more than just one guy playing well to beat this scorching UConn team. It's also tough for San Diego State that it can't even rely on Nathan Mensah to win the physical battle in the paint. That's normally something that's there for the Aztecs, but Sanogo should be able to outmuscle him on both ends.
We should also note that UConn is now 9-1 both straight-up and against the spread in neutral-court games this year. On top of that, the Huskies are 24-12 ATS when playing as favorites, so they're not likely to turn in a dud simply because of the high expectations. This is just a flawless basketball team, and it's hard to see Hurley and Co. not taking care of business against an opponent that happens to have a major flaw.
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