In what should be one of the most competitive games of the opening round games, here's who we are adding to our NCAA Basketball picks in the matchup between UConn and Iowa State in the Southern Region.
Sportsbooks have released the college basketball odds for
the first round games. For this one in particular, the NCAA Basketball betting lines currently have Huskies favored by
two points, while the matchup's total is at 135.5.
Connecticut may have been disappointing to close the regular
season, but Jim Calhoun's boys did make another admirable run in the Big East
tournament. Lets go over these two teams and discuss how they matchup as we try to decide which sports picks will have the best chance of cashing in for us.
Huskies Favored in First Round
We all remember the “Five Games in Five Nights” extravaganza
of last year that was led by Kemba Walker. Though a similar Cinderalla run
wasn't in the cards, the Huskies still reached the semi-finals despite being
the number nine seed in the tournament.
They beat DePaul in the first round and then topped Kevin
Jones and West Virginia in the quarters. That all led up to a last four
showdown with number one seeded Syracuse, who was able to win 58-55 in a
hard-fought 40 minutes of action.
Irrespective of that loss, the Huskies enter the NCAA Tournament on a profitable ATS run. They've covered in four straight games
ahead of his first round matchup with the Cyclones.
Formerly known as a punching bag in the Big 12, Iowa State
broke out in a big way this season.
The Cyclones finished 22-10 SU and also had a tremendous
18-9-1 ATS record on the year. They picked up huge wins throughout the season,
the most impressive a home victory over Kansas in January.
It's fair to say the Cyclones under-performed in the Big 12
tournament, though the competition was very difficult. They lost to Texas 65-71
in the quarters to end a 5-0 ATS run they had prior.
UConn to Cover
For this #8/#9 matchup, I'm going with the HUGE upset and
backing the Huskies to march on.
The reason why is quite simple. UConn has far more
playmakers on their team. Jeremy Lamb, Shabazz Napier and Ryan Boatright have
been great out on the perimeter, and Andre Drummond is a force inside with his
shot-blocking ability and terrific athleticism for a big man.
While the Huskies can turn to a few different guys to create
offense, the Cyclones are pretty reliant on Royce White.
White, who averaged 13.1 PPG, 9.2 RPG and 5.1 APG during the
regular season, is one of the most versatile players in the nation. But what's
going to happen if he's taken out of the equation?
UConn has much more tournament experience and now has
Calhoun back on the bench. You could definitely tell the difference in attitude
and effort with the Hall of Fame coach patrolling that sideline.
The winner here plays the victor between Kentucky and the
#16 seed, so let me rephrase that. The winner here plays Kentucky. That should
be a highly interesting second round college basketball betting encounter.
In my view, it will be the Huskies that book that date as
they try to match their thrilling run from last year. I'm adding them to my
NCAA Basketball picks for the first round.
Huskies are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games overall
Cyclones are 15-5-1 ATS in their last 21 games overall
OVER is 7-1 in UConn's last 8 games overall
OVER is 4-1 in Iowa State's last 5 games vs. Big East teams