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Baylor vs. Hartford Odds, Instant Analysis For NCAA Tournament First Round

Baylor vs. Hartford Odds, Instant Analysis For NCAA Tournament First Round article feature image

Tom Pennington/Getty Images. Pictured: Mark Vital.

#1 Baylor vs. #16 Hartford Odds

Hartford Odds+26.5
Baylor Odds-26.5
Moneyline N/A
TimeFriday, 3:30 p.m. ET
Odds as of Sunday and via DraftKings

How Baylor & Hartford Match Up

All stats via KenPom.

Baylor-Hartford Instant Analysis

Hartford is elated to make the NCAA Tournament for the first time in school history. The Hawks can’t be pleased to see Baylor as the first team they’ll face in tournament play. Hartford had the second-most efficient defense in the America East, thanks in large part to leading the conference in forced turnover rate.

Baylor’s experienced guards should have no problem controlling the ball and will find little resistance slashing into the paint against Hartford. Even if Baylor, which thrives behind the 3-point line, has an ice-cold shooting night, it’s impossible to imagine Hartford overcoming the athleticism advantage the Bears will hold. The Hawks only scored above one point per possession in 10 of their 23 games this season. It would be a shock if they came anywhere close to that mark against Baylor. — Shane McNichol

What To Know About Baylor

For most of the season, many considered Baylor and Gonzaga as the two best teams in the country with almost no difference between them from a power ratings perspective. That has since changed as Baylor has dropped a few games, while Gonzaga has remained undefeated.

What happened to the Bears? Unfortunately, they had to deal with extreme COVID issues inside the program, which led to a long pause in activities. Since they’ve returned, the Bears just haven’t been the same team, especially on the defensive end. Baylor has just looked much slower on that end and has been much more vulnerable off the dribble and in transition.

Can the Bears regain their pre-COVID form? That’s the primary question heading into the tournament after suffering a loss in the Big 12 semis to Oklahoma State. If it can, you can put it back in Gonzaga’s neighborhood. If not, Scott Drew’s squad can still certainly make a run, especially if they keep shooting a nation-leading 41.8% from distance for an offense that is also elite on the offensive glass and can score in many different ways. If not, they will be in some exciting, high-variance shootouts and will have to fight to get through the second weekend. — Stuckey

What To Know About Hartford

There’s not much to say about the Hartford offense. It’s dreadful to put it kindly. The Hawks don’t do much well on that end of the floor and are completely inept if the 3s aren’t falling, which they shoot at a top-50 clip nationally.

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Where Hartford makes its living is on the defensive end. It’s very strong on that end, led by an excellent on-ball defender in Traci Carter. It ranks in the 95th percentile nationally in half-court man defense, per Synergy.

That said, the Hawks have been quite fortunate in regards to both opponent free-throw shooting (pure luck) and 3-point shooting (part luck), so the regression monster looms. Hartford is a very hard-nosed club with plenty of experience that has no issues getting into rock fights, but it simply lacks the offensive firepower to even flirt with what conference foe UMBC pulled as a 16-seed a few years ago. — Stuckey

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