College Basketball Odds, Pick, Prediction: Butler vs. UConn (Tuesday, Jan. 18)
Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images. Pictured: Adama Sanogo (UConn)
- After getting pummeled by Villanova, Butler hosts UConn in a Big East clash.
- The Huskies have played some extremely close conference affairs, but the Bulldogs have lost three of their last four and are 2-3 in league play.
- Kyle Remillard breaks down the matchup and offers up his best bet.
Butler vs. UConn Odds
-110o / -110u
-110o / -110u
Butler will finally travel to Connecticut for its Big East matchup after having the first meeting called off due to COVID issues in the Huskies’ program.
The Bulldogs own a 9-7 record in the first two months of the season due to the 12th-easiest strength of schedule in the country. Butler has found eight of its nine wins against teams that rank outside the top 100, and have gone 1-7 against better competition.
That could spell trouble, as the Bulldogs travel for a road Big East game against a top-20 opponent in the Huskies.
Dan Hurley has his squad 11-4 on the year, with all four losses coming by four points or less to quality opponents. The Huskies are strong on both ends of the floor, owning a top-30 offense and defensive efficiency ranking.
They’re coming off back-to-back overtime games and are poised to turn up their defensive pressure against a lackluster Butler offense.
How Butler can manufacture offense against Connecticut’s pressure man-to-man defense will be a deciding factor in the outcome of this matchup.
LaVall Jordan’s squad plays at the 348th-slowest tempo in the country, according to KenPom. That has led Butler to the 333rd-ranked scoring offense, as it puts up just over 60 points per game.
On the flip side, the group has allowed 65 points per game, which is 59th in the nation.
The program’s 9-7 record has mainly been smoke and mirrors to this point and is primed to be exposed as conference play continues. The Bulldogs have beaten up on their cakewalk opponents while struggling mightily against solid competition.
|Opp KenPom Rank||Record||Points For||Points Against||Differential||FG%|
|100th or Worse||8-0||71||55||16||48%|
|99 or Better||1-7||55||72||-18||37%|
One constant that has remained against any caliber of competition has been the turnover woes. Butler has turned the ball over on over 20% of its offensive possessions, which ranks 262nd in the country. It has averaged 13 turnovers per game and has amassed 20 turnovers on two separate occasions this season.
The offense takes 46% of its shot attempts from behind the arc, yet hits at just a 30% clip, which is 287th nationally. Matching up against the high-pressure Connecticut defense should only make matters worse in this game.
Hurley’s squad is coming off back-to-back overtime Big East matchups. The Huskies are 2-2 in conference play after starting out with a 57-53 loss to Providence.
The group has been solid on both ends of the floor, but it is shooting particularly well from outside, hitting 36% of its 3-point shots. But the Huskies don’t take many 3s, ranking 233rd in the country with only 35% of their shot attempts coming from beyond the arc.
The Huskies find most of their points on 2-point attempts, where they hit at just a 48% clip, which ranks outside the top-200 nationally.
They’re a top-10 unit in terms of extending possessions with offensive rebounds. That shouldn’t continue in this matchup, as Butler thrives at boxing out and securing defensive rebounds.
Connecticut’s offense is led by a “Big Three” in R.J. Cole, Adama Sanogo and Tyrese Martin. The three all average 14 or more points per game and combine for 46 per contest.
Hurley’s defense ranks second in the Big East in efficiency ranking, letting up just 65 points per game. The perimeter defense doesn’t allow many looks from the outside, and when opponents drive into the paint, they’re denied frequently. The Huskies own the fifth-best 2-point defense that holds opponents to 41% on such shot attempts.
This could lead to another long night offensively for Butler.
Butler vs. UConn Betting Pick
Butler owns the worst offensive efficiency ranking in the Big East and sits at 188th in the country. Combining its offensive struggles with its slow pace, it makes sense why Butler has gone under the total in 12 of its 16 games this season.
Three of the four games that did go over the total did so by three points or less.
Over the last five seasons with Jordan at the helm, Butler is 4-25 against top-25 opponents. Last time out, Butler was demolished by Villanova, 82-42, the worst loss for the program since 1994.
I do think we will see a motivated Butler team after that embarrassing loss, but the offense is prone to have a significant number of turnovers against Hurley’s high-intensity defense. Butler’s motivation will be seen on the defensive end of the floor.
This game should be like the second matchup last season between these two teams, which ended with a 63-51 Connecticut victory.
I’m shying away from a side in this game as points will be at a premium. So, I will focus on the total. There is value on the under in this game. These two teams play at a tremendously slow pace and the defensive intensity will be high.