Xavier vs. UConn Odds & Picks: Betting Value on Huskies? (Feb. 19)
Porter Binks/Getty Images. Pictured: Adama Sanogo.
Xavier vs. UConn Odds
-110o / -110u
-110o / -110u
The Big East has quietly become one of the country’s most competitive and entertaining conferences. Two teams that have been a big part of that are Xavier and UConn.
This matchup will be the second meeting between the two programs, and if it’s anything like the first, it won’t disappoint. The Musketeers ultimately took the first game, but it was earned. zthe Huskies did everything they could to hang around, only to lose by six.
The Huskies will have the intangible advantage coming into this one, as they have won two straight and will now host the Musketeers, who are looking to rebound after an upset loss to St. Johns.
With UConn on a roll and revenge on their mind, will the Huskies find a way to even the season series?
Look For Xavier to Feed Nunge
UConn is an excellent rebounding team considering its overall lack of size. However, that lack of size was a big part of the Musketeers’ game plan in the first meeting. Xavier big man Jack Nunge had a big performance, dropping 22 points and grabbing nine boards.
Nunge’s big performance is not just a good shooting night. When you dive into the box score, you can see just how much of an issue he was down low. Now, Nunge did have a great night from the field — he went 6-for-11 and sunk multiple 3s — but he got a solid chunk of his points from the stripe.
Connecticut big man Adama Sanogo had all sorts of problems with Nunge and was forced to foul him on multiple occasions. In the end, Nunge got to the line 10 times and converted eight of his attempts. In turn, Sanogo’s impact was limited as he was on the bench with foul trouble.
Expect Positive Regression for Huskies
It was an uncharacteristic outing for Connecticut in the first meeting, as it got out-rebounded and outshot.
While the Musketeers deserve credit for their performance, this UConn team is far better than what it showed. Sanogo’s foul trouble was a significant factor in its lack of points and boards. He’s the vacuum that makes the Huskies the No. 2 offensive rebounding team in the country. I expect them to adjust and give him help defending Nunge so he can stay on the floor.
Another outlier is the shooting performance from the Huskies in the first matchup. R.J. Cole and Tyrese Martin combined to go 13-for-31 from the field. That effort was just a tick below what the tandem averages from the field on the season, but the main issue was that they were the entire offense.
Without Sanogo able to contribute, Isaiah Whaley and Andre Jackson were thrust into more prominent roles, and they did not convert opportunities. It ultimately dragged the team shooting percentage down to 38%, which is far below its effective field goal percentage of 49%.
It’s not just the individual number that supports a bounce-back shooting effort for the Huskies in this one. ShotQuality has the Huskies ninth in the country in its adjusted offensive ratings, which shows that even though shots were not falling in the first matchup, the quality was still great.
Better results should come in this game.
Xavier vs. UConn Betting Pick
The play of Nunge will determine this matchup. In four of Xavier’s eight losses, he has been held under 10 points, and he was its only form of offense in the first meeting with the Huskies.
With that being said, I expect UConn to do everything it can to contain him. Add that to a much better offensive performance, and you have yourself a Huskies win at home.
So, take them to even the series here and build off of this game heading into March.