Seton Hall vs. UConn College Basketball Odds & Pick: Bet the Pirates Over Huskies on Saturday
Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Sandro Mamukelashvili.
- Saturday's Big East action opens with Seton Hall taking on UConn.
- UConn has struggled without James Bouknight, which might give value to the Pirates heading into the matchup.
- Kyle Remillard breaks down the game and shares a betting pick below.
Seton Hall vs. UConn Odds
|Seton Hall Odds||-1.5|
|Time | TV||Saturday, 12 p.m. ET | FOX|
UConn welcomes Seton Hall in what will be the Huskies’ first game in 11 days.
It’s been a long season for Dan Hurley and the Huskies, who have had games postponed three separate times this season, most recently due to a referee who tested positive.
More importantly, UConn lost James Bouknight for 4-6 weeks after he had surgery on his elbow. Bouknight was in the conversation of National Player of the Year, as he averaged 20.3 points and 5.3 rebounds per game.
Seton Hall is floating around the middle of the Big East at this point in the season.
After starting out 5-1 in conference play, the Pirates have dropped four of their last six games, all of those losses coming at the hands of Villanova and Creighton.
They have the ability to beat up on the lower teams in the conference but have not shown the ability to make that jump in class when they play the top teams in the Big East.
Adjusting to Life after Bouknight
UConn started the season 5-1, losing only to the Big East leader Creighton, 78-80, in overtime. Bouknight exploded for 40 points in that game, making 13-of-24 field goal attempts.
That production will be missed the next few weeks as he is out indefinitely after receiving surgery on his elbow.
With Bouknight in the lineup, the Huskies went 5-1 and averaged 75.5 points per game. In the five games without him, Connecticut scored just an average of 66.2 points per game.
It’s no surprise that the offense took a hit in production without its star, but the defense has really stepped up in his absence. It’s holding opponents to just 59.8 points per game and has increased its steals per game from 5.83 to 8.80.
Tyrese Martin has emerged as the go-to-scorer for UConn. Through six games, he was averaging just 6.8 points per game, but over the last five games, that number has jumped to 15.6.
Defensively, he averaged 0.3 steals per game, and that number increased to 2.6 over the last five games.
Seton Hall is 10-8 overall and 7-5 in the Big East, which has it fifth in the conference just behind UConn. The Pirates were 21-9 last year but have had to adjust to life without Myles Powell, who graduated after averaging 21.0 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 2.9 assists last year.
When Seton Hall Has the Ball
The torch has been passed to 6-foot-11 forward Sandro Mamukelashvili, who averages 17.7 points, 7.1 rebounds, and 3.2 assists per game this year. Mamukelashvili has been named one of the top-10 candidates for the 2021 Karl Malone Award, given to the top power forward in the nation.
Seton Hall bounced back with a 60-43 win over Providence after dropping three Big East matchups in a row to Villanova and Creighton.
This Pirates offense is one of the most efficient in the country, according to KenPom, averaging 113.5 points per every 100 possessions, which ranks 19th in the country. They get to the free-throw line in conference play more than any other Big East Team and make 78.1% of those attempts.
Connecticut has shifted its style of play, attempting to win games on the defensive end of the court.
In conference games this season, the Huskies own the No. 1 defensive efficiency, allowing just 93.9 points on every 100 possessions.
In Big East play, they have turned opponents over more than any other team and rank second in opponent field goal percentage (KenPom). They play with a slow tempo and will want to stick to that strategy to slow down the efficiency of the Pirates offense.
Seton Hall will look to pound the ball inside to the strength of its offense. The Pirates make 53.8% of their 2-point field goal attempts and get to the free-throw line often.
Connecticut is strong at defending outside shooting, which won’t help the lousy 33.0% clip that the Pirates convert at.
Betting Analysis & Pick
Seton Hall has adjusted to life after Powell and has asserted itself as a contender in the Big East this year.
The Pirates hung with both Creighton and Villanova before losing two close games and I believe Seton Hall is a better team than their record indicates.
The worst is yet to come for this Connecticut team, which doesn’t have many weapons offensively after Bouknight. It has nine tough games remaining and will continue to struggle to score the basketball down the stretch.
I am backing Seton Hall as a road underdog in a game that I anticipate Connecticut to struggle in keeping up with Mamukelashvili.
Pick: Seton Hall +2.5 (down to Pick).