UConn vs Providence Odds, Picks: Trust Ed Cooley & Co.
Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Ed Cooley (Providence)
UConn vs Providence Odds
-105o / -115u
-105o / -115u
A monster Big East matchup takes place Wednesday night as the defending Big East regular-season champs host this season’s Big East hopefuls.
UConn is also looking to bounce back from its first loss of the season. The Huskies were 14-0 before a late-game collapse against Xavier.
Meanwhile, Providence had a lackluster non-conference season, but is now 4-0 in Big East play.
Talk about a title defense.
It’ll be hard not to bet Dan Hurley off a loss, but it might be harder to fade Ed Cooley catching points.
Maybe there’s another betting angle we can take?
I’m not sure if the Huskies deserved to lose the last game.
Xavier finished with 28 free throws to the Huskies’ nine, and Connecticut missed five. UConn is a very consistent ball-handling team, but Xavier picked off a surprising 11 steals.
Xavier has one of the best home-court advantages in college hoops, and every team has to lose a game. By all accounts, UConn losing a late-game lead through fouls and steals in a tough road environment is an understandable and fixable loss.
Connecticut is so good. Adama Sanogo is a true No. 1 option, while the backcourt of Tristen Newton and Jordan Hawkins is perfect for postseason play. Everyone plays elite defense, and the offense is modernized with how often it runs-and-guns.
There isn’t a team that can sniff Connecticut in this conference, and there are few in the country.
Image Credit: CBB Analytics
This all proves that Hurley knows what he’s doing. It’s been a slow burn since the Shabazz Napier championship, but the guy that took Rhode Island to the second round twice knows what he’s doing.
Bryce Hopkins has been a revelation for Ed Cooley. Not only has he filled the Noah Horchler/Nate Watson hole, but he’s significantly upped the Friars’ ceiling.
Kentucky’s John Calipari could use a guy like Hopkins right now.
Providence is turning into one of my favorite college teams to watch, and Bryce Hopkins is a big reason why.
Deflects the entry pass to the post to come up with the steal. I love Hopkins' motor, active hands and soft touch around the rim. pic.twitter.com/FS9Fta5K2F
— Ersin Demir (@EDemirNBA) January 3, 2023
Jared Bynum continues to produce as the primary ball-handler, dishing out close to five assists per night.
Center Ed Croswell has doubled his minutes from last season and has turned into Providence’s best interior scorer (by TS%) and defender (via EvanMiya’s DBPR).
However, the other big contributors also came from the transfer portal.
Noah Locke is playing above-average 3-and-D basketball out of Louisville, while Devin Carter is playing good on-ball defense out of South Carolina.
Cooley has a proven track record of molding cast-offs and transfers into a competitive team. With how this squad plays, I’m starting to believe last year wasn’t an anomaly.
Providence has now won and covered in five straight games. The Friars are 3-1 in games decided by four points or less.
And the Friars are on top of the Big East.
Repeat Big East champs?
UConn vs. Providence Betting Pick
We should be scared of UConn coming off a loss, right?
I’m not so sure. Coach Hurley has failed to cover in four straight games following SU loss, while being favorites in three of them. He’s not a guy to pick his team up and have them dominate the next opponent.
Remember when the Huskies lost to Villanova in the Big East Tournament? Those Huskies followed up the loss with a first-round NCAA tournament defeat to New Mexico State.
And UConn may be regressing slightly — the Huskies are a top team in the country, but they aren’t 1992 Duke. UConn has failed to cover in three straight games.
Meanwhile, I’m always happy to back Cooley catching points. He’s one of the Big East’s best coaches as an underdog.
Providence isn’t on the same level as UConn from a talent perspective. Still, it should be able to rebound with the Huskies (sixth nationally in OR%) and keep up in the free-throw department (top-30 nationally in free-throw rate and free-throw rate allowed).
Additionally, the Friars are good at stopping the run-and-gun offense (top-40 nationally in both 3-point rate and assist rate allowed), a staple of this year’s Huskies.
I’ll shoot my shot with Providence as a two-possession home underdog, but likely wouldn’t it play it at a much-worse number.