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Tonight at NRG Stadium in Houston, the UConn Huskies (30-8, 26-11-1 ATS) and San Diego State Aztecs (32-6, 19-16-2 ATS) will meet for the 2023 NCAA Tournament championship. Kickoff is scheduled for 9:20 p.m. ET
UConn advanced to the title game as the No. 4 seed in the West Region, while SDSU was No. 5 in the South.
UConn vs San Diego State Odds
|san diego state||+7.5 (-110)||+320||OR 132.5 (-110)|
|University of Connecticut||-7.5 (-110)||-390||U 132.5 (-110)|
The odds for Monday’s national championship game are heavily weighted toward the Huskies. After opens briefly as 5.5 point chalk, UConn was immediately pushed down to -7.5. What started out as a -230 money line has shrunk to -390 at DraftKings, giving UConn a 79.6 percent implied win probability.
If that spread seems big for a title game, it is. Assuming the line closes at 7.5, that’ll match the largest margin for a national championship game since 1999, when Duke was a 9.5-point favorite over, coincidentally, UConn.
The over/under has also seen a lot of movement since Saturday night. The initial game total of 135.5 has been wagered up to 132.5.
Interestingly, while the spread is 7.5 across the board, there are significant variations in the money line from one sportsbook to another. DraftKings is the lowest at UConn (-390/+320), while FanDuel has the most optimistic odds for SDSU, with a -345/+270 money line in favor of UConn.
Can UConn be slowed down?
Don’t be fooled by the numbers next to the names. UConn is not your ordinary No. 4 seed. The Huskies entered the 2023 NCAA Tournament ranked in the top five in the KenPom, Torvik, and Haslametrics. After their dominating run to the title game, they became the best team in the country on all three review sites.
UConn is 5-0 against the spread in the NCAA Tournament, and the Huskies’ sponsors haven’t had to break a sweat. None of UConn’s first five March Madness opponents could keep the margin in single digits. They passed No. 13 Iona (87-63) as 9.5-point favorites, No. 5 Saint Mary’s (70-55) as 3.5-point favorites, No. 8 Arkansas (88-65) as 3.5-point favorites, No. 3 Gonzaga (82-54) as 2.5-point favorites, and No. 5 Miami (72-59) as 7.5-point favorites.
Gonzaga’s outright demolition seems to have served as a wake-up call for punters.
UConn now has the second best coverage percentage in Division I this season (70.3).
As they have all season, forward Adama Sanogo (17.2 PPG) and guard Jordan Hawkins (16.2 PPG) led the offense in each win. One of the two scored at least 20 points in every NCAA Tournament game. Sanogo is averaging just over 20 points per game in the tournament (20.2, plus 9.8 RPG) while Hawkins is at 16.4.
San Diego State’s date with Destiny?
SDSU’s run to the national championship has bore little resemblance to UConn’s. Slow and defensive first, the Aztecs only won one of their first five games by double digits and needed a pair of one-point victories in the Elite Eight and Final Four to get to this point.
Their path through the South Regional included wins over No. 12 Charleston (63-57 as a 5.5-point favorite), No. 13 Furman (75-52 as a 4.5-point favorite), No. 1 Alabama (71 -64 as 6.5-point underdogs), No. 6 Creighton (57-56 as 2.5-point underdogs) and No. 9 Florida Atlantic (72-71 as 2.5-point favorites).
Lamont Butler’s buzzer-beater in the Final Four instantly entered March Madness lore.
The Aztecs’ offense only ranks 68th in overall efficiency at KenPom (compared to UConn at 8th) and they don’t have a single player averaging more than 12.7 points per game (Matt Bradley).
His performances in the first half of the two most recent games were cause for concern. San Diego State trailed Creighton by five at halftime and FAU by seven, but he showed considerable physical and mental strength to bounce back in both games.