After a smaller Monday slate, Tuesday’s college basketball schedule is loaded with intriguing matchups — highlighted by top-25 Big East tilt between No. 8 Villanova and No. 21 UConn. Let’s dive into my college basketball best bets for this contest.
Click on the odds below to place a bet. Continue the discussion in our Discord betting community, as we dissect the biggest games throughout the day. Stay up-to-date on the top-68 programs with my college basketball power rankings.
Villanova Wildcats at Connecticut Huskies
Each program finds itself in the March Madness betting field with ease, but this contest means a bit more to the Huskies after the Wildcats’ 11-point win on Feb. 5 in their first meeting of the season.
In that game, UConn’s frontcourt couldn’t contain Villanova big Eric Dixon, who tallied 24 points and 12 rebounds. But forwards Adama Sanogo and Isaiah Whaley were both in foul trouble within the first five minutes of action, allowing the 6-foot-8 Dixon to find a rhythm early on.
As long as the same storyline doesn’t repeat itself, expect Dan Hurley’s interior defense to bounce back. The Huskies allow extremely low-quality looks when opponents attack the rim and post-up (via ShotQuality), resembling similar traits to a pack-line scheme.
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Whaley, #5, and Sanogo, #21, each boast a top-80 block rate across Division I.
Even though the Wildcats rely on their perimeter shooting, those shots are manufactured by playing inside-out. They’re generating the 46th-highest near-proximity field goal percentage against the average opponent (lay-ups, dunks and tip-ins), according to Haslametrics.
Although Villanova’s Justin Moore — its second-leading scorer (15.5 ppg) — didn’t play the first time around, Sanogo and Whaley are much bigger difference-makers in terms of matching up with one another. Wildcats coach Jay Wright noted that Moore and fellow guard Collin Gillespie are still dealing with ankle injuries. It hasn’t limited their production of late, though.
Moreover, UConn lives off second-chance shots, collecting the third-highest offensive rebounding rate across college basketball. On the flip side, Villanova struggles to clean up that department while notching the Big East’s second-lowest defensive rebounding percentage.
Sanogo, Whaley and even 6-foot-6 guard Tyrese Martin are adept at tracking missed shots off the rim. If the Huskies force the Wildcats’ defense to scramble in the process, they should be efficient enough in the halfcourt while limiting their opponent’s transition looks.
Considering the Huskies closed as a four-point underdog in the first meeting, the market isn’t accounting for their improvement down the stretch. There’s value with Hurley’s crew in a revenge spot. I’m bullish on this team’s long-term prospects too.
- Update: Huskies forward Akok Akok (foot), who’s missed the last six games, is expected to suit up.