UConn takes on Arkansas on Thursday, March 23 at 7:15 p.m. ET on CBS in the West Regional semifinal. The fourth-seeded Huskies are spread favorites in March Madness odds, with the 8-seed Razorbacks to win the game on the moneyline. The point total for UConn Sweet 16 odds is set at .
In this article, we’ll dissect everything you need to know before placing a bet on these Sweet 16 odds, including team matchups, key metrics, and the best available odds.
UConn Sweet 16 Odds vs. Arkansas
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UConn vs. Arkansas Matchups
Offense vs. Defense Stats
For a look at the numbers when each team possesses the ball, plus more betting insights and key player notes, head to our March Madness stats post for this game.
Will Hogs Mitigate Huskies’ Size Edge?
In UConn’s first two NCAA tournament matchups, Huskies coach Dan Hurley observed his bruising frontcourt dictate the script. For one, the 6-foot-9, 245-pound Adama Sanogo tallied 26 points and 10.5 boards per game. Meanwhile, 7-foot-2 freshman Donovan Clingan chipped in as a rim protector (2.5 bpg) and rim runner. Collectively, UConn finished plus-25 on the glass in Albany, N.Y.
Arkansas certainly owns its fair share of length, boasting the 14th-tallest roster nationally — with Kamani Johnson and the Mitchell twins (mainly Makhi) leading the way. But the Huskies are a different beast, as previously noted, delivering the second-highest offensive rebounding percentage and top-25 block rate, respectively, in D-I.
If UConn winds up dictating the pace, minimizing Arkansas’ fast-break opportunities as a result, it’ll likely move onto the Elite Eight. Mind you, the Hogs possess the 10th-rated ShotQuality transition attack — juxtaposed to their below-average half-court efficiency.
However, Eric Musselman’s pressure defense could disrupt that plot. Devo Davis, paired with five-star freshmen Anthony Black and Jordan Walsh, represent three of the premier ballhawks left in the dance. Neither Saint Mary’s nor Iona exploited the Huskies’ turnover concerns — or at least to the degree that’s required to enforce its preferred tempo throughout.
As well as primary ball-handlers Tristan Newton and Andre Jackson have performed of late, their turnover rates are each at least 22.0% (suboptimal). Should the Hogs accrue enough takeaways, their rim-oriented offense will inevitably produce a higher free-throw rate against the foul-prone Huskies. Otherwise, Sanogo, Clingan, and the hyper-athletic Jackson will be around to protect the paint.
Their own transition attack, especially 3-point marksman Jordan Hawkins (37.8%), will reap the benefits in the process.
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The Unknown Variable
Both Nick Smith, Jr., another one of Musselman’s highly-touted freshmen, and Black are projected lottery picks. The notion that Arkansas would advance to a Sweet 16, without Smith making a dent on the stat sheet, is almost unthinkable. He’s shooting a combined 2-of-14 (14.3%) from the field over the first two games.
Before the tournament tipped off, Smith was averaging 14.1 points per game after returning to a full workload on Feb. 18. A knee injury hampered much of his freshman campaign, yet his scoring prowess is undeniable.
Davis and fellow veteran Ricky Council IV have done their part to make up for Smith’s inefficiencies. The two combined for 46 points in the second-round upset win against Kansas. Nevertheless, the Hogs will need Smith to contribute at least an ounce of productivity to continue on their Final Four push.
Don’t forget, Arkansas possessed the fifth-shortest preseason national title odds. If Smith appears more engaged, these Razorbacks may live up to that market rating after all.
UConn vs. Arkansas Player Props
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