The UConn Huskies look to punch their ticket back to the Final Four of the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2014 when they take on the Gonzaga Bulldogs on Saturday in West Region Elite Eight action.
|Over / Under||o +153.5|
|Over / Under||u +153.5|
The No. 4-seeded Huskies turned in yet another dominating performance in Sweet Sixteen action on Thursday night, thrashing the Arkansas Razorbacks 88-65, and have now claimed victory by an average margin of 20.7 points through their first three games at this year’s edition of March Madness. Pegged as the three-seed in the West, the Bulldogs survived a ferocious back-and-forth battle with UCLA on Thursday night before escaping with 79-76 victory to extend their current straight up win streak to 12 games.
In the wake of their demolition of the overmatched Razorbacks, the Huskies have emerged as 2-point favourites on the college basketball odds for Saturday’s contest. The Bulldogs lag as +109 moneyline underdogs while the total is pegged at 153.5.
Connecticut vs. Gonzaga Elite Eight Point Spread and Betting
Saturday night’s matchup at T-Mobile Arena marks the first meeting between these teams since November 2015, and their first date at March Madness since UConn’s 67-62 victory over the Zags in the Elite Eight in 1999, on their way to a national championship win that year. Overall, the Huskies have taken three of five from Gonzaga. However, the Zags have gone 3-1-1 against the spread over that stretch, and covering in each of their past three against UCONN as betting underdogs.
The Huskies are undefeated in each of their past three Elite Eight appearances, going on to the win the national championship two times over that stretch. The Bulldogs return to the Elite Eight for the fifth time in eight years, but have gone a middling 2-2 over their previous four appearances.
Connecticut Huskies (4)
The Connecticut Huskies have steadily gained momentum with each passing game at this year’s edition of the Big Dance. The Huskies have built their march to the Elite Eight on dominating performances after halftime. The team found themselves in close one-possession battles at the half before embarking on torrid runs after the break in their opening-weekend dates with Iona and Saint Mary’s. However, there was no such slow start in Thursday’s clash with Arkansas, with the Huskies holding the upper hand over the Razorbacks on both sides of the ball. UConn limited the Razorbacks to just 31.3 per cent field goal efficiency and outpaced them in rebounds by a massive 43-31 margin on their way to their ninth win in 10 games.
Jordan Hawkins embraced greater responsibilities in Thursday’s win, topping 20 points for the first time in six games with a game-high 24 points. In addition, four of the team’s starters recorded at least six rebounds, led by Adama Sanogo, who tallied eight, and has now averaged 10 boards over his past four games.
Gonzaga Bulldogs (3)
Another slow start forced the Bulldogs to embark on an epic comeback attempt after halftime on Thursday night. For the second time in as many contests, the Zags spotted their opponents an early advantage, as UCLA took a 13-point lead to the room at the half. However, the vaunted Gonzaga attack steadily chipped away at that advantage, with the Bulldogs actually grabbing a 10-point lead in the late stages before ending the game in nail-biting fashion.
The duo of Drew Timme and Julian Strawther led the team’s second-half surge. Strawther racked up 13 of his 16 points after the break, and sealed the win by scoring the Zags’ final four points. Timme racked up a game-high 36 points to further establish himself as one of the most dominant offensive players at the Big Dance in recent memory. However, can this team turn in the full 40-minute performance they will need to book their ticket back to the Final Four for the second time in three years?