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The 4-seed UConn Huskies meet the 3-seed Gonzaga Bulldogs Saturday in the West Regional final of the 2023 NCAA Tournament. Tip-off at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas is roughly 8:49 p.m. ET and the winner advances to the Final Four.
Gonzaga upset 2-seed UCLA 79-76 Thursday with a logo 3-pointer from Bulldogs SF Julian Strawther in one of the best games of the tournament.
The Bulldogs beat 6-seed TCU 84-81 in the Round of 32 after smacking 14-seed Grand Canyon 63-51 in the opening round. Gonzaga’s win over TCU featured one of the worst beats or best backdoor covers of the tourney.
UConn beat the brakes off of 8-seed Arkansas 88-65 in the Sweet 16. The Huskies won their 1st three NCAA tourney games by double digits. UConn’s other victims were 13-seed Iona and 5-seed Saint Mary’s.
UConn vs. Gonzaga odds (DraftKings Sportsbook)
Let’s be honest: The major reason Gonzaga advanced past UCLA was due to the Bruins’ injuries. UCLA was missing its two best defensive players C Adem Bona and SF Jaylen Clark.
Bulldogs big Drew Timme feasted on the Bruins’ weakened defense. He scored a game-high 36 points on 16-of-24 shooting. However, Timme won’t dominate UConn like he did UCLA.
From an efficiency stand-point, Huskies big Adama Sanogo is better than Timme. Sanogo has a higher offensive rating and offensive and defensive rebounding rates, per KenPom.com.
Through his 1st three NCAA Tournament games, Sanogo is averaging 23.3 points per game on 75.0% shooting with 9.7 rebounds.
Gonzaga nearly doubled UCLA up in rebounds (50-26). But, UConn is 2nd nationally in offensive rebounding rate (out of 363 programs) and 67th defensively. UCLA is 171st in defensive rebounding rate and 43rd offensively.
The bottom line is the Huskies have more of a championship DNA than the Bulldogs. Title teams are typically in the top-25 for both offensive and defensive efficiency.
Per KenPom.com, UConn is 3rd in adjusted offensive efficiency and 13th defensively. Gonzaga on the other hand is 1st offensively but just 73rd in adjusted defensive efficiency.
My primary concern with backing the Huskies is that the public is also hammering UConn. But, sometimes even us squares win money sports betting.
BET: UConn moneyline (-135) at DraftKings, up to -145 before laying up to -2.5 with the Huskies
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