Sixty-eight teams entered the field, and now only two remain. Weeks of buzzer-beaters, cinderella runs, and upsets all come down to this final match-up between the San Diego State Aztecs and the UCONN Huskies. It’s time to continue our March Madness odds series with a San Diego State-UCONN prediction, pick, and how-to-watch.
For the second straight game, the Aztecs score with under a second remaining to give them the win. This time, the Aztecs came back from 14 points down against FAU and took their first lead since being up 24-23 with 7:51 left in the first half. The lead was on the final play of the game though, with a buzzer-beater by Lamont Butler to win the game.
UCONN got here in the same fashion they have been doing all tournament, they dominated. Miami had the game tied at 19 with 8:23 left in the first, but that was as close as they would get. Miami never once held the lead and only tied that one time past the start of the game.
Here are the San Diego State-UCONN March Madness odds, courtesy of FanDuel.
March Madness Odds: San Diego State-UCONN Odds
San Diego State: +7.5 (-118)
UCONN: -7.5 (-104)
Over: 132.5 (-110)
Under: 132.5 (-110)
How To Watch San Diego State vs. UCONN
Stream: March Madness App
Time: 9:20 PM ET/ 6:20 PM PT
*Watch college basketball LIVE with fuboTV (click for a free trial)*
Why San Diego State Could Cover The Spread
San Diego State has joined some rarified air with their recent performances. They are the third-ever team to win back-to-back games in the tournament by a single point (1981 Saint Joseph’s and 2018 Loyola Chicago). They are the second-ever team to back-to-back games in the tournament in the final two seconds. The last team to do that was in 2011 with Butler. All three teams have one thing in common, none of them won it all. Even more strange, the 2011 Butler team saw their run come to an end in the National Championship game, against UCONN.
San Diego State has shown they can win close games, going 10-1 in games this year decided by five or fewer points. They also play a style of basketball that lends to close games. The play sound, grind it out defense. The Aztecs are ranked fourth in KenPoms adjusted defensive efficiency, and love to make the game defensive oriented. They also love to play at a slow pace. They are 270th in adjusted tempo according to KenPom. Also in their favor, UCONN is 214th, so this will not be a fast-paced game.
One major concern will be the three ball. In the two games before the Final Four, the Aztecs dominated teams on them trying to shoot the three. FAU exposed that though, shooting 40.9% from three. UCONN was 28th in the nation in three-point attempts made per game. If the Aztecs want to keep this close, they need to return to dominating the three-point arc. They also need to repeat what they have done on the glass. They barely lost the rebounding battle to Alabama, who is 7th in rebound differential per game, then beat FAU, who is 17th. UCONN is 2nd, so if they can keep the rebound battle close, they will be in this game late.
Why UCONN Could Cover The Spread
Since 2002, only once has the winner of the NCAA tournament not been a three-seed or better. The team to buck that trend was, the 2014 UCONN. Also since 2002, all but one team has been in the top 25 in adjusted offensive efficiency, and all have been inside the top 50 in adjusted defensive efficiency. Entering the tournament, only eight teams fit that criterion. One of them was UCONN. UCONN is third in adjusted offensive efficiency and eighth in adjusted defensive efficiency. To give context, this will be the second-best defense San Diego State has faced and the best offense. Alabama was the second-best offense and best defense.
San Diego State was able to shut down Alabama, but UCONN is better on the three balls and also does not force the pace as Alabama does. San Diego State has not played this level of defense before. This defense just shut down Miami, who is 6th in adjusted offensive efficiency. They held Miami to 32.3% from the field and dominated the glass against them. Miami could not even get close.
The formula for UCONN will be simple, do what they have been doing. San Diego State has been shutting down the three and keeping the rebound battle close. If UCONN can shoot the three at a good pace and win the rebounding battle as they have been, they will be cutting down the nets.
Final San Diego State-UCONN Prediction & Pick
San Diego State is winning close games, and showing they can make a comeback. They have done it with sound defense and a grind-it-out style of play. UCONN has been just dominating teams. The games have not been close at all. The last time UCONN did not have the lead was 25-24 against Gonzaga with 5:18 left in the first half of the Elite Eight. The biggest deficit they have faced all tournament was 8, against Saint Mary’s at the 13:17 mark of the first half in that game. Saint Mary’s and Iona are the only two teams to have a second-half lead on UCONN this tournament as well. The end games have not been close, and this one will not be either.
Final San Diego State-UCONN Prediction & Pick: UCONN -7.5 (-104)
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