National Title Game Betting Matchup

Nearly six months of non-stop action comes down to this: the Purdue Boilermakers, seeking their first-ever National Title, will take on the UConn Huskies, seeking their sixth National Title and second in a row. Buckle up and let’s analyze this great matchup.

  1. UConn (-6.5) - The Huskies are undefeated at home and neutral sites over the last two seasons heading into Monday night’s matchup. They are also undefeated in Championship games at 5-0. They have size, they have depth, and they have swagger. Head coach Danny Hurley has put together a winning foundation in UConn that survived the turnover of four starters from last year’s championship squad. They have yet to win a game by less than double-digits in the tournament. Can they be stopped?

  1. Purdue (+6.5) - Purdue is by no means a pushover heading into this title game. They have a school-record 34 wins this season. The Boilermakers have only won one of their tournament games by less than double-digits. They have the two-time NOP in Zach Edey and they are now 17-3 vs. tournament teams this season. Can the Boilermakers finish their redemption story?

Let’s break down these two teams in several categories to help you better prepare for tonight’s matchup.

Coaching- Dan Hurley gets and certainly deserves all the accolades that have come thanks to this amazing two-year run at the helm of the Huskies. They have been dominant in the tournament through the last 11 games and he has seamlessly transitioned his team back into the title game this season after losing a huge chunk of his core group last year.

Purdue head coach Matt Painter doesn’t have to take a backseat to anyone. While he is in his first Final Four, Painter has been one of the best coaches in the Big Ten for nearly two decades. He has built his offense around Edey and will try to ride the big man to a National Title.

Edge - UConn

Starting Five - UConn revamped its starting five this year through the transfer portal and a stud freshman in Stephon Castle. The key to this game lies in Castle. The Boilermakers don’t have a player at his level on the wing and if Castle gets going, it could be a long night for the Boilermakers.

Purdue runs everything through Edey which explains why he is the first player to to score over 20 points with 10+ rebounds in six straight tournament games in over 50 years. The key for the Boilermakers will be point guard Braden Smith. He looked sluggish against NC State and bothered by the full court pressure. If he is on his game, the floor opens up for the rest of Purdue.

Edge - UConn

Bench - UConn’s bench has been steady if not spectacular in the tournament. The two critical players in this game will be Hassan Diarra and Samson Johnson. Diarra can score but, more importantly, can serve as a critical defensive stopper for either Smith or Fletcher Loyer should he start getting hot from long range. Johnson gives UConn what few other teams possess, another capable big of at least bothering Edey in the post.

Purdue’s bench is manned primarily by Mason Gillis. Gillis won the Big Ten Sixth Man of the Year Award and gives the Boilermakers another board crasher and a capable 3-point shooter. Be wary, however, that Gillis is very streaky from beyond the arc. If he’s hot, the Boilermakers could roll but if he’s cold, it could be a long night for Purdue.

Edge: UConn

X-Factor/Intangibles - This is an interesting category that I morphed into one. Edey is the x-factor in the game but his place may be determined by the intangibles. UConn has been in this spot before. While the Huskies lost several pieces from last year’s team, they still have three players in their rotation who were critical to last year’s championship season. As the tournament has gone deeper, Purdue has relied more and more heavily on Edey and that could be an issue here with Clingan’s size and ability to give Edey his first fair fight in the tournament.

I hate to bring in destiny in such a big game but it is staring everyone in the face. Purdue has looked like a team on a mission this season after losing to Fairleigh Dickinson in round one of the tournament last year. They have ignored all the critics, relied heavily on Edey, and cruised to the title game winning by an average margin of nearly 20 points. UConn, meanwhile, has been on a mission of their own this season. With three players returning from last year’s rotation, the Huskies look better than ever. They have won their tournament games by an average of over 25 points per game and are on the cusp of being looked at as one of the best teams of all time should they capture a second straight National Title.

Edge - Even

Things to Consider Before Placing your Bet - Can Zach Edey do it one more time? Not since the 1988 Kansas Jayhawks with Danny Manning or the 1979 Indiana State Sycamores with Larry Bird has one team relied so heavily on a single player. The Jayhawks won the National Title because, in the end, the ‘others’ stepped up and helped him deliver a National Title to Kansas. The Sycamores failed in the final game because Bird didn’t get that same support. Can the others, particularly Braden Smith, come through in this game? If so, it could be Purdue’s time.

Can Donovan Clingan prove to be nearly Edey’s equal? Watch these games closely and you’ll see that Clingan is not far behind Edey without being asked to do as much. His footwork around the basket is exceptional for a 7”2’ giant. He protects the rim arguably better than Edey and he can take over a game defensively as well as any big in the country. This may very well be Clingan’s last collegiate game and he can etch his place in College Basketball history with two titles in two seasons at UConn.

Can Danny Hurley take his place among the coaching greats? Matt Painter’s legacy was secured when he finally pushed his team to the Final Four. He will likely be able to retire when he wants at Purdue thanks to this appearance and will be a campus legend. He is not, however, in a position to become an all-time great. Danny Hurley, however, is in that conversation. Should Hurley lead his team to a second straight National Title, he will at least find himself in the conversations with the all-time greats of college basketball coaches and can write his ticket. Hurley can stay at UConn and potentially build a dynasty with players lining up wanting to play for a coach with his pedigree or he could eventually take his turn at the NBA and try to conquer the pro game. Tonight’s game could truly be a game-changer for Hurley.

Edge - College Basketball Fans who get to witness history tonight, so sit back and enjoy what is shaping up to be one of the more legendary matchups of the past 25 years in College Basketball.

  • In parenthesis, the odds to win the National Title in 2024. All odds Courtesy of

By Mark Ruelle

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Mark Ruelle

Mark has been a sports fanatic since childhood. He is also an avid follower of sports analytics and has used it in his own betting analysis for over two decades. Now we have Mark on our team here at Stat Salt. He holds degrees in marketing, broadcasting, and English and uses this vast array of assets to dissect and analyze game matchups. Mark will provide you with a wide variety of statistics to consider and a strong opinion in each matchup that he covers. Please follow him daily for an up-to-the-minute analysis of all the important games.