Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#6901 Connecticut (UCONN) vs.
#6902 Michigan State
Thursday, November 25, 2021 at 12:00pm EST
Written by Chris King

It’s a semifinal matchup of the Battle 4 Atlantis on the college hardwood when the Big East takes the floor against the Big Ten in an island paradise. The #22 UConn Huskies are the “road” team as they make the trip to face the Michigan State Spartans Thursday afternoon. UConn survived a wild 115-109 double overtime win over #19 Auburn in their first-round matchup Wednesday afternoon. Michigan State edged Loyola Chicago 63-61 in their first-round clash Wednesday afternoon. The Huskies own a 4-3 advantage in the head-to-head series between the teams though it was the Spartans rolling to a 77-57 win at the Memorial Coliseum in Portland, Oregon on November 25, 2017 in the most recent meeting.

UConn Huskies Having to Battle Fatigue After Double-OT Thriller

UConn went to the wire and beyond as it took two overtimes before a winner was decided in their first-round clash with #19 Auburn. The Huskies ran their record to 5-0 on the season as they managed to get past the Tigers after letting a lead slip away. Against Auburn, UConn led by 11 at the half and held a 15-point edge with 11 minutes to play before seeing the Tigers rally to tie the game at 83 at the end of regulation. In the first overtime, the Huskies led by four with 21 seconds to go but ended up seeing the Tigers knot things up again. The second overtime saw UConn take control with a 9-0 run to go up 109-100 and they managed to hold on for the victory. UConn shot 49.3% from the field, including 15 of 26 from three-point range, and won the rebounding battle 48-35 in the game. Adama Sanogo led the Huskies with 30 points and six rebounds in the win.

The Huskies are stellar on the offensive end of the floor as they put up an average of 92 points per game, putting them 2nd in the nation in scoring offense. Connecticut is grabbing 40.8 boards a night while they are dishing out 18 assists a night. The Huskies are sparkling on the defensive end, ranking 5th by allowing 51.3 points a night. Adama Sanogo leads the team with 18.6 points plus 6.2 rebounds per contest this season. Tyrese Martin (13.4 points, 6.8 rebounds), R.J. Cole (13.6 points, 4.8 assists), Tyler Polley (12.8 points) and Jalen Gaffney (10.7 points) are good secondary scoring options. Andre Jackson, Jordan Hawkins, Akok Akok, Isaiah Whaley, Samson Johnson, Richie Springs and Rahsool Diggins are critical pieces of the rotation for Dan Hurley and the Huskies. Connecticut is shooting 50.2% from the field as a team this season. The Huskies average 8.3 three-pointers a game while shooting 39.3% from three-point range. Connecticut has knocked down 73.6% of their attempts at the charity stripe this season.

Michigan State Spartans Look to Reach Title Game

Michigan State went to the wire and escaped with a narrow victory over Loyola Chicago in their first-round matchup. The Spartans improved to 4-1 as they strung together a fourth straight win after opening the season with a loss to Kansas. Against Loyola Chicago, Michigan State led 9-0 early only to trail by five at the half. The Spartans trailed by as many as nine in the opening minute of the second half before making their comeback. Michigan State scored the winning bucket on a dunk by Marcus Bingham Jr. with five seconds to play and hung on for the victory. The Spartans shot 46.2% from the field, including six of 14 from three-point range, and held Loyola Chicago to 37.3% shooting to offset 20 turnovers. Malik Hall led Michigan State with 24 points and seven rebounds in the win.

The Spartans enter this contest 117th in the nation in scoring offense with 76.6 points per game on the season. Michigan State is 29th in the nation in rebounding (39.6 rebounds per game) and 102nd in assists with 14.6 dimes per game. The Spartans are an above average team defensively as they are 67th in scoring defense by allowing 61 points per game on the year. Gabe Brown leads the team with 13 points plus 3.2 boards a night this season. Marcus Bingham Jr. (12.4 points, 8.4 rebounds) and Malik Hall (11.6 points) are scoring in double figures as well. Max Christie, A.J. Hoggard, Julius Marble II, Joey Hauser, Tyson Walker, Jaden Akins and Mady Sissoko are key contributors for coach Tom Izzo. Michigan State shoots 47% from the field as a team this season. The Spartans knock down an average of 5.8 three-point field goals on the year while shooting 30.9% from beyond the arc. Michigan State is mediocre at the charity stripe as they shoot 71.8% from the free throw line on the year.

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Full-Game Side Bet

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This one is going to be a clash between a pair of bluebloods in the college basketball realm. UConn is going to be dealing with a fatigue factor after playing double overtime against Auburn. Cole played 47 minutes while Whaley played 44, Sanogo logged 37, Polley 32 and Martin 31 in the game. That could be tough for the Huskies, who saw Jackson foul out in 20 minutes. He was one of three UConn players to foul out in the contest. Michigan State was stout defensively and managed to come up with the win over Loyola Chicago in the opening round. With that said, we saw the Spartans lose to their only ranked foe of the year in Kansas. Look for UConn to shrug off the fatigue and come up with the victory in this contest.

Prediction: UConn Huskies to cover

Full-Game Total Pick

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We saw two different styles of contests in the opening game of the tournament for these teams. UConn was in a high-scoring affair that required an additional 10 minutes of action to finally crown a winner. Meanwhile, Michigan State was in a defensive struggle that went to the final seconds of regulation. UConn saw a total of 224 points in their win over Auburn and has seen the total hit in three of their five games this season. Michigan State saw a combined 124 points in their win over Loyola Chicago and the under has hit in three of their five games. Both offenses are capable of putting up big point totals: look for this one to wind up over the mark.

Prediction: Over
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Written By Chris King , "Chris King"

Chris King has been immersed in the world of professional and collegiate sports for more than three decades. Whether it's playing pickup games or being involved in organized sports to being a fan, he's checked all the boxes. From the NFL to arena football, the NHL to the KHL, the NBA to the WNBA to college hoops, and even MLB to the KBO.  If it's out there, he's covered it and bet on it as well, as Chris has been an expert bettor in his career.  Before joining Winners and Whiners back in 2015, his work appeared around the internet and in print. He's written books for Ruckus Books about college basketball, the NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL, golf, and the World Cup. If you're looking for the inside track on hitting a winner, do yourself a favor and read what Chris has to say.