Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#837 Saint Mary's vs.
#838 Connecticut (UCONN)
Sunday, March 19, 2023 at 6:10pm EDT
Written by Michael Briggs

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The Saint Mary's Gaels and UConn Huskies will play in the NCAA Tournament round of 32 on Sunday. Tip-off from MVP Arena in Albany is at 6:10 p.m. ET.

Saint Mary's (27-7 SU and 18-13-2 ATS) defeated Virginia Commonwealth in the first round.

Connecticut (26-8 SU and 22-11-1 ATS) beat Iona in the first round.

The Huskies are 3.5-point favorites and the game total is 130 points.

Saint Mary's isn't done yet

The Gaels got to business in the first round, beating a sneaky-talented Virginia Commonwealth squad by 12 points. Saint Mary's outscored VCU by 11 after the halftime break. It also won the battle of the boards 37-29 and collected 11 offensive rebounds. SMU shot 40.8 percent from the field but was off its game from three-point range (3-for-17).

Senior guard Logan Johnson leads Saint Mary's in scoring. He's averaging 14.7 points on 46.0 percent shooting and 4.8 rebounds per game. A few other Gaels to watch are freshman guard Aidan Mahaney (14.5 PPG, 41.2 3PT%), senior guard Alex Ducas (12.5 PPG and 4.2 RPG), and junior center Mitchell Saxen (11.6 PPG and 7.8 RPG).

Saint Mary's scores 71.9 points per game (176th) and shoots 46.1 percent from the field (89th), including 37.2 percent from three (38th). It converts 69.6 percent from the charity stripe (254th) and averages 33.0 rebounds (109th) with a +7.1 rebounding margin. SMU is 40th in adjusted offensive efficiency, 73rd in effective field goal percentage (52.5%), and 359th in adjusted tempo.

The Gaels give up 59.3 points per game (6th), and their opponents shoot 40.7 percent (30th), including 32.0 percent from three-point range (72nd). Saint Mary's is 9th in adjusted defensive efficiency and 77th in assist-per-turnover ratio.

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Is Connecticut bound for the Final Four?

UConn beat Iona 87-63 in Friday's first-round game, outscoring the Gaels 50-24 after trailing 39-37 at the half. Connecticut shot 48.5 percent and held Iona to 38.6 percent. The Huskies boasted a +16 rebounding margin, with 14 offensive rebounds. They recorded 24 assists on 32 made field goals.

Junior forward Adama Sanogo leads Connecticut in scoring. He averages 16.8 points on 59.4 percent shooting and 7.3 rebounds per game. A few other Huskies to watch are sophomore guard Jordan Hawkins (16.1 PPG and 3.9 RPG), senior guard Tristen Newton (10.2 PPG, 4.6 APG, and 4.2 RPG), freshman forward Alex Karaban (9.7 PPG and 4.3 RPG), and freshman center Donovan Clingan (7.1 PPG, 5.7 RPG, 1.8 BPG, and a 64.9 FG%).

UConn scores 79.0 points per game (29th) and shoots 45.9 percent from the field (105th), including 35.6 percent from three-point range (105th). It converts 75.8 percent from the foul line (40th) and averages 36.1 rebounds (12th) with a +9.6 rebounding margin. The Huskies are 6th in adjusted offensive efficiency, 44th in effective field goal percentage (53.5%), and 210th in adjusted tempo.

UConn surrenders 64.8 points per game (43rd), and its opponents shoot 40.8 percent (33rd), including 29.7 percent from deep (14th). The Huskies are 18th in adjusted defensive efficiency and 37th in assist-per-turnover ratio.

Best Bets for this Game

Full-Game Side Bet

Insiders Status:


The Gaels are 0-5 ATS in their last five games following an ATS win and 1-5 ATS in their last six games following a straight-up win.

The Huskies are 7-1 ATS in their last eight games following a straight-up win, 5-1 ATS in their last six games vs. a team with a winning % above .600, and 6-1 ATS in their last seven games overall.

The bet I'm pursuing is UConn -3.5. The Huskies impressed me on Friday, outscoring the Gaels by a wide margin in the second half. They'll own a rebounding advantage again on Sunday, earning extra possessions and holding the slow-paced Gaels to fewer possessions. Sanogo played like a monster on Friday (28 points and 13 boards) and won't be held back by this Gaels squad.

UConn. Sharpie.

Prediction: Huskies -3.5

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Full-Game Total Pick

Insiders Status:


The under is 4-0 in the Huskies' last four games following an ATS win andΒ 8-3 in the Gaels' last 11 NCAA Tournament games.

The Gaels might be as slow as it gets in the NCAA, which they use to their advantage. The Huskies are not as slow-paced, but they're also 210th in adjusted tempo. These are two great defenses, as well. While I expect UConn to own an advantage on the glass, Saint Mary's (+7.1 average rebounding margin) won't get boxed out all game. While Connecticut is the superior offensive club, the margin of victory won't be lopsided without a significant difference in offensive possessions.

I expect a lower-scoring game on Sunday, so I'll place my bets on UConn to cover by four-plus and the total to be under 130 points.

Prediction: Under 130

Written By Michael Briggs , "Michael Briggs"

Mike Briggs is a passionate sports fan and writer, earning his B.A. in Journalism. In 2020, he moved across the country from New Jersey to San Diego to satisfy his lifelong obsession of living near an MLB stadium. As a proud MSU basketball supporter, Mike believes he's learned a lot watching coach Tom Izzo lead the Spartans to Big Ten titles and Final Fours regularly. He's also well-read on the NBA, having a subscription to SLAM magazine, the famed "basketball bible," since he was a teenager. Mike spends his free time strategizing futures bets and researching opportunities to make a few bucks on tonight's game. You can follow Mike on Twitter @BriggsWrites for sports betting, DFS, and stock trading tips.