The Saint Mary’s Gaels take on the UConn Huskies. Our March Madness odds series has our Saint Mary’s UConn prediction and pick. Find out how to watch Saint Mary’s UConn.
This is a delicious matchup in the West Region NCAA Tournament bracket. It’s also a game which just took on even greater importance and national interest for one very obvious reason.
Kansas, the team which won more Quad 1 games than any other in college basketball this season, endured a shocking loss to Arkansas in the second round of the Big Dance on Saturday in Des Moines, Iowa. Kansas led for most of the game, but Arkansas took the contest from KU down the stretch, dethroning the defending national champions. With Kansas out, the Saint Mary’s-UConn winner knows that it will be the higher seed in the Sweet 16 and will have a better chance of making the Elite Eight. Arkansas won’t be an easy opponent, of course, but these teams know that Arkansas is not as overwhelming a challenge as Kansas. That’s part of the backdrop to this game.
In terms of the matchup itself, the details are fascinating. Saint Mary’s has Randy Bennett, the game plan coach who is a master at developing a scheme to foil a formidable opponent. Bennett is regarded as one of the best X-and-O, film-study coaches in the business. UConn has a team which will test Bennett’s skill on the chalkboard.
You saw it on Friday against one group of Gaels from Iona. We’re going to see it on Sunday against another bunch of Gaels from Saint Mary’s. UConn has big, powerful players. The size and length of UConn simply wore down Iona. There was just no answer for all those big bodies in the paint and on the glass. UConn muscled Iona out of the way. Saint Mary’s will have to try to withstand the Huskies’ onslaught. Saint Mary’s has a freshman point guard, Aidan Mahaney, who will have to play a brilliant game and dictate tempo in order for SMC to have a real chance in this contest.
Here are the Saint Mary’s-UConn March Madness odds, courtesy of FanDuel:
March Madness Odds: Saint Mary’s-UConn Odds
Saint Mary’s Gaels: +4.5 (-115)
UConn Huskies: -4.5 (-105)
Over: 127.5 (-110)
Under: 127.5 (-110)
How To Watch Saint Mary’s vs. UConn
Stream: CBSSports.com, March Madness app, fuboTV
Time: 6:10 p.m. ET, 3:10 p.m. PT
*Watch Saint Mary’s-UConn LIVE with fuboTV (Click for free trial)*
Why Saint Mary’s Could Cover The Spread
Randy Bennett in the NCAA Tournament is a coach you don’t want to go against unless you have elite talent. Bennett’s tactical mastery will give Saint Mary’s a winning plan. Some will question whether Aidan Mahaney is up for the moment and can withstand the pressure which will come his way, but people who follow Saint Mary’s basketball will tell you that Mahaney has already achieved considerable, nuanced command of Bennett’s system. It’s not as though Bennett has to cautiously guide Mahaney through halfcourt sequences at this point. Mahaney knows what Bennett wants, and his coach is willing to let Mahaney make choices and reads without having to micromanage. Mahaney is a natural at point guard who can control the flow of the game and get the ball to the right man in the right spot at the right time, neutralizing the effectiveness of UConn’s defense. UConn has overwhelming physical strength, but in basketball, if a team is fundamentally sound and gets to the right spot on the floor before the opponent does, it can win. Saint Mary’s is that team. It can frustrate UConn in the NCAA Tournament.
Why UConn Could Cover The Spread
The Huskies watched Iona play a fabulous first half on Friday. Then UConn delivered a virtually perfect second half in which it did everything right and played the way it was supposed to play. UConn has the dudes. The Huskies are tall, long, powerful, deep, and simply more athletically imposing than Saint Mary’s is. Over 40 minutes, talent and physical prowess will win out.
Final Saint Mary’s-UConn Prediction & Pick
UConn has too many really strong, really tall, really powerful players for Saint Mary’s. Take UConn.
Final Saint Mary’s-UConn Prediction & Pick: UConn -4.5