March 19 update: Here are the updated bet splits for No. 7 UConn vs. No. 10 Maryland as of March 19th at 11 a.m. from DraftKings Sportsbook:
UConn: -3: 69% of action, 59% of bets
Maryland: +3: 31% of action, 41% of bets
Over 130: 64% of action, 79% of bets
Under 130: 36% of action, 22% of bets
Update March 17: Here are the updated bet splits for UConn vs. Maryland as of March 18th at 10:00 a.m. from DraftKings Sportsbook:
UConn -3: 72% of handle, 61% of bets
Maryland +3: 28% of handle, 39% of bets
Over 130: 61% of handle, 77% of bets
Under 130: 39% of handle, 23% of bets
The UConn Huskies will enter the NCAA Tournament as the No. 7 seed and are set to take on the 10th-seeded Maryland Terrapins in the first round on Saturday, March 20th. Connecticut is slight favorites heading into this game, but oddsmakers expect this one to go down to the final few minutes. The game will tip off at 7:10 p.m. ET from Mackey Arena and can be seen on CBS.
No. 7 UConn: 15-7 (11-6 Big East): At-large
KenPom rating: 16 Overall, 24 Offense, 25 Defense
NET ranking: 30, (4-4 VS Quad 1)
Leading scorer: James Bouknight
Key stat: UConn led the Big East with 5.3 blocked shots per game.
UConn went through much of the middle part of their season without their best player James Bouknight, but he has returned and the Huskies are back at full strength. Connecticut plays very good defense, allowing the fewest points per game in the Big East at 64.6.
Watch for UConn’s to two rebounders Tyrese Martin and Isaiah Whaley to clean up on the glass because Maryland averaged the least offensive rebounds per game in the Big Ten this season.
No. 10 Maryland: 16-13 (9-11 Big Ten): At-large
KenPom rating: 31 Overall, 42 Offense, 27 Defense
NET ranking: 35 (4-10 VS Quad 1)
Leading scorer: Eric Ayala
Key stat: Maryland scored 68.8 points per game this season, the fewest among Big Ten teams.
Maryland is led by what they can do on the defensive end. Though they score the fewest amount of points in the conference, the Terrapins rank No. 2 in the Big Ten in field goal percentage allowed. The Terps likely won’t see a whole lot of second chance points, so they will need to shoot a high percentage from the floor to advance.
Watch for Maryland to slow this game down as much as possible, which they do already ranking No. 335 in possessions per game. The Terrapins don’t have a player as good as Bouknight, so limiting possessions could be important.
Spread: UConn -3
Moneyline: UConn -157, Maryland +133
Against The Spread Pick: UConn -3
Point total pick: Under 130
Pick to Win: UConn
Maryland plays at about as slow of a pace in the country, and UConn hasn’t sped things up all that much either this season, making the under a solid play here. The Huskies are a much better team with Bouknight back in the lineup, and they are 6-2 in the eight games he’s been back. He struggled shooting the ball in a Big East Tournament loss against Creighton, but he’ll lead UConn to covering this spread in Round 1 against a Maryland team that will be unable to keep up offensively.