UConn Eyeing First National Title Since 2014
San Diego State and UConn took completely different paths into Monday’s national championship game.
The Aztecs erased a 14-point deficit in the second half and advanced to the program’s first national title game on Lamont Butler’s buzzer-beating jumper. UConn posted yet another dominant victory as the Huskies never trailed during a 13-point win over Miami.
UConn is a win away from the program’s fifth national title with Dan Hurley attempting to become the third different head coach to lead the Huskies to the top of the men’s basketball mountain.
San Diego State coach Brian Dutcher was on the staff of Michigan’s 1989 title-winning team and looks to cap a remarkable run by the Mountain West champions.
The 7½-point line matches the highest since North Carolina topped Michigan State 89-72 as a 7½-point favorite in 2009. If the line moves to 8, it would be the largest number since UConn was listed as a 9½-point underdog before topping Duke in 1999 for the program’s first national title.
The Aztecs took out Alabama, the tournament’s No. 1 overall seed earlier in the tournament. Can they do it again?
San Diego State is fourth and UConn eighth in adjusted defensive efficiency according to the Pomeroy college basketball ratings database. The big difference is on the other end of the court. The Huskies are third in offensive efficiency and San Diego State comes in at No. 68.
When it comes to the college basketball news, San Diego State’s top nine players have combined to miss just five games this season.
For UConn, sophomore forward Samson Johnson missed much of the regular season. The nine players to average more than 10 minutes per game have combined to miss nine games.
When the season started, San Diego State was ranked 19th in the Associated Press poll and 20th in the coaches’ poll. UConn was among the top four teams in the others receiving votes category in both polls.
In the most recent AP poll, UConn came in 10th and San Diego State is 18th. The Aztecs are 18th in the coaches’ poll with UConn checking in at No. 12.
According to the odds to win March Madness, UConn (-130) was the front-runner in the odds to win the national title going into the Final Four.
Fighting to the End
Recent San Diego State games haven’t lacked for late-game drama.
Darrion Trammell hit the game-deciding free throw with 1.2 seconds to play as the Aztecs topped Creighton to reach the Final Four for the first time. After Johnell Davis missed a contested shot in the lane that would have put Florida Atlantic up by three points with 10 seconds to play, Butler gave the Aztecs their first lead since 7:51 remained in the first half.
Watching this on repeat all night long.#TheTimeIsNow | #MFinalFour pic.twitter.com/wyyqTqGaBO
— San Diego State Men’s Basketball (@Aztec_MBB) April 2, 2023
The good news for San Diego State is that leading scorer Matt Bradley rediscovered his offense with 21 points, three more than he scored in the previous three tournament games.
The Aztecs will need more of that from Bradley heading into the matchup with UConn.
Twelve of San Diego State’s last 13 games finished under the college basketball lines.
UConn Delivering Knockout Punch
The criticism of the 2022-23 UConn team was its struggles to win close games. The Huskies found a way around that by putting things away early on during a dominant run to the title game.
Since the tournament field began to be seeded in 1979, UConn is the eighth team to reach the national championship game by posting all double-digit victories. The 2016 North Carolina squad is the only one to lose in the title game.
UConn had led by at least 10 points in 83% of the minutes played in the second half of the first five tournament games. Miami was within single digits for all of 35 seconds in Saturday’s loss.
Adama Sanogo is 40 minutes away from joining the list of postseason icons for the Huskies. He had a pair of early 3-pointers before dominating inside as he outscored Miami’s Norchad Omier 21-8 and outrebounded him 10-7.
Seven of UConn’s last nine games have gone under the college basketball odds.
San Diego State vs UConn Game Injuries
San Diego State vs UConn Head-to-Head
This is the second meeting between the programs. UConn won 74-67 in the West Regional semifinals in 2011 on the way to one of its four national titles. San Diego State was a two-point favorite in the game with the Aztecs and Huskies combining to go over the 130-point total.
Kemba Walker had 36 points and Jeremy Lamb added 24 for UConn. Kawhi Leonard was one of four San Diego State players to score in double digits as he finished with 12 points, nine rebounds and four assists.
San Diego State vs UConn Information
- Game: San Diego State (32-6) vs UConn (30-8)
- Location: NRG Stadium, Houston, TX
- Day/Time: Monday, April 3, 9:20 p.m. ET
- San Diego State vs UConn Live Stream: TBS.com
San Diego State vs UConn Betting Lines
San Diego State vs UConn Picks & Prediction
Buckle up because elite defensive-minded teams are about to meet up in the national title game.
For as wild as the 2022-23 regular season was, it only seems fitting that the final game of the season features teams seeded fourth and fifth in their respective region.
San Diego State used a timely surge of offensive rebounds to come back and top Florida Atlantic.
That will be harder to go against a UConn team that ranks second nationally in rebounding margin and is seventh in offensive rebounding differential.
Foul shooting is a concern for San Diego State as the Aztecs missed 20 of their 50 free throws over the last three games.
UConn is second among Division I men’s basketball teams with a 26-11-1 record against the spread. San Diego State is 19-16-2. The Aztecs have covered in six of their last seven games.
The Huskies are 29-7 when listed by the sportsbook as the favorite. San Diego State is 3-2 as the underdog.
UConn is 9-1 straight up and against the college basketball odds in neutral site games this season. It is hard to pick against UConn in this one with the way the Huskies have been overwhelming their opponents in the tournament
UConn is listed at -400 in our Las Vegas college basketball lines. This means that if you wager $100 on the Huskies, you have a chance to win $25. San Diego State is +320, offering a chance to win $320 on a $100 wager.
The implied probability attached to the betting lines gives Aztecs a 23.81% chance to win, with the Huskies at 80.00%.
The odds and predictions in the article are based on the time of writing and publication. They may differ as to when the actual event takes place.