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Final Four Early Look: UConn, Purdue on Collision Course?

The debate on whether Purdue or reigning national champion UConn is worthy of being the top-ranked team in the country could be decided on the court.

The college basketball betting lines list UConn as a 12-point favorite against Alabama and Purdue is favored by nine points against North Carolina State in the national semifinals on Saturday at State Farm Stadium in Phoenix.

Final Four Early Look: UConn, Purdue on Collision Course?
Tristen Newton #2 of the Connecticut Huskies/Elsa/Getty Images/AFP

When looking at the odds of winning March Madness, UConn is priced at -210 to win the national title followed by Purdue at +195. Alabama and North Carolina State are well back at +1600 and +1800 in the NCAAM Championship odds.

Purdue was third behind Kansas and Duke at +1200 in the odds of winning the national title when the 2023-24 season got underway. UConn was sixth at +1600 as the Huskies looked to become the first back-to-back NCAA Division I men’s basketball champion since the 2006-07 Florida teams. Alabama was tied for 10th at +2500 in the championship odds with North Carolina State well back at +15000.

Here’s an early look at the four teams left in the quest for the 2024 Division I men’s national title with more coverage and NCAAB predictions coming up this week on BetUS.

 

Can Anybody Challenge UConn?

It looked like top-seeded UConn might have to break a sweat when Illinois tied the game at 23 with 1:51 left in the first half in the East Region final on Saturday.

A Hassan Diarra 3-pointer and a pair of Tristen Newton foul shots gave the Huskies a five-point lead at halftime. That set the stage for one of the best stretches of basketball in the proud history of the UConn program.

UConn would score the first 25 points of the second half to go up by 30 points. Donovan Clingan, a 7-foot-2 sophomore center, had nine points, four rebounds, a steal and two blocks during that run.

 


UConn cruised to a 77-52 win for yet another double-digit point victory.

 

Purdue’s Edey Eyeing Special Finish

It remains to be seen what sort of impact that Purdue’s 7-foot-4 Zach Edey will have at the next level, but it is hard to overstate what he is doing in his final collegiate season.

Edey had 14 straight points at one point as he finished with 40 points, 16 rebounds and one emphatic blocked shot on Tennessee star Dalton Knecht in Purdue’s 72-66 win.

Edey is averaging 30 points on 66% shooting and 16.3 rebounds in the first four games in the March Madness bracket. He has been delivering on the court and has been a favorite for those taking part in the college basketball player props.

 

 

Alabama Shooting its Way to the Final Four

It is pretty hard to find a team that has made a run at the national title without a productive guard leading the way.

Senior Mark Sears, in his second season at Alabama after playing his first two seasons at Ohio, has topped 20 points in three of the four NCAA Tournament games to lead Alabama into its first Final Four.

Sears has 17 3-pointers in the tournament and he is averaging 24.3 points in the NCAA tourney. He has had to hit some clutch shots as the Crimson Tide topped top-seeded North Carolina by two points and edged Clemson by seven.

Alabama is the top-scoring team in the country and the Crimson Tide are putting up 89.8 points per game in the tournament.

 

 

Deja Vu All Over Again

When North Carolina State won the 1983 national title after needing to win the ACC tournament just to get into the field, it was fair to wonder if that would ever happen again.

Well, history is repeating.

NC State had to upset Duke, Virginia and North Carolina to win the ACC tournament. The Wolfpack had no problem with No. 6 seed Texas Tech, No. 2 seed Marquette, and No. 4 seed Duke to win the South Region and set up a matchup with Purdue in the Final Four.

After a quiet game in the regional semifinals against Marquette, DJ Burns burned Duke to the tune of 29 points on 13-of-19 shooting in the 76-64 win.

NC State hadn’t won a game in the NCAA Tournament since 2015 and now the Wolfpack are in the Final Four for the first time since that unforgettable run in 1983.

Along the way, NC State faced 7-foot-4 Ralph Sampson’s Virginia team twice in the postseason, and now comes a meeting with the 7-foot-4 Edey.

 

Scouts Will Be Watching

While some of the top college prospects in the 2024 NBA Draft have seen their dreams of cutting down the nets after the national title game dashed, there are some players to keep an eye on.

UConn’s Clingan and Stephon Castle are priced at +1000 and +2000 to be the No. 1 overall pick, according to the BetUS sportsbook odds. Purdue’s Edey, the favorite in the National Player of the Year odds, is well back at +3300 in the odds to be the top pick in the draft.

Alexandre Sarr, a 7-foot-1 center from France, has the best odds at -300 to be the first selection, with Kentucky’s Reed Sheppard topping the college contingent at +700.

 

 

Questions Of The Day

Which team is the biggest underdog heading into the Final Four games?


Alabama is listed by college basketball betting lines as a 12-point underdog against UConn with North Carolina State a nine-point underdog versus Purdue.

How have Alabama and North Carolina State fared as underdogs this season?


North Carolina State is 9-10 outright as an underdog with Alabama just 2-7 as the underdog. The Wolfpack is 12-6-1 against the Las Vegas College Basketball odds as the underdog. The Crimson Tide has covered just three times as an underdog this season.

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