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NCAAB Weekly: UConn Tops March Madness Odds

Houston Leapfrogs Purdue at No. 2 in AP Poll

Purdue, UConn, Houston and Arizona were on the top line in the NCAA selection committee’s list of the top 16 seeds a month before the field is announced. The announcement came before Purdue’s loss to Ohio State on Sunday.

For the sake of argument, the potential regional finals would be Purdue-Tennessee, UConn-North Carolina, Arizona-Kansas and Houston-Marquette.

NCAAB Weekly: UConn Tops March Madness Odds
Jayden Nunn #2 of the Baylor Bears | Jay Biggerstaff/Getty Images/AFP

When looking at the college basketball lines, No. 2 Houston is favored by nearly 10 points against No. 6 Iowa State on Monday.

Grand Canyon and UConn are 24-2 this season while Mississippi Valley State is the only winless team after a recent victory by Detroit Mercy. Minnesota (22-3) has the best mark against the NCAA basketball spread after covering in its last seven games and 16 of the last 18.

Defending national champion UConn (+550) and Purdue (+700) lead the way in the odds of winning the national title. When looking at the odds of winning March Madness, Houston (+900), Tennessee (+1200), Arizona (+1200), and North Carolina (+1800) are other top contenders. Houston and Purdue remain first and second in the NCAA NET rankings while Arizona, UConn and Alabama round out the top five.

Huskies Make Statement?

The two teams sitting atop the national polls going into the weekend couldn’t have had different vibes coming out of the weekend’s action.

UConn rolled past a top-five Marquette team in resounding fashion. The game wasn’t as close as the 81-53 final score might indicate.

Purdue was facing an unranked Ohio State team that just fired its head coach.

Bruce Thornton had 22 points and Jamison Battle added 19 as Ohio State edged the Boilermakers 73-69 in Jake Diebler’s first game as the interim head coach.

Purdue only managed to attempt nine 3-pointers and was outscored 26-4 in bench points as Ohio State won outright and covered when listed by the college basketball odds as 7½-point home underdogs.

That was hardly the only upset during the week. It started with then-No. 6 Kansas, playing without leading scorer Kevin McCullar, losing by 29 points to unranked Texas Tech on Monday. The next day, North Carolina fell at unranked Syracuse. Baylor, Indiana State and Virginia were the other ranked teams to lose on Tuesday.

In a clash of ranked teams in the SEC, Auburn cruised to a 40-point win over South Carolina.

South Carolina lost again on Saturday. The Gamecocks had plenty of company with BYU, Auburn, Wisconsin and Indiana State also falling.

Both ranked teams in action lost on Sunday with the aforementioned Purdue-Ohio State stunner and Florida Atlantic losing at South Florida.

What Might Have Been

Illinois State pulled off the biggest upset of the week as the 17.5-point road underdogs stunned Indiana State 80-67.

Mercer, a 10-point underdog, came up with the 88-84 win over visiting Samford.

There was some late-game drama for some other games as well.

Wake Forest had a chance to cover as the seven-point underdog in Monday’s matchup with Duke. Mark Mitchell‘s dunk with 14 seconds gave the Blue Devils an eight-point lead. Wake Forest’s Hunter Sallis missed the front end of the 1-and-1 as Duke held on and covered.

St. John’s had two chances to tie the game but missed a pair of 3-pointers in the final 10 seconds as Providence won the game outright 75-72 and covered as two-point favorites.

Rutgers had a chance to cover as a four-point favorite against Northwestern when Aundre Hyatt stepped to the foul line with nine seconds to play and the Scarlet Knights up by three points. He was off the mark as Rutgers had to hold on for a three-point win.

More than a few of those who bet online took notice when Virginia’s Isaac McKneely missed a free throw with six seconds left to play as Wake Forest covered as a three-point underdog.

In Saturday’s meeting between Georgia and Florida, the Bulldogs were in a position to cover as a 4.5-point underdog when Justin Hill hit a layup with 18 seconds to play. Georgia fouled to try to extend the game and the two foul shots by Zyon Pullin enabled the Gators to cover.

A blocked shot on the final play of the second overtime gave Colorado the 92-89 win over USC as the Buffaloes came through as the two-point favorite.

A Look at the Polls

UConn is the unanimous No. 1 in the Associated Press poll after Purdue’s recent loss. Houston jumped over Purdue to move into the No. 2 spot with Purdue now ranked third.

Iowa State went from 10th to sixth while Tennessee jumped three spots to No. 5. No. 7 Marquette, No. 9 Kansas and No. 10 North Carolina all fell three positions.


Kentucky moved from 22nd to 17th while South Carolina was the big faller, going from 11th to 20th.

Game of the Week

No. 6 Iowa State at No. 2 Houston

  • Monday, Feb. 19, 9 p.m. ET (ESPN)

 

This figures to be quite a challenging week for the Houston Cougars. First up is a rematch with an Iowa State team that topped Houston 57-53 as a two-point home underdog last month. That is followed by a trip to Baylor on Saturday.

First things first, Iowa State and Houston are tied for first place in the Big 12 standings with Houston looking to win its 20th straight home game.

The January matchup was the first game between the teams since 2010.

Player of the Week

Jayden Nunn, Baylor

The junior guard had a season-high 27 points in a win over Oklahoma and followed that up with 20 points against West Virginia.

Nunn was 11 of 18 from 3-point range in the two wins and shot 65% from the field. The win over Oklahoma was just the second this season against a team ranked in the top 25 in the Associated Press poll.

Team of the Week

UConn Huskies

Can there be any other choice with the way the top-ranked Huskies dispatched then-No. 4 Marquette in the game of the year in the Big East?

UConn led by as many as 29 points to beat the team that handed the Huskies their last loss of the 2022-23 season before beginning the run to the national title. Donovan Clingan had 17 points and 10 rebounds in the 28-point win and helped a defense that limited Marquette to 37% shooting.

UConn began the week with a 36-point win at Georgetown as the Huskies have won 14 games in a row.

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Nationally Televised Top-10 Matchups

  • No. 6 Iowa State at No. 2 Houston, Monday, 9 p.m. ET (ESPN)
  • No. 5 Tennessee at Missouri, Tuesday, 7 p.m. ET (SEC Network)
  • No. 1 UConn at No. 15 Creighton, Tuesday, 8:30 p.m. ET (FS1)
  • No. 8 Duke at Miami, Wednesday, 7 p.m. ET (ESPN)
  • DePaul at No. 7 Marquette, Wednesday, 9 p.m. ET (FS1)
  • Rutgers at No. 3 Purdue, Thursday, 7 p.m. ET (FS1)
  • Washington State at No. 4 Arizona, Thursday, 11 p.m. ET (FS1)
  • No. 2 Houston at No. 11 Baylor, Saturday, noon ET (CBS)
  • Washington at No. 4 Arizona, Saturday, 2 p.m. ET (CBS)
  • No. 8 Duke at Wake Forest, Saturday, 2 p.m. ET (ESPN)
  • West Virginia at No. 6 Iowa State, Saturday, 2 p.m. ET (ESPN2)
  • No. 10 North Carolina at Virginia, Saturday, 4 p.m. ET (ESPN)
  • Texas at No. 9 Kansas, Saturday, 6 p.m. ET (ESPN)
  • Villanova at No. 1 UConn, Saturday, 8 p.m. ET (FOX)
  • Texas A&M at No. 5 Tennessee, Saturday, 8 p.m. ET (ESPN)
  • No. 3 Purdue at Michigan, Sunday, 2 p.m. ET (CBS)
  • Xavier at No. 7 Marquette, Sunday, 5 p.m. ET (FS1)

 

 

 

Questions Of The Day

How many ranked teams are in action on Monday?


No. 6 Iowa State travels to meet No. 2 Houston as the Cyclones look to sweep the season series. The visiting Cyclones are listed by the Las Vegas odds as nine-point underdogs,

Which team has the best record in the nation against the spread?


Minnesota is 22-3 against the spread this season while Georgia Tech is 4-0 against the Las Vegas odds when facing ranked opponents.

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