Defending national champion Connecticut tips-off its run at a repeat Thursday night when it meets Iowa State in the 8-vs.-9 seed game in the South Regional.
UConn, which got an at-large bid after finishing in a tie for ninth place in the Big East, is favored by two points over the Cyclones, who got in with an at-large invite after finishing tied for third in the Big 12.
UConn is 9-2 ATS past 11 tournament games and the UNDER is 5-1 in their past 6 tournament games. However, an interesting trend involving 8 vs 9 is that the underdog is 14-4 ATS the past several seasons.
This matchup is a neutral-site affair being played at KFC Yum! Center.
The Cyclones bring a 22-10 record (19-9 ATS) to this tilt against the 20-13 Huskies, who are 12-15-2 ATS. OVER/UNDER bettors have witnessed Iowa State go 13-15 so far and the Huskies go 14-15.
Power Rankings / Prediction:
According to new college basketball power rankings here, it's the No. 35-ranked Cyclones and the No. 18-rated Huskies in this matchup. Computer formulas aimed at predicting NCAAB scores point to a 75-73 win for the Cyclones on Thursday.
How They Match Up:
Rating these schools in several key categories is important for handicappers and Iowa State has the nation's No. 53-rated offensive output, at 73.2 PPG. The visiting Huskies defense ranks No. 93 allowing on average 64.1 PPG. The Cyclones FG% has averaged 44.9% so far, less than the Huskies marksmen have achieved on the year, 45.4% per game.
Defensively, Connecticut features the nation's No. 97-rated defense on the road, allowing 66.8 points per game. Iowa State, meanwhile, comes in at No. 78 nationally in scoring at home.
In their last action, Connecticut was a 58-55 loser on the road against Syracuse. They covered the 7-point spread as underdogs. The Huskies endured a 58-55 loss at the hands of the Orange on Thursday, despite a 15-point effort from Shabazz Napier at Madison Square Garden.
Iowa State lost its last outing, a 71-65 result against Texas on March 8. They failed to cover in that game as a 1.5-point underdog. The Cyclones endured a 71-65 loss at the hands of the Longhorns on Thursday, despite a 17-point effort from Royce White at Sprint Center.
Connecticut Huskies Trends:
When playing on Thursday are 8-2
After playing Syracuse are 7-3
After a loss are 5-5
Iowa State Cyclones Trends:
When playing on Thursday are 5-5
After playing Texas are 7-3
After a loss are 7-3
A few Huskies at Cyclones trends to consider:
Iowa State is 17-7 SU in its last 24 games