NCAA Basketball Picks: Connecticut vs. SMU in Big East Finals

David Lawrence

Sunday, March 15, 2015 2:38 PM GMT

Sunday, Mar. 15, 2015 2:38 PM GMT

The Mustangs are 3.5-point favorite on the college basketball lines versus the defending champions Connecticut Huskies. If they lose, the Mustangs will need the Selection Committee to call their name.

The Connecticut Huskies Can Win Because…
They need this more than SMU does. Yes, SMU got snubbed last season because they were on the bubble and didn’t make the cut. However, that’s not going to be the case this year. Win or lose, SMU is going to the big dance. However, Connecticut is squarely on the bubble and isn’t likely to get a chance to defend its crown unless they win the Big East Tournament. That motivation along should be a big difference.

The Huskies have some good momentum right now as they’ve won three straight and are playing well at the defensive end. They held Tulsa to just 29.6% shooting from the field and if they can carry that strong performance over, they’re going to be in good shape.

Experience is on their side. This is a team that knows what it’s like to face this type of pressure; SMU does not. That will come in handy in a big-time showdown like this one.

 

The SMU Mustangs Can Win Because…
They’re not going to let up. After what happened last season, SMU is not planning on leaving anything to chance – even if they’re a team that’s ranked in the Top 25, currently favored by NCAA Basketball odds.

Connecticut looks like a team that’s luckier to be here than deserved. Yes, the Huskies are coming off a win against No. 2 seeded Tulsa but they shot just 36.2% from the field and were outrebounded 40-28. It’s quite incredible that they still won managing those numbers but they aren’t going to be SMU if they don’t turn those around. And while the Huskies defense has played well, they actually have the league’s second-best defense, allowing just 60.1 points per game.

They’re the more talented team with more momentum. They’ve won 15 of 18 conference games and 26 of 32 games overall. UConn is just 6-4 in their last 10 and their tournament hopes are hanging by a thread. Take the better team here.

 

Outlook
Before placing your NCAA Basketball picks, remember these two teams squared off twice this season with each team winning on their home floor. However, while SMU won by 18 at home, they lost by eight on the road. The Mustangs are a team on a mission. They haven’t earned a league title since 1988 and they were snubbed last year by the Selection Committee. On top of that, in front of them stands the National Champions – a team they aspire to be. This game means a lot to SMU and not only is motivation on their side, they are the better squad. The line for this game opened up at -2.5 and has climbed to -3.5 at most sportsbooks. That indicates the sharp money is siding with the Mustangs. Take them with your college basketball picks.

NCAA Basketball Pick: SMU -3 at Bovada

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