Take Connecticut -3 Our Sharp NCAA Tournament Pick vs.Colorado

Doug Upstone

Monday, March 14, 2016 4:38 PM GMT

The action in the South Region of the NCAA Tournament commences in Des Moines, Iowa at 12:30 sharp local time, which is the third contest of the day to open the festivities on St. Patrick's Day.

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This TNT telecast showcases AAC champion Connecticut against Colorado, who had some high quality wins in the Pac-12 this season. The NCAA tournament odds have the lower seeded Huskies favored by three with total of 134.

 

Colorado
SU and ATS Records - 22-11, 19-11 ATS

Away Record - 6-10 and 10-6 ATS

Underdog Record - 3-10 and 8-5 ATS

3 or More Days Rest - 13-6 and 14-4 ATS

Off a SU Loss - 8-3 SU and 7-4 ATS

 

Connecticut
SU and ATS Record - 24-10, 16-13-1 ATS

Away Record - 10-7 and 9-7-1 ATS

Favorite Record - 17-5 and 13-9 ATS

3 or More Days Rest - 15-5 and 9-7 ATS

Off a SU Win - 15-8 SU and 11-10 ATS

 

The Game Scoop
The committee gave quite a bit of love to the Pac-12 and look for underdog players to prefer Colorado in this situation. The Buffalos as the numbers show above were a very good wager all season and thrived in the roll of underdog. Colorado has one of the best players in the Pac-12 in 6-10 senior forward Josh Scott, who averages 16.1 points and 8.7 rebounds per game. The other key player for the Buffs is 6-6 sophomore George King (13.8 PPG, 4.8 RPG), who tends to run a little hot or cold.

Colorado hits the boards with authority and is +8 in rebound margin and is a better overall three-point shooting team in the contest at 39.2 percent, compared to Connecticut at 36.2 percent. Though Buffs are only 3-2 in their last five contests, they have covered each one, meaning they have been competitive.

It seemed a foregone conclusion the Huskies would have nothing left after physically and emotionally exhausting four OT win over Cincinnati in the AAC tourney opener. Instead, UConn defeated top seeded Temple and later Memphis, each by double digits and looked to be the fresher team in each instance.

Credit Kevin Ollie for transferring his competitive nature to his team. Ollie spent most of the season trying to get this group to come together and believe and they are playing that way now. The Huskies only concede 63.1 PPG on just 38.2 percent, led by 7-foot anchor Amida Brimah (6.9 PPG, 2.8 blocks a game) in the paint and rough and tumble Rodney Purvis on the perimeter. For points, Connecticut leans on Shonn Miller (12.8 PPG) and sophomore guard Daniel Hamilton (12.5 PPG, 8.8 RPG), who at 6-7, is also is excellent rebounder.

 

Spread Winner and Totals Lean
Since Jim Calhoun made Connecticut a national power, Ollie has taken the program in a somewhat different direction. He might not be recruiting as well as his mentor did for years, but he expertly prepares his team for playing in March and if you give the Huskies less than second even from 60 feet to continue playing, they will find a way unless you put them away sooner. (Ask Cincinnati)

For my money on NCAA tournament picks, this is why I prefer Connecticut, this team has tremendous heart, plays great defense and has the mental resolve to keep playing. It is a definite concern Colorado has shot under 35 percent in three of past six contests. With the Huskies 8-0 ATS away after covering four of their last five against the spread and the Buffalos 3-13 ATS in any postseason action the last 19 years, I will give the three.

I will also lean UNDER the total because of UConn's defense.

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NCAA Basketball Free Pick: Connecticut -3
Best Line Offered: at 5Dimes