The Cincinnati Bearcats will be seeking a little revenge Tuesday night whey they host the Connecticut Huskies in an American Athletic Conference college basketball odds matchup.
Rematches on the college basketball betting schedule can be both a blessing and a curse. The first meeting does give bettors something to go on having already seen how the players on the floor match up with each other, but adjustments will be made by coaches to throw wrinkles into their strategy, and just how much revenge factors into the equation is always a moot point.
Any revenge that might play into Thursday night's clash between the Cincinnati Bearcats and Connecticut Huskies is all on the home team's side. Cincinnati is not only looking to get even for a 62-56 loss at UConn nearly three weeks ago, the Bearcats take the floor trying to end the Huskies' 3-game win streak in the series.
SBR's live NCAA basketball odds has Cincinnati -4½ for the 8 PM telecast on ESPN2; that spread is down a half from the start and a total on the game is forthcoming.
Huskies & 'Cats Chasing Tulsa & SMU In AAC
The American Athletic Conference belongs to Tulsa with an 8-0 record, SMU just a half-game behind at 8-1. Connecticut and Cincinnati are 2.5 and 3 games back of the Golden Hurricane as they head into their all-important rematch of a January 10 game in Harford.
The Huskies prevailed by a 62-56 count in that one, having just enough to cover the 4½ points oddsmakers burdened them with. Connecticut trailed by as many as six in the first half, but used a smothering 2nd-half defense to limit Cincinnati to just eight field goals in the final 20 minutes for the win.
It was the third in a row for UConn over the Bearcats, giving the Huskies an 11-5 lead in the series that is developing into one of the best rivalries in the AAC, some of that carrying over from their Big East days. Connecticut backers have now cashed six consecutive games, and the previous matchup this season just skipped past a 113 point mark to end an 'under' streak of five.
Huskies Spending Week On Conference Highway
Kevin Ollie and Connecticut (11-7 straight up, 6-9 against the spread) slumped after beating Cincinnati, losing two straight on the road at Tulsa and Stanford. The Huskies have since bounced back with wins against Central Florida and South Florida last week, but failed to cover double-digit spreads in either to extend the NCAA odds skid to four, another road game following this one Sunday in Houston.
Among the problems Ollie's lads have had this year is free-throw shooting, something that bit the Huskies in both the outright loss to Tulsa and the spread defeat against UCF. They combined to miss 17 of 31 free throws in those contests, and rank 205th nationally (68%), even worse down at the bottom of the AAC in the category (56%).
'Cats Toughest AAC Team To Score On
Cincinnati (14-5 SU, 8-7 ATS) sits at the top of the AAC with a 74.6% success rate from the charity stripe in conference games, so shooting free throws hasn't been much of a problem for Larry Davis. Neither has defense been a problem, the Bearcats first in the AAC holding foes to 53.7 PPG in league action while working on a string of 23 straight games holding opponents under 70 points.
Generating enough offense to go with that defense has been an issue, especially when it comes to dropping in treys. Cincy is scoring a middling 63.2 points in conference games, and doesn't depend on the long bomb in this offensive scheme; still, it would help to make those jumpers with a little more consistency to open up the inside along with driving lanes.
I'm expecting the total to be increased from the 112½ it closed at in the first meeting, and should it climb very much into the low-to-mid 120s, I'll be playing the 'under' for my NCAA Basketball pick.
NCAA Basketball Pick: Lean Under at 5Dimes
Season: 31-31 (-3.10)