Tulsa is coming off its first conference loss and makes a tough trip to UConn on Thursday. Join us for a preview of the AAC clash plus a free college basketball pick.
One can understand the frustration that Frank Haith and the Tulsa Golden Hurricane are feeling right now. After all, they're on top of the American Athletic Conference with just one loss and recently enjoyed a 12-game win streak, yet aren't getting much love from the either the AP or coaches rankings.
Haith and the Hurricane will get a chance Thursday night to at least force some of those pollsters to sit up and take notice as they travel to face the Connecticut Huskies. Tip-off at the XL Center in Hartford is set for a little past 7 PM (ET), ESPN2 providing the broadcast for this conference clash.
Connecticut started as 3½ point chalk on SBR's live college basketball odds, that spread up to -4 after overnight wagering. The total should be out shortly.
Tulsa Takes Aim At Season Sweep Of Huskies
The Golden Hurricane and Huskies had only met once before this season, that matchup taking place way back in 1978, and will now get together for the second time in just over a month. Tulsa came out on top in the January 13 collision at Reynolds Center, 66-58, taking advantage of 15 UConn turnovers to scores the mild upset as 1 point home 'dogs.
That victory came in the middle of Tulsa's 12-game win streak, starting a 4-game winning run for college basketball bettors playing 'over' the totals. Five of the Golden Hurricane's subsequent seven contests hurdled scoreboard tallies.
The loss started a 2-game road skid for Connecticut, a feat the Huskies would ignominiously match in setbacks at Cincinnati and Houston to close out January. It also kick-started a string of 7-straght failures vs. the NCAA basketball odds, that streak finally halted last Saturday at Tulane.
Hurricane Nursing Half-Game Lead In AAC
Tulsa (17-6 straight up, 10-10 against the spread) just saw the 12-game win streak snapped Saturday against SMU, the Mustangs pulling off a 68-57 decision in Oklahoma as 1 point road chalk. The Golden Hurricane managed to net just 17 of their 60 field goal attempts, by far their poorest scoring effort of the campaign.
They remain a perfect 6-0 in AAC road contests, however, covering four of their six conference tilts away from home. Four of those contests also failed to reach the totals.
Led by double-digit scorers James Woodard (14.9 ppg) and Shaquille Harrison (14.5 ppg), Tulsa ranks fourth in AAC averaging almost 66 points per conference game. But with Woodard the only real threat from long-range, the Hurricane sit dead last in the league sinking but 27.6% of their shots from 3-point land.
Huskies With 2 Tough Road Tilts On Deck
There's no time like the present for Kevin Ollie and Connecticut (13-9 SU, 7-12 ATS). The Huskies are languishing in the middle of the conference pack, though coming on with two consecutive wins after dropping four of their previous six.
Keeping his team focused on the present and the game at hand against Tulsa is also going to be on Ollie's mind. Connecticut follows this one up with trips to SMU this Saturday and Memphis next Thursday, plus have the same Ponies and Tigers at home before the regular season schedule comes to an end.
Trying to find another consistent scorer besides Ryan Boatright is another concern for the UConn head coach. Boatright leads the team averaging 17.8 PPG, a clip the senior guard has eclipsed in each of the last six contests.
The Huskies have not been a good follow this season; nonetheless, that's the way I'm going with my free college basketball pick for this one.
NCAA Basketball Pick: Connecticut -4 at 5Dimes
Season: 44-38-1 (+2.2)