UConn Huskies & ‘Zona Wildcats Cut Total Short

Willie Bee

Thursday, December 21, 2017 1:14 PM UTC

Thursday, Dec. 21, 2017 1:14 PM UTC

Arizona might be without Allonzo Trier tonight, but the Wildcats are still big favorites on the NCAA basketball odds against the visiting Connecticut Huskies.

Connecticut Huskies vs Arizona Wildcats

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Free NCAAB Pick: Under 145½Best Line Offered: at Heritage

Five times before have we seen Connecticut and Arizona hit the hardwood together, and all five meetings have ended with the same result – a Huskies win. SBR’s top sports books seem convinced that streak will end Thursday night in a nationally televised contest.

East meets West in this 9 PM (ET) tip in Tucson on ESPN2, the Wildcats laying 15½ even with the uncertainty of leading scorer Allonzo Trier’s (knee) availability. The Huskies are taking a 2-game road trip – their first true road games of the season – that will take them to Auburn on Saturday before enjoying a week off and diving into the AAC schedule. Arizona will take nine days off after this one in advance of their Pac-12 opener vs. rival Arizona State.

First True Road Test For UConn After 12 Days Off

Other than the PK80 Tournament in Portland, Connecticut’s longest trip from home was to Madison Square Garden a little more than two weeks ago to play Syracuse. The rowdy crowd at McKale Center and having been idle for 12 days are the first adjustments Kevin Ollie and the Huskies have to make, and quick or they’ll be run out of the building. They did bounce back from that loss to the Orange with a win over Coppin State a few days later, but failed to cover the big -27 point spread on the NCAA basketball odds, their 6th-straight ATS loss.

Sean Miller and the Wildcats have played twice since UConn last hit the floor, wins at New Mexico and home vs. North Dakota State to continue was has swelled to a 6-game win streak. That was, of course, preceded by a 3-game stumble for an Arizona team many picked to make the Final Four. The Wildcats covered four of the six matchups during the streak, and definitely rediscovered their scoring touch by connecting on better than 52% (185-354) overall and 42% (47-111) from behind the arc.

Series History, Final Thoughts & A Free Pick

All five previous meetings took place from 1999-2011, three finishing with the Wildcats three points or fewer behind the Huskies. The 2011 clash came in the West Region Finals of the NCAA Tournament, a 65-63 UConn victory on the way to a third National Championship. That contest was played in front of a pro-Arizona crowd in Anaheim, the Wildcats covering as 3½ point underdogs. Connecticut had covered the first four meetings, three times as the underdog.

Whether or not Trier (21.7 ppg) plays tonight is the big mystery here. Both teams have had ‘over’ tendencies recently, but I’m bucking that trend with a free college basketball pick on the ‘under’ thinking that even if Trier plays, he won’t be 100%.

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