UConn Will Stay Inside Spread in Season Finale at Houston

Willie Bee

Sunday, March 4, 2018 12:59 PM UTC

Sunday, Mar. 4, 2018 12:59 PM UTC

It has been a tough year for Kevin Ollie and UConn, who finish up the campaign as decided underdogs on the NCAA basketball odds today at Houston.

Sunday College Basketball: Connecticut vs. HoustonFree NCAAB Pick: UConn +14Best Line Offered: 5Dimes

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You don’t have to travel back too far in time, maybe six weeks or so, to reach a point on the calendar that suggesting the Houston Cougars would be a higher seed in the NCAA Tournament than the Oklahoma Sooners would have drawn derisive laughter. Of course, that was when Trae Young was still electrifying crowds and before the Sooners closed their Big 12 slate by dropping nine of the final 13 games.

While Oklahoma has been sliding, Houston (23-6 SU, 15-9-1 ATS) has proven enough of a force in the AAC to move into the polls (No. 25 in AP) and push well ahead of the Sooners in RPI. Kelvin Sampson’s squad still has a shot at the No. 2 seed in next week’s conference tourney if the Cougars can close the regular season with a win over the Connecticut Huskies (14-16 SU, 9-18 ATS) today. Houston was established as a 14-point favorite, with the total at 142.

Cougars Beating Foes On Both Ends Of Court

Short of a stunning AAC tourney performance, Connecticut is going to miss the NCAA Tournament for a second consecutive season, something that hasn’t happened since the 1980s and could cost Kevin Ollie his job. A win today would mark the first back-to-back dubyas in nearly two months, and an offense that ranks in the bottom quadrant of the country in scoring (67.9 ppg) and shooting (41.2 percent) deserves most of the blame.

Houston, on the other hand, is in the top-25 percentile of both of those categories, and also sits in the top 20 nationally allowing just 65 PPG while ranking fifth allowing opponents to connect on only 39.4 percent of their field-goal attempts. The Cougars come into this one off a solid effort Wednesday in Dallas where they beat SMU, 69-56, to easily cover a -6 point line on the college basketball odds boards.

Series Notes, Final Thoughts & A Free Pick

After meeting five times during the past two seasons, today’s encounter is the only scheduled clash on this year’s slate. The series is deadlocked at five games apiece after Connecticut downed Houston in the quarterfinals of last year’s AAC Tournament, 74-65, as a 4½-point underdog at XL Center in Hartford. The Cougars beat the Huskies, 75-70, in Houston about three weeks earlier to build a three-game win streak in the rivalry at the time. The underdog has covered seven of the 10 matchups.

The Cougars are unbeaten at home and have covered spreads this size and larger in the process. With my NCAAB picks, however, I'll follow the series trend.

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Thank you to the @SpiritofUH and Cougar Brass for all you do #ForTheCity #GoCoogs pic.twitter.com/68VbIw5i2B

— Coach Kelvin Sampson (@CoachSampsonUH) October 27, 2017

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