With No. 11 Cincinnati in Funk, Underdog UConn Is the Play

Willie Bee

Thursday, February 22, 2018 12:58 PM UTC

Thursday, Feb. 22, 2018 12:58 PM UTC

Coach Kevin Ollie may be on his way out at UConn, but his Huskies are worth a play as big underdogs on the NCAA basketball odds at No. 11 Cincinnati on Thursday night in AAC action.

Connecticut (13-14 SU, 8-16 ATS) at No. 11 Cincinnati (23-4 SU, 14-10 ATS)Free NCAAB Pick: UConn +19Best Line Offered: 5Dimes

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Cruising with 16 straight wins and a spotless record in the AAC a week ago, the No. 11 Cincinnati Bearcats were playing as well as any team in the country and starting to really make their case for being a legitimate Final Four team. Two losses later, all that is on hold as Mick Cronin looks for ways to get his team back in the win column.

The first opportunity to do just that comes Thursday evening against the Connecticut Huskies. ESPN goes on the air at 7 (ET), and the good news for Cronin & Co. is the top sportsbooks don’t expect Cincinnati to have much trouble with the Huskies, the Bearcats -19 on the morning line after initially going out two points higher.

‘Over’ 6-1 In UConn’s Last 7

The schools have met in the last four AAC tournaments, so it will be interesting to see if that streak continues next month when the conference holds its championship in Orlando. Things did get interesting towards the end of their first matchup about three weeks ago in Storrs, Cincinnati leaving with a 65-57 victory as 12½-point chalk. The Bearcats stormed to a 13-0 lead to begin the game but gave Connecticut hope with about a 3-minute scoring drought near the end of the contest. It was the 4th straight win in the series for the Bearcats and cut the Huskies’ advantage in the rivalry to 13-12.

It has been an up-&-down season for Kevin Ollie and UConn, one that started with four wins out of the gate but also includes a 4-game skid as the schedule was shifting from non-conference to the AAC. It has been mostly a down season for anyone following the Huskies on the NCAA basketball odds, the win last Sunday vs. East Carolina their fourth consecutive spread defeat, though all four of those games did make ‘over’ bettors happy.

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Up Next:

🏀: UConn
📅: Thursday, Feb 22
🕖: 7:00pm
⚫️: WEAR BLACK!#Bearcats pic.twitter.com/CP8CyfPUrU

— Cincinnati Men’s Hoops (@GoBearcatsMBB) February 21, 2018

Scoring Droughts Hurt Cincy In Losses to Cougars, Shockers

Cincinnati’s two losses last week came to the closest challengers in the conference, Houston and Wichita State, each of them starting to jell as the season winds down. In Houston, the Bearcats led by as many as 10 in the first half but didn’t shoot particularly well and couldn’t take advantage of a 24-12 edge at the free throw line. Home against the Shockers on Sunday, it was defense that let them down as Wichita State converted nearly 53% from the field.

With a 1-game lead in the league, Cincinnati controls its own destiny. But lurking on the schedule is a rematch at Wichita State to close out the regular season, and keeping his team from thinking about that might be Cronin’s toughest job the next few games. It’s too many points not to take for my free NCAA basketball pick.

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