March Madness Pick
This is the Game everyone was expecting. Can Connecticut make another run through the Tournament as a high seed? To do so, the Huskies would need to take down the No. 1 overall team in Kansas.
The Huskies did their usual thing against Colorado in the first round, struggling to do anything in the first half and then completely taking over in the second. After scoring just 27 points in the first 20 minutes, they dropped 47 in the second half and won 74-67. Despite Colorado having the edge down low, UConn changed up its defensive tactics and that led to a rather easy win in the end.
There’s wasn’t as much to take away from the Kansas Game as the Jayhawks were never really troubled by Austin Peay in a 105-79 route. This Game will surely be different as the Huskies can somewhat match everything Kansas does at every position.
Kansas has one of the best trio of guards in the nation with Wayne Selden, Frank Mason and Devonte’ Graham and they’re a main reason this team hasn’t lost in more than a month. Perry Ellis is great, but this team will go as far as its guards take them.
Connecticut can match up fairly well with those guys with Daniel Hamilton, Sterling Gibbs and Rodney Purvis, as well as Jalen Adams off the bench. The main question for the Jayhawks will be how they deal with the lengthy Hamilton, who comes in at 6-foot-7. He averages 12.4 points, 8.9 boards and 4.8 assists per Game and can shoot it from deep when need be. For the Huskies to win this Game, Hamilton will need to reach those season averages. In addition to that, Gibbs and Purvis will need to hit open shots when they are called upon. Those two stepped up in the second half against Colorado.
On the other end, there isn’t really one main player to focus on in the Kansas backcOurt. Graham was almost invisible offensively against Austin Peay on Thursday (0 points), but he scored 27 points in the Big 12 Tournament title Game against West Virginia. The same can be said about Mason and Selden. While they may not be the most consistent players, there will always be one or two Kansas guards that put up big numbers. And that’s before getting to Perry Ellis.
Connecticut will likely have a problem with the Ellis and LAndon LUcas/Jamari Traylor combo. With Amida Brimah or Phillip Nolan often guarding the center, Ellis will have an extreme advantage at the 4-spot. Not only should Ellis have his way in the paint, but he can also take his guy outside and shoot beyond the arc.
The difference between these teams is that a couple players can have bad days for the Jayhawks, yet they can still come out on the winning side. It’s a little different for the Huskies, who will need not only Hamilton to have a good Game, but also the other guards to hit shits, along with Shonn Miller to open things up around the hoop.
The Huskies may be a popular upset pick based on history, but winning this Game is going to take a lot. And if they aren’t hitting their shots, it could easily get away from them. Nevertheless, expect it to be lower scoring than KU’s first Game.
Our Pick – UCONN +8