The stage is set. The Sweet Sixteen has been determined, and one of the hopeful teams still in search of the NCAA Championship is the UConn Huskies. Do they have what it takes to make it to the Final Four? Let’s take a look.
It’s been smooth sailing for UCon thus far. The Huskies first faced the Iona Gaels, then the Saint Mary’s Gaels. That’s right, two teams named the Gales, back to back, counted themselves among UConn’s opponents.
In truth, neither Gaels squad could put up much of a fight against the Huskies. Iona floundered on the court; no Gaels player scored more than 15 points during the game. UConn responded with some impressive numbers: 28 points for Adama Sanogo (plus 13 rebounds), 13 for Jordan Hawkins, and 12 for Donavan Clingan. The remaining roster balanced things out, and UConn soared to a 24-point victory, 87-63.
In the round of 32, UConn met with the Saint Mary’s Gaels. The 5-seed was expected to put forth a stronger performance than Iona, but these Gaels faltered even more than their Ionan counterparts.
UConn’s Adama Sanogo continued his scoring run with 24 points, leading the Huskies to a 70-55 victory over Saint Mary’s.
With two big wins under their belt, the Huskies now turn to a Sweet Sixteen game against the 8-seed Arkansas Razorbacks.
Arkansas demolished the University of Illinois by 10 points in round one, then took out 1-seed Kansas by a single point in a round-two nailbiter.
Connecticut is favored to win the game by sportsbooks. DraftKings sets the UConn moneyline at -195 while FanDuel lists -184. The point spread is hovering in the 4-5 area, so UConn needs to win by a small margin to cover.
Should UConn emerge victorious against the Razorbacks, they’ll have a tough game ahead. The winner of Thursday’s UCLA-Gonzaga match-up advances to the Elite Eight, where they’ll face UConn (if the Huskies beat Arkansas, that is).
What’s the best-case scenario for UConn? In my opinion, UCLA is the more beatable team. The Bruins put up an amazing 86 points in round one, but that was against the 15-seed UNC Asheville. UCLA struggled against the more capable Northwestern, though the Bruins still came out on top.
Meanwhile, Gonzaga has fielded a beast of a team in this year’s March Madness tournament. The Bulldogs are seeking that elusive championship. Gonzaga is always the bridesmaid, never the bride. The Bulldogs took down Grand Canyon 82-70, then eked out a three-point win against the TCU Horned Frogs, 84-81.
Two 80+ point games make for a worrisome opponent, even for the talented UConn Huskies. If UConn finds its way to the Elite Eight and faces Gonzaga, that could spell trouble.
However, huge upsets have riddled the East and West regions of the bracket. We’ll have to wait and see which teams those regions deliver to the Final Four. UConn could stand a chance against underdog teams that manage their way into the late-stage games of the tournament.
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