UConn +4.5 at SMU O/U 132.5
Yes, it’s senior night at SMU, with the Mustang trio of Nic Moore and Markus Kennedy and Jordan Tolbert getting their last home game. With SMU ineligible for postseason play, and a chance to win the regular season conference title on the line, it’s not hard to figure out why the Mustangs are laying points in this matchup. But laying points against UConn has been a moneylosing strategy all year, and the Huskies are primed to bring their A-game tonight, just as they did when they knocked off SMU in Storrs last month.
UConn is coming off a very disappointing home loss to Houston over the weekend, putting them right back on the Big Dance Bubble – this is a HUGE game for the road underdog. And boy, UConn is a tough team to lay points against; a squad that has only lost four games by more than five points all season. the Huskies don’t panic when trailing late and they take the ball to the basket instead of jacking up desperation three’s; exactly what you want from your mid-sized underdogs.
Huskies coach Kevin Ollie was not amused by their home loss to the Cougars over the weekend. The team has gone through ‘extra-physical’ practices all week. Coach Ollie: “We had some slippages. In any long season you're going to have slippages. Sometimes, you hit some icy patches and you slip a little bit and my job as a coach is to identify those things, try to get them back on track. I just want to make sure those guys know I believe in them and they believe in the coaching staff."
UConn senior guard Sterling Gibbs: "[Practices] have been pretty intense. We really got after it. We really focused on rebounding and getting back on defense. We weren't getting back on defense." UConn center Amida Brimah, who ate up SMU for 16 points, 8 boards and five blocks in UConn’s home win over the Mustangs last month: “We put ourselves in this situation (back on the Big Dance Bubble), and we’ve got to dig ourselves out!
SMU has been a moneyloser all year as home chalk, cashing at a 33% clip for the season, and they’ve been moneylosers as shorter favorites (-9.5 or less) on any floor. This game’s got ‘battle to the final possession’ written all over it.