UConn men’s basketball’s recent hot streak continued this week as the Huskies dismantled DePaul 88-59 at home Wednesday night. UConn (23-7, 12-7 Big East) is now up to No. 5 in KenPom and are winners of four straight and seven of their last eight. There’s no doubt that the Huskies, who started the year 14-0, are playing some of their best basketball of the season as of late.
If Dan Hurley and UConn can keep their current win streak alive and win 10 more games, the result would be a fifth banner in Gampel and another national title claimed in Houston. While this team stumbled through January, the resurgence of the bench and the emergence of Jordan Hawkins as a bonafide star has propelled UConn back into the conversation as a legitimate national championship contender.
What Vegas is saying
UConn’s odds have dropped sizably following the win over DePaul. According to DraftKings, UConn now stands at +1600 to win the NCAA tournament, a significant improvement from +2000 last week. The Huskies now have the sixth-best odds to win it all, tied with Arizona. Houston (+650) remains the favorite, followed by Kansas (+800) and Alabama (+900). Purdue (+1200) and UCLA (+1200) are the only other schools ahead of the Huskies for title odds. More NCAA Tournament winner odds can be found here.
UConn still owns the seventh-best odds to reach the Final Four in Houston, but now owns +380 odds, an improvement from +450 last week. Houston remains the favorite in that front as well with odds down from +150 to +130 to reach the Final Four in their backyard.
UConn’s NCAA Tournament Resume
Record: 23-7 overall, 12-7 Big East
KenPom ranking: No. 5 overall, No. 8 in adjusted offensive efficiency, No. 22 in adjusted defensive efficiency
NET ranking: No. 7
Quality wins (Quad 1 wins): Alabama (neutral), Iowa State (neutral), Oklahoma State (home), Florida (away), Creighton (home), Marquette (home)
Bad losses (Quad 3 or worse): St. John’s (home)
Updates current as of March 3
ESPN: Joe Lunardi has UConn holding steady as a 4-seed, this time in the East taking on a Toledo squad that is Lunardi’s projected winner of the MAC Tournament. The Rockets have the 10th-best offense nationally per KenPom.
The Athletic ($): The Athletic also has UConn as a 4-seed in the East region, but taking on local rival Yale in the opening round of the tournament.
CBS Sports: CBS Bracketologist Jerry Palm’s Friday morning update has the Huskies as a 4-seed also taking on Yale, but this time in the West region.
Even if the Huskies fall short on the road against Villanova, UConn still should be pretty firmly entrenched as a 4-seed barring an early exit in the Big East Tournament. A placement in the West or East region would be preferable, as either region’s first two rounds will take place in Albany, New York, just a short two-and-a-half hour drive from Storrs and in close proximity to tons of Huskies fans. An East region placement would be the most ideal, as the Sweet 16 and Elite Eight games would take place at Madison Square Garden, an arena that UConn is not only familiar with but would also give them the closest thing to a home-court advantage in neutral site tournament play.