#10 Maryland vs #7 UConn NCAA Tournament Round 1

#10 Maryland vs #7 UConn NCAA Tournament Round 1 | 2021 NCAA Basketball Expert Analysis

Written by on March 19, 2021

Seventh-seeded UConn will have a key player available off injury in RJ Cole when the Huskies of the Big East face No. 10 Maryland of the Big Ten in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Saturday. UConn is a short favorite on the NCAAB odds.

How to Bet Maryland vs. UConn NCAA Basketball Odds & TV Info

Last Meeting

These teams have met seven teams with UConn leading 4-3. The last meeting was Dec. 8, 2016 when the Terps beat UConn, 78-66, in the Jimmy V Classic at Madison Square Garden. They have played twice in the NCAA Tournament. In the 2002 NCAA East Regional, Maryland beat UConn on the way to winning the national title. They also played an NCAA Tournament game in 1995, when the Terps lost 99-89.

Why Bet on Maryland? | 2021 NCAA Basketball Expert Analysis

Hard to get a read on Maryland (16-13) as the its résumé is bolstered by road wins over Illinois and Wisconsin, but its convincing performances were minimal. Beyond those two gems, Maryland largely beat the teams it had to beat to get into the field, but the Terps also finished 11th in offensive efficiency in league play on KenPom. They got swept by Penn State and lost to Northwestern.  No at-large team has more losses than Maryland, which checks into the field with a 16-13 record.

Aaron Wiggins (14.5 PPG) and Eric Ayala (14.0 PPG), however, might excel once they face teams outside the strongest conference in America. In addition, the Terps have one of the country’s best defenders in senior guard Darryl Morsell, who was named 2021 Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year. Morsell is the first player in program history to win a conference defensive player of the year award. (The ACC did not introduce the award until 2013-14.)

The Terps are 8-1 they hit better than 38% from three-point range, and they’re 12-3 overall when they’re just 35% or better. UConn allowed more than 35% from three in two of its last three games. Maryland scored 68.8 points per game this season, the fewest among Big Ten teams.

It’s the 29th NCAA Tournament appearance for Maryland and fifth appearance in the last six applicable years. The Terps have a 42-27 all-time record in the tournament, including 14 Sweet 16 appearances. They won 13 of their last 14 opening round games dating back to 1997, including their most recent appearance in 2019 when they defeated #11 Belmont.

Why Bet on UConn? | 2021 NCAA Basketball Expert Analysis

The Huskies will have starting point guard and second-leading scorer RJ Cole available. Cole was in concussion protocol since his hard fall against Creighton in the Big East semifinals last Friday, but he returned to practice live with his teammates on Thursday. Cole hit the floor, banging is head and cutting himself above the left eye. There was a lot of bleeding, and he did not play in the last 4 1/2 minutes, during which the Huskies were outscored 11-3 and lost the game. Cole is averaging 12.3 points per game, with 96 assists and only 40 turnovers.

UConn went through much of the middle part of their season without their best player James Bouknight, but he has returned and the Huskies are back at full strength with the good news on Cole. Connecticut plays very good defense, allowing the fewest points per game in the Big East at 64.6. The frontcourt combo of Tyler Polley and Isaiah Whaley (each 6-foot-9) make for a switching nightmare on the perimeter.

The last time UConn made the NCAA Tournament was in 2016 after capturing the American Athletic Conference championship and it was a No. 9 seed. The Huskies have been the No. 7 seed in the NCAA Tournament only once before – in 2014, when they went all the way to their fourth NCAA championship.

It will be UConn’s 34th appearance in the tournament. The Huskies have four national championships, five trips to the Final Four, 11 appearances in the Elite Eight and 17 trips to the Sweet 16.

Game Trends

  • Terrapins are 2-7 ATS in their last 9 NCAA Tournament games.
  • Terrapins are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games as an underdog.
  • Terrapins are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600.
  • Huskies are 13-3 ATS in their last 16 games as a favorite.
  • Huskies are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games following a ATS loss.
  • Huskies are 16-5 ATS in their last 21 NCAA Tournament games.
  • Huskies are 19-6-1 ATS in their last 26 games overall.

Expert Prediction

  • UConn 70, Maryland 64

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