The first West Region Sweet 16 NCAA Tournament action from Las Vegas on Thursday features No. 8 Arkansas of the SEC facing No. 4 UConn of the Big East, with the winner facing either UCLA or Gonzaga in the Elite Eight. The Huskies are favored on the NCAAB odds.
Sweet 16: No. 8 Arkansas vs. No. 4 UConn | 2023 NCAA Tournament Expert Analysis
How to Bet Arkansas vs. UConn NCAA Basketball Odds & TV Info
When: Thursday, 7:15 PM ET
Where: T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas
Opening NCAAB Lines: UConn -3.5 (total 139.5)
Last Meeting: This will be the fifth all-time meeting with UConn leading 3-1. However, Arkansas’ lone win was the last meeting, a 102-67 victory in the 2017 Phil Knight Classic.
Why Bet on Arkansas?
The Hogs (22-13) were favored in Round 1 and beat No. 9 Illinois 73-63 but were dogs in Round 2 against defending national champion Kansas but won 72-71. Arkansas only led for 1:43 against the Jayhawks, their time to lead in a win, and Kansas led for 34:10, the most time led by an opponent in a Razorback win … and fifth most by an opponent regardless of the outcome this season. Arkansas was down eight at halftime. Entering the game, the Jayhawks were 47-0 all time in the NCAA Tournament when leading by at least 8 points at halftime. Kansas was also 26-0 this season when leading at the half.
It was the third straight year that the Hogs faced a top seed in the Big Dance and second in a row it beat one. The last program to beat No. 1 seeds in back-to-back years was Butler in 2010 and ‘11. Ironically, Butler, like Arkansas this year, was a No. 8 seed in 2011.
Devo Davis was spectacular in the second half vs. KU and Ricky Council IV was clutch down the stretch. Davis poured in 25 points, including 21 in the second half, to help erase a 12-point deficit in the second half. After Davis fouled out late, Council sealed the victory by scoring 11 of the Hogs’ final 15 points, including the final five from the line.
Davis’ 25 led all scorers and was one shy of his career best. In the second half, he was 7-for-9 from the floor and 6-of-7 from the free throw line. Davis’ seven field goals were half of the Hogs’ 14 in the second half. Council scored 11 of his 21 points in the second half. Kamani Johnson was key late with a putback to give Arkansas the lead to go along with 10 rebounds – his most as a Razorback. Jordan Walsh added 10 points and three rebounds off the bench. He is a combined +34 in the two games so far.
This is just the second time Arkansas has reached the NCAA Sweet 16 in at least three straight seasons. The other time was a four-year stretch in 1996 (Sweet 16), ’95 (National Runner-up), ’94 (National Champion) and ‘93 (Sweet 16). The Razorbacks own a 50-34 all-time record in NCAA action.
Arkansas will be looking to advance to the NCAA Elite Eight in three consecutive seasons for the first time in program history. In 2021, Arkansas lost In the Elite Eight to eventual national champion Baylor. In 2022, Arkansas upset No. 1 overall seed Gonzaga in the Sweet 16 before falling to Duke in the Elite Eight.
Why Bet on UConn?
UConn (27-8) beat No. 13 Iona 87-63 in Round 1 and then No. 5 Saint Mary’s 70-55 in Round 2. SMC led four minutes into the second half before UConn took control. The Huskies hit multiple three-pointers in a three-minute stretch and suddenly turned a one-point game into a 51-40 Huskies lead thanks to a 10-0 run. Saint Mary’s usually holds an advantage over other teams in three-point shooting, but that was not the case on Sunday, as UConn went 10-22 and SMC was just 4-14. The Gaels are also typically winning the assist battle, but lost that 15-9. They were held under 60 points for just the fourth time this season.
UConn star Adama Sanogo followed up his 28-point game in the Huskies’ NCAA tourney opener against Iona with another powerful and efficient performance in the paint, totaling 28 points. The 245-pound junior was 11 for 16 from the floor and grabbed eight rebounds, dominating a big-man matchup with Mitchell Saxen (six points, three rebounds and four fouls).
Coach Dan Hurley’s team ranks second nationally in rebound margin (9.2), 7th in offensive rebounds per game (13.39), 7th in assists per game (17.3), 11th in scoring margin (13.5), 15th in rebounds per game (38.97), 15th in three-point field goal percentage defense (.300) and 17th in blocks per game (4.9). The Huskies dominate the offensive glass through Sanogo and rely on multiple shooters who make Hurley’s team so difficult to defend. Arkansas’ questionable shot selection and turnover issues could also be a problem against UConn’s transition offense.
UConn is in the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2014 when they won their fourth and last national title. UConn has been a No. 4 seed in the NCAA Tournament only once before, in the 2008 tourney, since the seeding process began in 1979. UConn bowed to San Diego in the 2008 first round, losing a 70-69 decision in overtime.
The Huskies have had success coming out of the West Region. The 2023 tournament marks the eighth time that the Huskies have been assigned to the West Region — 1995, 1999, 2004, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2022 and 2023. UConn won the National Championship in 1999, 2004 and 2011 and reached the Final Four in 2009.
- Razorbacks are 6-1 ATS in their last 7 neutral site games.
- Razorbacks are 5-11-1 ATS in their last 17 Thursday games.
- Huskies are 7-1 ATS in their last 8 games overall.
- Huskies are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games following a ATS win.
- Huskies are 18-6 ATS in their last 24 NCAA Tournament games.
UConn 72, Arkansas 69
UConn vs St. Mary’s – Second Round NCAA tournament
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