Free Pick Breakdown, Odds & Championship: March Madness National Championship - #5 San Diego vs. #4 UConn (4/3/2023) - Taking Vegas



Free Pick Breakdown, Odds & Championship: March Madness National Championship – #5 San Diego vs. #4 UConn (4/3/2023)

By TakingVegas Staff Writer
April 3, 2023

#5 San Diego State Aztecs vs #4 UConn Huskies (4/3 @ 9:20 PM EST)

Spread: UConn -7.5
Moneyline: SDSU +285 / UConn -360
Total: 132.5

Overview and Betting Info

The #5 San Diego State Aztecs (32-6) will take on the #4 UConn Huskies (30-8) in the 2023 NCAA National Championship on Monday night. The Aztecs hit a buzzer-beater against #9 FAU to advance to their first Championship game in school history, while UConn continued their dominance by cruising past #5 Miami.

SDSU is 19-16-2 against the spread and have covered four of their five tournament games. They have gone over the total 15 times, but have been under in four of their five tournament games.

UConn is 26-11-1 versus the spread and have covered all five of their tournament games. They’ve gone over the total 20 times but have been under in three in of their five tournament games.

#5 San Diego State Aztecs

The Aztecs have had an incredible tournament run, topped off by a thrilling comeback win against FAU in the Final Four. The Aztecs could get back into the game by kicking their defensive play into high gear, and the Owls couldn’t find answers. The most surprising success was their ability to push around FAU’s seven-foot center. They struggled with the size of Creighton in the previous round, but they completely took away the inside of the paint for 90% of their win against FAU. It was impressive, but UConn will present much more of a challenge.

They dominated down low against FAU for most of the game by taking advantage of their center Vladislav Goldin. The sophomore big man looked lost down low, constantly being pushed down and away from the basket. Goldin folded under the pressure of the moment, and the Aztecs managed to hang on to the ball for almost three minutes thanks to nine offensive rebounds and a couple FAU turnovers. That won’t happen against a UConn team with more size, so the Aztecs must find a way to get their offense going to keep up with the Huskies.

SDSU is led by a trio of guards in Matt Bradley (12.7 PPG, 3.8 RPG, 36.5 30%), Darrion Trammell (9.7 PPG, 3.0 APG, 1.3 SPG), and Lamont Butler (8.7 PPG, 1.5 SPG, 42.0 FG%). Bradley broke out of a three-game slump by putting up 21 points and going 4-8 from three in the Final Four. However, there was a large stretch in the middle of the game where he completely disappeared. The Aztecs are short on scoring and will be facing a UConn defense that has been the best in the tournament, so he’ll need to be consistent to give SDSU a fighting chance. Trammell was bad against FAU, going 2-8 from the field for five points. He has had a solid tournament, but it was his third game making less than 37% of his shots. Butler hit the game-winner against FAU and finished with nine points and a steal. He is their most efficient shooter, but he’s only averaging 7.8 shots per game during the tournament. That is because he struggled to generate good looks, despite his impressive game-winner.

#4 UConn Huskies

UConn’s 13-point win over Miami was their closest game of the tournament after beating their other opponents by 15 or more points. The Huskies’ average margin of victory during their tournament run is now 20.8 points, making them one of the most dominant teams in the history of March Madness. The massive wins had some wondering how the Huskies would handle themselves in a close game, but that was answered against Miami. The Canes made several runs and cut UConn’s big leads down several times, but the Huskies did not falter. They stayed in the moment and played their game, quickly answering with runs to erase Miami’s momentum. UConn also completely flustered a top-25 Miami offense, limiting them to a 32.3% field goal percentage.

The Huskies have shut down two of the top offense in the country in back-to-back games. Now, they will face an SDSU squad that does not have consistent shooting from anyone. The Aztecs are an elite defensive team, but UConn faced a similar challenge in their 15-point win against a St. Mary’s team that was fifth in the country in opponent scoring. UConn scored 70 points on the Gaels and made 54% of their shots from the field. Only Gonzaga had done that, and they were the top offense in the country. It’s also worth mentioning that San Diego State was beaten by St. Mary’s on a neutral court.

UConn is loaded with talent, but they have been led by Adama Sanogo (17.2 PPG, 7.6 RPG, 60.7 FG%), Jordan Hawkins (16.2 PPG, 3.8 SRPG, 38.6 3P%), and Tristen Newton (9.8 PPG, 4.3 RPG, 4.7 APG, 1.1 SPG). Sanogo has been incredible during the tournament, averaging 20.2 points, 9.8 rebounds, and 1.4 steals while making 68% of his shots. He even hit a couple threes early in their game against Miami, showing just how confident he is right now. Sanogo has dominated down low and should be able to find success against a smaller Aztec team on Monday. Hawkins is an incredible scorer and is the Huskies’ most prolific three-point shooter. He had a down game against Miami by making 37.5% of his shots but could go 3-7 from three. Expect him to bounce back on Monday, as he scored 20+ points in their previous two games. Newton isn’t the scoring threat the other two are, but his passing ability makes him a crucial part of this team. He had eight assists against Miami to go with five rebounds and a steal. He hasn’t been shooting well, making under 34% of his shots in his last three games. Still, UConn’s depth means they don’t have to rely on his shot to have success. Keep an eye on Alex Karaban (9.4 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 48.1 FG%, 40.4 3P%) and Donovan Clingan (7.0 PPG, 5.7 RPG, 1.8 BPG, 65.5 FG%). Karaban is a solid rebounder and the most efficient shooter on this team. Clingan is a 7’2″ Freshman who has been playing like a senior. His numbers don’t jump off the page, but he uses his size to dominate down low. Expect him to have a career game against the Aztecs on Monday.

Free Pick: UConn -7.5

This game is going to be an absolute bloodbath. UConn is on an entirely different level than San Diego State, and it will lead to a blowout on Monday night. This UConn team is the best tournament team we have ever watched. San Diego State has had an incredible run, but they had no business winning their Final Four Game. FAU fell apart at the end and could not get a rebound for almost a full four minutes. The Aztecs weren’t playing that well on offense, but the second chances allowed them to mount the comeback and win the game at the buzzer. That won’t happen against Uconn with Clingan and Sanogo down low. They will bully the Aztecs on both sides, forcing their guards to hit shots from the outside. Those guards are not good shooters and will not be able to score consistently enough to keep up with the Huskies.

If you need more, look at SDSU’s win against Creighton. They struggled to stop the Jays’ seven-foot star, which almost cost them the game. In fact, they needed a foul call with one second left to win that game. That means they have their last two games by a combined 2 points. Get to your sportsbook right now and grab this line while you.

We’re giving up the points to take the Huskies and make easy money.