UConn doesn’t look like the team that dominated its early-season schedule, but the Huskies recently picked up a huge home win over Marquette. Is that a positive sign of what’s to come? Seton Hall is in for a challenge on the road. Shaheen Holloway’s team needs a great finish to have a chance at an NCAA Tournament bid, and a win over UConn would go a long way toward that goal.
Let’s take a look at the odds and make some picks and predictions for Saturday’s matchup in Storrs.
Seton Hall vs. UConn Prediction & Pick
UConn should respond to last weekend’s loss to Creighton and January’s road loss to Seton Hall and win this game. With the way Seton Hall has started to play, though, I’m not sure it’ll be this comfortable of a win for the Huskies.
The Pirates are allowing 62.7 points per game over their last 10 and have started to resemble the style Holloway’s Saint Peter’s team had last season. The defense should be set up well against what has become a hit-or-miss UConn offense, with the only concern being the crowd taking full control of the game.
A win will be difficult for Seton Hall thanks to a limited offense that overperformed in some ways against UConn last time around and probably won’t do serious damage in this tough road environment. Still, the Pirates have enough fight in them to keep this game within reach. Seton Hall +10 is the pick.
Seton Hall vs. UConn Odds
UConn enters as a 10-point favorite, sitting at -530 on the moneyline. The over/under is 134.5 points.
The Huskies actually trail Seton Hall in the Big East standings, but oddsmakers expect a big performance from UConn on Saturday. Dan Hurley’s team has been strong at home, going 12-2 so far, but the Pirates have won seven of their last 10 and have started to adapt Shaheen Holloway’s gritty mentality. Will it be enough to keep this game close?
Seton Hall vs. UConn Key Matchups
UConn was so dominant early in the season because the team was so well-balanced. The defense has gotten on track lately – it’s tough to blame the unit for giving up 80+ points to Xavier or 72 to Marquette – but the offense remains inconsistent. A 53-point showing on the road against Creighton (still only a three-point loss) was a disappointing development after the win over Marquette.
For the most part, big man Adama Sanogo has consistently produced. Sanogo should score points even against a strong interior defense. He was limited on the boards last time these two faced, but that seems like a fluke. Sanogo battled foul trouble in that game, and Seton Hall still got out-rebounded 38-30.
The rest of the offense needs to step up. Players not named Sanogo shot 38.1% on two-point attempts against the Pirates last time out. It feels like Jordan Hawkins is the x-factor here. He’s had some offensive explosions and equally as many forgettable games. Eight of his nine games with 20+ points this season have come at home, which is a great sign.
What was once a medley of offensive options has become Sanogo, sometimes Hawkins, and sometimes Tristen Newton for UConn. At least one of Hawkins and Newton needs to step up against a Seton Hall team that defends the three well.
Seton Hall has a small size disadvantage here. The Pirates will likely have to deal with getting out-rebounded, though they block shots well. That’s meaningful against Sanogo.
Notably, UConn hasn’t just defended the three well this season – the Huskies have also limited attempts. Only three teams allow fewer three-point tries than Dan Hurley’s squad.
Seton Hall doesn’t shoot the three well and doesn’t live or die by the three, so this game will probably have to be won closer to the basket. That’s exactly what happened in January, when the Pirates beat this team despite shooting 4-of-21 from beyond the arc. Kadary Richmond and KC Ndefo played very well against the Huskies’ interior defense, and UConn can’t let that happen again.
Even with a great defense, it’s unlikely the Huskies will hold Al-Amir Dawes (17 PPG in his last five games) to such a poor shooting performance again. At the same time, it’s hard to believe both Richmond and Ndefo will have such strong days on the offensive end this time. UConn’s interior defense isn’t the same as its three-point defense, but it’s too good – especially if Sanogo stays out of foul trouble this time – to allow that to happen twice.