Oh, how the mighty have fallen. UConn was once thought of as a clear top-2 team in the nation, one that could rival league leading Houston, but now are in the midst of a free fall by going 1-4 in their last five. Not even a Jordan Hawkins career game could propel them a win against St Johns, allowing that anemic offense to score 85 against them. Seton Hall brings a similar identity, a great defense coupled with a bleak offense. Can UConn get back on track?
UConn Vs. Seton Hall Odds
Oddsmakers think so as they opened the Huskies as a -5.5 favorite. Bettors disagree, believing this may be another fade spot as they backed Seton Hall down to +4 as of writing. It can’t be overstated how rough UConn has looked as of late, especially on the defensive end. This makes this matchup that much more intriguing as Seton Hall does not pose as much of an offensive threat, but may be capable of exploiting the reeling Huskies.
Speaking of points, oddsmakers believe points will be scored at a moderate pace by opening the total at 135.5. Bettors are in disagreement with oddsmakers, backing the over up to as high as 136.5 as of writing. This is heavily predicated on the potential success the Seton Hall Pirates offense may find due to the Huskies recent level of play, giving a poor shooting team life throughout the duration of the game.
UConn Vs. Seton Hall Prediction & Pick
The Pick: Wait for the UConn spread to keep dropping
Even with their poor recent level of play, I can’t help but feel that this is a gross over reaction. Especially with bettors already crashing this number down since the open. With that said, I will personally wait to see if this number continues to drop before I place a wager on UConn at their lowest point before tipoff. While I would be thrilled with a -3.5 or lower, I will have massive hopes for a -2.5.
Their offense is still efficient, providing more than enough firepower to crack the vaunted Seton Hall defense. Even though their shooting numbers have slightly regressed, they are still shooting a respectable 46.1% from the floor and 35.1% from the perimeter. They still currently rank 14th in Adjusted Offensive Efficiency per Kenpom, burning opposing defenses with a multilevel offensive attack.
A brunt of their scoring production comes from their star duo of forward Adama Sanogo and guard Jordan Hawkins. They are both hyper efficient shooters, capable of stretching out the defense with elite perimeter shooting or making cuts to the rim for high quality looks. This is exactly what they will need to do to keep the elite Seton Hall defense reeling as they currently rank top-20 in Adjusted Defensive Efficiency.
In order for them to create their open shots, it will come down to the facilitation of Tristen Newton and Andre Jackson Jr. Passing the ball for open looks is the key to beating elite defenses, especially units that rely on length and Havoc to slow down opposing offenses. Newton currently averages 4.1 assists per game while Jackson passes it around for another 4.6.
With productive facilitation and the ability to knock down open shots, the Huskies offense should face minimal resistance in their attempts to get back on track. Especially if they can keep the pace at their preferred tempo, scrambling Seton Hall and beating them for transitional buckets.
UConn Vs. Seton Hall Key Matchups
Can the reeling UConn defense limit the anemic Seton Hall offensive scoring production?
UConn perimeter defense vs Seton Hall three-point shooting
If UConn wants to go back to being regarded as an upper tier championship contender, then they will need to go back to suffocating opposing offenses like we saw earlier this season. Their metric still dictates them as a championship contender, but allowing the likes of St Johns, Xavier, and Marquette all to score 80+ on them is unacceptable.
Lucky for them, Seton Hall does not pose as an offensive threat as they struggle to generate their own open looks in a sluggish half court offense. Especially from the perimeter, shooting an abysmal 31.4% from deep. This allows UConn to collapse the paint, giving no clean looks at the rim for easy buckets. If UConn can do that, then they will be in prime position to get back on track with a win.
Wait to see how low the UConn spread can get before going against the steam in what poses as a bounce back for the Huskies.