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Arkansas vs UConn Predictions, Odds, and Picks: Huskies' Two-Way Dominance Cooks Razorbacks

Sweet 16 action is set to kick off with Arkansas and UConn clashing Thursday. Arkansas' defense made up for its poor offense last round, but our college basketball betting picks don't expect the Razorbacks to luck out against the Huskies' onslaught.

Last Updated: Mar 23, 2023 1:17 PM ET Read Time: 4 min

The No. 8 seed Arkansas Razorbacks are set to face off against the No. 4 seed UConn Huskies in the Sweet 16 this evening.

The Razorbacks are coming off a thrilling upset victory over top-seeded Kansas and will look to enter the Elite Eight for the third year in a row. Meanwhile, UConn hasn't broken a sweat in the first two rounds and is expected to prevail again with March Madness odds opening with the Huskies as 3.5-point favorites.

Here are my best free Arkansas vs. UConn college basketball picks for March 22. Be sure to also check out our March March Madness picks for all Sweet 16 action.

Arkansas vs UConn best odds

Arkansas vs UConn picks and predictions

The Razorbacks knocked off the defending champs despite allowing them to shoot 48% from the floor and shooting 41% themselves (including just 20% from beyond the arc). They trailed by as many as 12 points in the second half and generating extra chances from 14 offensive rebounds was their key to victory. 

It was a shocking outcome for Arkansas, a team who had struggled with closing out games all season and managed to win despite not getting a single point from star freshman Nick Smith Jr.

Although there should be some positive regression from Smith, the Razorbacks won't have anywhere near as much success on the glass. After all, they benefitted from Kansas' top big K.J. Adams sitting out with foul trouble for almost 10 minutes while UConn is second in the country in rebound rate (56.8%).

Arkansas shoots poorly from beyond the arc and mid-range and is at its best when it can run the floor on the fastbreak and attack the rim. Unfortunately, the Huskies are 35th in the country in transition defense and 13th in defensive efficiency at the rim per ShotQualityBets

On the other side of the ball, the Huskies have the ball movement, spacing, and offensive versatility to find the holes in Arkansas' typically stingy defense. In particular, the Razorbacks sit outside the Top 140 when it comes to defending cuts as well as pick and rolls, while UConn is in the Top 50 in offensive efficiency when running both plays. 

It's also interesting that KenPom (which typically influences betting odds) has UConn projected to win this contest by six points while the line sits at -3.5. Factors like injuries, lineup changes, travel, and recent form can affect the odds but in this matchup, none of those lean toward the underdogs.  

My best bet: UConn -3.5 (-110 at DraftKings)

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Arkansas vs UConn spread analysis

The Huskies cruised to double-digit victories against Iona and Saint Mary's to begin this tournament, easily covering as faves on both occasions.

Meanwhile, Arkansas defeated Illinois 73-63 in the Round of 64 before rallying to shock Kansas in the second round. It was a much-needed boost of confidence for Eric Musselman's team who stumbled into the tournament, having lost four of its previous five games. 

The Huskies were dominant during the non-conference portion of their schedule but hit a snag at the start of Big East play. They went 2-6 SU and ATS during a particularly ugly stretch in January but settled down towards the end of the season. They've won 11 of their last 13 and their only defeats during that span were close losses to Big East champs Marquette and fellow Sweet-16 squad Creighton on the road. 

UConn is one of just four teams in the country that ranks in the Top 20 in both adjusted offensive efficiency (third) and adjusted defensive efficiency (14th) according to KenPom. Arkansas is 15th in adjusted defensive efficiency while ranking 51st on the offensive end of the floor. 

Ricky Council leads the Razorbacks with 16.1 ppg, while five-star freshman Anthony Black averages 12.6 points, 5.1 rebounds, and 4.0 assists per game.

Smith (12.6 ppg) was the No. 1 recruit in the country according to 247Sports but has struggled with injuries and consistency as a freshman. He closed out the regular season with a slew of 20-point games but managed just six points against Illinois in the opening round before getting shut out by Kansas.

The Huskies are anchored by the inside/outside combo of Adama Sanogo (17.3 ppg, 7.5 rpg, 60.5 FG%) and Jordan Hawkins (15.9 ppg and 2.9 treys per game).

Arkansas vs UConn Over/Under analysis

Both teams have been playing in lower-scoring games lately, with the Under cashing in the Razorbacks' last three contests and the O/U 1-5 in UConn's previous six games. 

These teams are stingy on defense, especially when it comes to protecting the rim and defending the 3-point line — the two-most efficient spots to shoot from. 

The Razorbacks also rank outside the Top 300 in 3-point percentage (31.3% against Div 1 foes) and will need to keep getting to the free-throw line at a high rate if they want to put up points on a slower-paced UConn squad.

Keep in mind that while Arkansas shoots a respectable 53.1% from 2-point range, that number has dropped to just 45.7% in its last three games.

In addition, Both sides have had issues with giving the ball away with Arkansas 178th in turnover rate (1.8%) and UConn 231st (18.3%).

Arkansas vs UConn betting trend to know

The Huskies are 6-1 ATS in their last seven games vs. a team with a winning percentage above .600. Find more college basketball betting trends for Arkansas vs UConn.

Arkansas vs UConn game info

Region: West
Location: T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas, NV
Date: Thursday, March 23, 2023
Tip-off: 7:15 p.m. ET

Arkansas vs UConn key injuries


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