Connecticut vs Iowa State Picks, Spread, and Review

Connecticut (20-13 SU/13-15-1 ATS) made a strong showing in the Big East Tournament before falling to Syracuse (58-55) in the quarterfinals, but the Huskies will still have a chance to defend its title after winning it all last season, as remote as that may seem at this point.

After a 10-1 start to the season with a moderate non-conference schedule, UConn finished ninth in the Big East with an 8-10 league record. Jeremy Lamb leads four players in double figures with 17.7 ppg and is one of the top offensive threats in the land. Shabazz Napier is second in scoring with 12.7 ppg and also hands out a team-high 5.8 assists per game.

Freshmen Ryan Boatright, who missed some time in January due to eligibility issues, is scoring 10.5 ppg and Andre Drummond adds 10.2 ppg and a team-high 7.7 rpg. Alex Oriakhi also figures in the mix with 6.8 ppg and 4.8 rpg. Key non-conference wins came against Florida State (78-76 OT) and a 67-54 win against then 24th-ranked Harvard squad in early December.

Iowa State (22-10 SU/18-9-1 ATS) was one of this seasons surprises as the Cyclones cracked the Top 25 and held their own in the competitive Big-12 Conference. They managed to knock off Kansas (72-64), Kansas State (72-70) and Baylor (80-72, all at home, and they lost to their only ranked opponent in the early going in a 76-66 setback at Michigan.

Iowa State averages 73.5 ppg on offense and allows 66.6 ppg, which are both respectable numbers, but their strength lies from beyond the arc.

The Cyclones ranked first in the conference and seventh nationally in three-point field goal efficiency, making 279 treys at an impressive 38.2 percent clip. Royce White was the catalyst for the Cyclones all season long, earning First Team All-Big 12 honors as well as the Newcomer of the Year award.

White was the only player in the nation to lead his team in scoring (12.9 ppg), rebounding (9.2 rpg), assists (5.2 apg), steals (1.2) and blocks (1.0). He didn’t do it all by himself though as Scott Christopherson (12.6 ppg) and Chris Allen (12.0 ppg) combined for 135 three-pointers, while Melvin Ejim (9.4 ppg, 6.6 rpg), Chris Babb (8.2 ppg, 4.1 rpg) and Tyrus McGee (8.1 ppg, 3.4 rpg) round out a solid supporting cast.

Iowa State was a moneymaker this year as the Cyclones went 18-9-1 ATS, including 15-5-1 ATS lately. Iowa State is also 10-4-1 ATS as a dog of +6½ points or less and 20-7 ATS against winning teams, however, they haven’t fared well in neutral site game when getting points, going 3-10-1 ATS.

Connecticut is a tourney-tested team that does have four starters back from last year. The Huskies are 19-8 ATS in tournament games and 22-7 ATS when playing on a neutral court, as well as 13-1 SU and ATS in its last 14 postseason games.

Head coach Jim Calhoun is also an impressive 12-0 SU and 11-1 ATS against sees 6 through 9 in the NCAA Tournament and their tournament experience from last season is invaluable at this point. Lay the small spot.

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