NCAA Preview: No. 3 Connecticut vs. No. 2 San Diego St.

2011 Final Four logoSweet Sixteen betting action in the NCAA Tournament begins on Thursday night as No. 3 Connecticut (28-9 SU, 20-11 ATS) takes on No. 2 San Diego State (34-2 SU, 22-12 ATS) in the West region (7:15 p.m. ET, CBS).

The Huskies have had an easy time in their first two games with wins over Bucknell 81-52 as 10.5-point favorites and Cincinnati 69-58 as a 4-point chalk.

Meanwhile, San Diego State routed Northern Colorado 68-50 as 14.5-point favorites in their first game but was taken to double overtime by Temple in the second game winning 71-64 as a 6-point chalk.

Despite having the higher seed and an edge in fan support with the game being in Anaheim, San Diego State is listed as a 1-point underdog at; the total is set at 128.5. On the moneyline, the Huskies are -120; the Aztecs are +100.

San Diego State has been inconsistent on offense this season but the Aztecs’ defense continues to carry them – SDSU ranks No. 6 in the country in scoring defense and they control the boards.

The Aztecs play a tough man-to-man defense and they have athletic forwards like 6-foot-7 Kawhi Leonard (15.6 ppg, 10.6 rpg) and 6-foot-8 Billy White (10.1 ppg, 4.4 rpg) who make it difficult for opposing players.

San Diego State has needed that great defense because they didn’t shoot the ball well against Northern Colorado in the opener and they weren’t that great against Temple either.

That defense will be tested on Thursday by Connecticut’s Kemba Walker, who has averaged 25.5 points, 7 rebounds and 8.5 assists in wins over Bucknell and Cincinnati. Walker has carried the Huskies this season and he could be the difference on Thursday.

Here are some key college basketball betting stats for Thursday’s game:

The Huskies are 8-0 ATS in their last eight non-conference games. The Huskies are 6-1 ATS in their last seven NCAA Tournament games. The Huskies are 6-13 ATS in their last 19 Thursday games.

The Aztecs are 4-0 ATS in their last four games overall. The Aztecs are 9-3 ATS in their last 12 non-conference games. The Aztecs are 3-7-1 ATS in their last 11 Thursday games.

The over is 8-3 in the Huskies’ last 11 NCAA Tournament games. The under is 5-2 in the Aztecs’ last seven non-conference games. The under is 5-2 in the Aztecs’ last seven neutral site games.

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