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UConn takes on Iona today in the Round of 64. How will this No. 4 versus No. 13 matchup play out? Ben Rajavuori answers.
ANALYSIS

UConn vs. Iona Prediction, Pick Against the Spread, and Latest Odds for Round of 64

The 13th-seeded Iona Gaels watched Furman beat Virginia as a 13-seed yesterday and will now try to replicate the outcome against UConn. Iona and UConn take the court on March 17th in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Iona is on a 14-game winning streak entering the tournament, and UConn is looking to find its rhythm again. The game will tip-off at 4:30 p.m. ET, and I think this may be a more exciting game than most expect.

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UConn vs. Iona Prediction

UConn started their season on fire, going 14-0 and climbing to the No. 2 spot in the rankings. However, they ran into a wall and dropped six of their next eight games, falling out of the rankings entirely. They finished fourth in the Big East standings with a 13-7 conference record, and they lost to Marquette in the Big East Tournament semifinals.

On paper, UConn seems to do a lot of things better than Iona. They score 79.0 points per game, which ranks 29th in the country, while Iona ranks 64th with 76.6 points per game. The Huskies shoot 45.9 percent from the field, which ranks 105th, and they convert 75.8 percent from the free-throw line, which ranks 40th. Iona shoots 46.1 percent from the floor and 72.8 percent from the free-throw line. But, as we've seen time and time again in March Madness, it is not always that simple.

UConn is led by 6’ 9” center Adama Sanogo, who averages 16.8 points per game on 61% shooting. He also grabs 7.3 rebounds per game, and he will be a key player for the Huskies in this matchup. Other players to watch for the Huskies include sophomore guard Jordan Hawkins, senior guard Tristen Newton, freshman forward Alex Karaban, and freshman center Donovan Clingan, who all contribute to a balanced attack on offense.

Despite all of the things that look to work against Iona in this game, they have a great coach in Rick Pitino, and they have length underneath that can disrupt Sanogo. Junior forward Nelly Junior Joseph stands at 6’ 9”, and senior forward Osborn Shema is 7’ 0”. Iona's length could cause problems for UConn in the paint, and if they can limit Sanogo's production, they could come away with the win.

Iona has been on an incredible run. They haven't lost since late January when they fell to Siena on the road. While their schedule might not have been the toughest, they took care of business when they needed to, and they are now on a 14-game winning streak. Guard Walter Clayton Jr. leads Iona in scoring, averaging 16.9 points. A few other Gaels to watch include junior guard Daniss Jenkins, junior forward Nelly Junior Joseph, senior guard Berrick Jean-Louis, and senior forward Osborn Shema.

Iona might not have the flashiest statistics, but they find ways to win games. They are 64th in scoring offense, but they are 20th in assist-per-turnover ratio, which shows their ability to take care of the ball and make the most out of their possessions. They are also 8th in opponent three-point shooting percentage, holding teams to 29% from deep.

The odds are against Iona in this matchup, as UConn is a 9.5-point spread favorite. However, if there is one thing we have learned from March Madness, it is that anything can happen. Iona has a great coach, and they have the length to disrupt Sanogo. The matchup to watch today is underneath, where Iona has two good options to limit the big man. If they can limit him, the perimeter defense can shut down the outside threats. It may not be pretty, but Iona should cover in this game. I have them advancing in my bracket, which is a more ballsy call, but I at least like the points in this matchup.

UConn vs. Iona Prediction

Pick: Iona +9.5 @ (-110) Bet $100 to collect $190 DraftKings has the best odds; click here to bet

UConn vs. Iona Start Time and Where to Watch

  • Date: Friday, March 17
  • Time: 4:30 pm ET
  • Where to Watch: TBS

UConn vs. Iona Odds

Spread: Iona +9.5 (-110), UConn -9.5 (-110)

Moneyline: Iona (+370), UConn (-460)

Total: Over 141.5 (-105), Under 141.5 (-115)

Click here for UConn vs Iona odds

Article Author

NCAABBoxing/MMAMLBNHL

Ben Rajavuori is a handicapper out of Minneapolis, MN. He has been creating sports content for almost four years now and is an expert in all things NFL, MLB, NBA, UFC, and NCAAB. Ben thrives on diving deep into statistics to find the best angle on every bet. You can follow him on Twitter @WeBeatTheSpread.

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