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College Basketball Betting — UConn and Florida Battle For Spot in National Title Game

The Florida Gators are a team that likes to think it came a long way since suffering an earlier defeat to the Connecticut Huskies. On Saturday, they get their opportunity to prove that, as they face-off against the Huskies again for an opportunity to proceed to the national championship game on Monday night. Final Four action in college basketball betting is scheduled to begin at 6:05 PM Eastern time at the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX.

Florida comes into this game with a record of 36-2 straight-up, with a 17-14 record against the points. This team has won 30 straight games, and the significance of that is not something to be ignored. The last team to win that many games coming into the Final Four was the Duke Blue Devils back in 1999.

Connecticut won the national championship in 2011, but last season had to sit out the post-season because of academic irregularities. The Huskies are 30-8 straight up and 21-15 against the basketball odds.

In the college basketball betting lines that have been established on this game by the people at BetDSI, the Gators are the favorites:

Florida Gators -6.5
Connecticut Huskies +6.5

Over 126.5 points -110
Under 126.5 points -110

Florida is one of those teams that is going to trade on a lot of experience coming into this one. And let’s face it; experience should count for something. Let’s start with the coaching staff. Billy Donovan is in his fourth Final Four with the Gators, and made it to the Elite Eight the last three seasons but failed to advance. He has two national titles under his belt – the 2006 and 2007 teams that were anchored by the likes of Joakim Noah, Corey Brewer and Al Horford. Kevin Ollie, the former NBA player who is the head coach at UConn, has not been to the post-season before this year. But remember, he had some very difficult shoes to fill after Jim Calhoun stepped down. And he’ll get some home cooking here, as he is a native of the Dallas area.

The Gators (the -350 money line favorite at BetDSI) are starting four seniors, and they get very solid play up front with 6-9 Patric Young, who averages 6.2 rebounds per game, and 6-6 Casey Prather, who is a 13.8 ppg scorer. All of this is brought together by yet another senior, point guard Scottie Wilbekin, who is also an acknowledged defensive leader of this team.

This Florida team is balanced like some of Billy Donovan’s previous championship teams, although it may not have as much marquee talent. maybe the experience makes up for some of that. And perhaps one edge for them is that none of the other three teams left in the Final Four are strangers to them (they also played Kentucky three times).

Obviously a rematch with either Wisconsin or Kentucky would be an interesting encounter. But there is enough intrigue for BetDSI customers in the rematch close at hand, as the Huskies won in very dramatic fashion on December 2. In a sense, the game reflected a lot of the numbers that these teams produced this season, with Connecticut making 73% of its free throws and 11 shots from three-point range, which made up for the fact that Florida shot 49% from the field and had a 34-26 rebounding advantage. When all was said and done, it came down to a buzzer-beater by Shabazz Napier, the guard for UConn who is about the closest thing to a “superstar” that we really have left in this tournament. Napier was very difficult to stop on that particular day, as he made five of his eight tries from beyond the three-point arc and finished with 26 points.

It is more difficult to pull away from an opponent and create some distance when you don’t have a big edge with incredible efficiency at the free-throw line or behind the arc, so Florida is going to have to shoot a lot better than the 31% triples it has had thus far in the tournament, and Connecticut will have to really cool down from the 88% it is shooting from the foul line during the Big Dance.
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