- No. 19 Auburn (3-0) takes on No. 22 UConn in a Battle 4 Atlantis matchup Wednesday, November 24th, at 2:30 pm ET at Paradise Island
- The Tigers are coming off a 58-52 road win against South Florida, while the Huskies beat Binghamton 87-63 at home to remain undefeated
- See the current moneyline, point spread, and game total, plus predictions
The No. 22 Auburn Tigers (3-0) — who were picked to finish fifth in the SEC preseason poll — aim to keep their record spotless against the No. 22 Connecticut Huskies (4-0) Wednesday in a Battle for Atlantis tournament matchup from The Bahamas. Tip off is at 2:30 pm ET on ESPN. The victor gets the winner of the Michigan State-Loyola tussle on Thanksgiving Day.
UConn enters the contest as slight favorites according to oddsmakers and KenPom predicts the Huskies will win 72-71.
Auburn vs Connecticut Odds
|Team||Moneyline||Spread at FanDuel||Total|
Odds as of November 23rd, 2021.
Bruce Pearl’s team features three players — KD Johnson, Jabari Smith and Wendell Green — averaging in double-figures and is coming off a six-point victory against the Bulls that saw the Tigers rally in the second half for a second straight game.
Meantime, Dan Hurley’s club has five players putting up double-digit scoring and excels from beyond the arc, with Tyrese Martin (71.4%), Akok Akok (71.4%), and Jalen Gaffney (61.5%) all shooting better than .500 from distance..
Auburn enters the contest as the lower-rated (30th vs. 22nd) of the two teams, per KenPom. But don’t let that — or the fact that the Tigers has had to rally in their last two games to win — fool you. Pearl has recruited a roster headlined by a pair of players with strong NBA prospects in Johnson and Smith.
2nd Jabari Smith pullup 3 in transition in 3 games so far. Just unusual to see a 6-10, 18-year-old do this so early with this much decisiveness. pic.twitter.com/X1bR8Tz5YN
— Jonathan Wasserman (@NBADraftWass) November 23, 2021
It was Smith’s 3-pointer ten minutes into the second half Friday that gave Auburn its first lead of the game at 42-40. The freshman forward from the Atlanta area is averaging 13.3 points (second on the team) and 8.7 rebounds (first on the team) per game early on after picking up his first career double-double in a win over Louisiana-Monroe. He went for nine points and ten rebounds against USF.
Johnson had a team-high 15 in the victory and Pearl gushed about him after the game, calling him dangerous and saying he has the ability to do things against the best players on Auburn’s schedule.
KD Johnson just winked at the camera and I think the entire city of Auburn just blushed#WarEagle
— Gabe Keeter (@gabe_keeter) November 20, 2021
Auburn thrives on the defensive end, ranked 31st in the country per KenPom, and has faced slightly better competition thank UConn. The Tigers are holding their opponents to an impressive 42.5% effective field goal percentage (33rd nationally). Even more impressive: Auburn holds its opponents to just 28.6% from beyond the arc. This has the makings of a slugfest.
UConn Take It With You
UConn’s overall rating (22nd) on KenPom trails only Villanova (8th) in the Big East. But when you dive in deeper regarding the Huskies defensive statistics, Hurley’s club appears to be set up to frustrate many teams along the way during the 2021-22 slate.
Hawkins from the XL Logo🔥🔥
— UConn Men's Basketball (@UConnMBB) November 20, 2021
The Big East team is rated in the top-10 by KenPom in defensive effective field goal percentage, (5th), defensive turnover percentage (4th), 2-point defensive field goal percentage (7th), defensive steal percentage (9th) and defensive non-steal turnover percentage (10th).
Plus, from an offensive standpoint, the Huskies have buckets (pun intended) of talent. Sophomore forward Adam Sanogo leads the team with his 15.8 points per game average –and his 6.3 rebounds per game average isn’t too shabby, either. Martin is averaging 13.5 and 6.5,respectively and is one of the best guard/wing rebounders in the country,
Auburn may be slightly more battle-tested, but the Huskies should be a force to be reckoned with all season and certainly Wednesday.
At the end of the day, these are two well-coached teams filled with outstanding players. Ultimately, this one will likely come down to which group is more patient with the ball and limits mistakes. Both teams thrive in transition and generate offense from their defense. Turnovers will be key.
That’s where I go back to that defensive turnover percentage. The disparity (4th for UConn and 100th for Auburn) is glaring.
When you look at the Huskies, they remind many of Houston. The adjectives “competitive” and “relentless” come to mind when describing both, taking on the personality of their fiery coaches. That’s why I’m rolling with UConn to win this one.
Pick: Connecticut -3.5 (-110)