Illinois @ UConn 3/30/24 Free Pick, NCAAB Odds, NCAAB Predictions

Illinois (29-8) at UConn (34-3)

Game Info: Saturday, March 30th, 2024 at  6:09 p.m. EST (TD Garden)

Betting Odds: UConn -8.5 (-110) - Over/Under (154.5)

Pick: UConn -8.5 (-110)

Illinois and Connecticut will play for a spot in the final four here on Saturday night in Boston. Both of these teams have put together respectable tournament runs, and they have done it in two very different ways along the first three rounds of their tournament journey. Now they will cross paths here in the elite eight as only one of them can continue. Illinois has put together a quality season and this is their deepest run in quite some time while Connecticut will look to become the first school in nearly 2 decades to win back-to-back national championships. This should be a solid game between two of the top teams in the country here on Saturday night at TD Garden in Boston. As the East region will be decided here in this one.

Illinois has put together a consistent tournament run and they are coming off of a solid victory against Iowa State in the previous round. They will look to keep the momentum rolling with another solid performance here on Saturday night against the defending national champions. As they will look to be the first team in this tournament, that gives Connecticut a competitive matchup after three consecutive blowout victories by the Huskies. Illinois comes into this game closing in on 30 victories on the season through their first 37 games of the year and a victory in this one would put them at that 30 win plateau and in the final four as well. 

This is the first elite eight appearance for Illinois in nearly 20 years and if they accomplish the task and win this game, it will be their first final four appearance in 20 years as well. Despite plenty of success over the years, this is a program that has yet to lift the national championship trophy in the tournament era and they will look to do so for the first time and it starts with grabbing a victory over Connecticut here on Saturday night in Boston. They have won one previous national title back in the early 1900s when it was decided by a poll. A victory in this game over the defending national champions will be a program, defining victory for Illinois.

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The Connecticut Huskies have been on an incredible run throughout the NCAA tournament as they have won their first three games by double digits. They will look to do so for the fourth consecutive game in a row here on Saturday night against Illinois in Boston, as they look to advance to their second consecutive final four. Connecticut ran roughshod throughout the season and won both the regular season and conference tournament title in the Big East and now they will look at a second consecutive national championship as well. Connecticut has a nearly 29 point margin of victory through their first three tournament games and they will look to add to that number with a blowout win over Illinois here in this one.

If they accomplish their ultimate goal of winning a second consecutive national title, they will be the first team in 17 years to accomplish that feat. If they continue to play the way they have throughout the last several weeks then they're more than likely going to run their way to a second title in a row. As they have clearly looked like the best team in the country throughout the early stages of the tournament and the late stages of the regular season. They will look to slow down a highflying Illinois offense in this game and put up plenty of points of their own in route to a regional championship in Boston on Saturday night. 

Betting trends to consider in this matchup:

- UConn is 30-3 after a win 

- UConn is 34-2 as a favorite 

- UConn is 13-1 out of conference 

I look for this game to go pretty similar to how Connecticut’s first three tournament games have gone this season. Connecticut has picked up three consecutive blowout victories, and I expect them to grab a fourth consecutive blowout victory to book their place in the final four. I look for them to control this game from start to finish and I look for them to put a pounding on Illinois throughout 40 minutes. I can’t see Illinois stopping them, as their journey continues to win a second consecutive national championship. Connecticut has the best team in the country all season and I expect more of the same here on Saturday night in Boston.

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