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The March Madness Final Four did not disappoint, as we saw a dominant display from the UConn Huskies and a buzzer-beater for the ages from San Diego State’s Lamont Butler that catapulted the Aztecs into Monday night’s final. Now it’s time to determine the best parlay picks for college basketball’s championship game.

UConn continued to dominate the competition, coming into its Final Four matchup vs. Miami with a combined 90-point differential in victories against its first four opponents. That included a blowout 82-54 win over Gonzaga in the Elite Eight. The Huskies, who have strolled through the tournament, did more of the same after taking an early lead over the Hurricanes.

From the opening minutes, UConn took control. The Huskies went up 9-0 and never relinquished the lead -- forcing Miami to chase the game throughout. The Huskies dominated both ends of the floor in holding the Hurricanes to their lowest scoring total of the season. UConn allowed just 59 points against a team that had scored at least 85 in each of its previous three tournament games.

UConn in turn displayed an aggressive offense and gave its shooters plenty of open looks. The Huskies’ cuts to the basket -- and perfectly-timed passes to find those cutting -- proved this team’s chemistry is second to none. Connecticut big man Adama Sanogo was the star of the night, shooting 9-for-11 from the floor, including two early 3-pointers that helped the Huskies run out to a 9-0 lead.

This is a dangerous team that was able to close down a highly effective Miami offense and glide through the Hurricanes’ defense for yet another double-digit victory. So far, nobody has slowed down the 2023 UConn Huskies, and the only team left standing in their way is San Diego State.

On Saturday night, the Aztecs were forced to play a far more offensive game than was typical of their 2023 roster, as San Diego State broke a 12-game streak of unders in its 72-71 win over Florida Atlantic.

The Owls played a superb game and took their energetic offense to the Aztecs’ defense in the first half. They put together credible offensive plays -- opening up looks from deep off screens and cuts to the basket that often saw FAU players blow by defenders at high speed.

San Diego State found itself trailing 40-33 at the half before fighting its way back into the game over the final 20 minutes. The Aztecs made defensive adjustments, began limiting the open looks, and did a better job protecting the basket -- all resulting in a stalemate over the final four minutes.

FAU missed an opportunity to take a three-point lead and gave the ball back to San Diego State with under 10 seconds to play. The Aztecs’ Lamont Butler then called the game on a pull-up jumper from mid-range as the buzzer sounded at NRG Stadium.

Monday’s final has opened up with UConn a 7.5-point favorite on the Ohio Betway sportsbook. With that in mind, here are my NCAAB free picks and predictions for Monday’s NCAA basketball championship game.

UConn vs San Diego State Odds, Spread, Moneyline, Over/Under – NCAA basketball betting lines 4/3

Moneyline: UConn -350, San Diego +290
Spread: UConn -7.5, San Diego +7.5
Total: Over/Under 132.5 
Best College Basketball Same Game Parlay Picks for UConn vs San Diego State – 2023 NCAAB National Championship Game: 2-Leg Parlay Picks (+265)

Against the SpreadConsidering that San Diego State had put on a defensive master class in its previous tournament games, seeing the Aztecs allow 71 points against FAU has left a somewhat sour aftertaste.

The Aztecs pride themselves on their defense-first approach, but the Owls managed to set picks to open up perimeter shooters and cut to the basket with relative ease on multiple occasions. The Owls guards’ speed and aggression almost caught San Diego State unprepared, and without Butler’s heroic buzzer-beater, the Aztecs would have been on a plane home after the game.

While that might be true, we can’t simply ignore their performances prior to Saturday night. This Aztecs team has been the underdog at the tournament twice so far, including a 6.5-point spread against one of the favorites in Alabama. Not only did the Aztecs cover that margin, but they beat the Crimson Tide by seven points -- turning it into a 13.5-point swing against the spread.

However, UConn is a powerhouse on both ends of the floor. They protect the paint well and do a good job of closing out open looks from deep. If the Aztecs get into a shootout with UConn, it only ends one way.

UConn has covered the spread in all five of its tournament games so far, having done so in style. The Huskies have dominated opponents, holding comfortable leads throughout each game, including their 13-point win over Miami in the Final Four and the blowout of Gonzaga. Their rhythm and timing on offense are sensational, and they move the ball impeccably as a unit. UConn is playing with so much confidence, and Miami really didn’t manage to find an answer for it throughout Saturday’s game.

Nevertheless, during March Madness, I found a new admiration for San Diego State's mission to stay true to its strengths, and the Aztecs reached the tournament final as a result. They are better than Miami on defense and can switch and get out to perimeter shooters a lot faster. They have also already encountered talented forwards in this year's tournament and showed they can protect the paint, which should have them better prepared for UConn’s Sanogo.

Miami allowed too many poor defensive rotations to result in open looks from 3-point range, and they gave Sanogo too much space to operate on Saturday. If SDSU can avoid doing the same, even if they somehow get blown out another way, I’ll be able to live with my decision for my NCAAB picks and parlays here.

UConn is my favorite to win, but I have the Aztecs keeping themselves in it long enough to challenge the Huskies and cover the spread.

Leg-1 SGP Pick: San Diego State +7.5 (-110) 


How San Diego State starts this game will be really important. The Aztecs need to shut down open looks from beyond the arc and do a far better job of defending Sanogo than Miami did. If they want a chance to win, they must hold this powerful UConn team to no more than 70 points, which is not an easy task.

UConn has scored at least 82 points three times at the tournament so far, but when I looked into those games, I noticed they included a very high 103-shot attempts against Gonzaga and 21 free throws against Arkansas. The Aztecs won’t likely allow either of those things to happen, which, in my mind, keeps this game below 70 for both teams.

The Huskies led from the outset against Miami but only reached 72 points. The ‘Canes didn’t have the Aztecs’ energy on defense, and San Diego State has also shown it can maintain that energy for 40 minutes. While they over cashed for the first time in SDSU’s Final Four encounter, one reason for that was due to the sheer speed of FAU’s guards.

I think San Diego State can stay within reach by keeping the score in check for the majority of the night. While I know it’s not the glamorous pick for a tournament final, I fully back the under.

Leg-2 SGP Pick: Connecticut vs San Diego State Under 132.5 (-110)

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