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No. 7 Connecticut vs. No. 10 Maryland preview for NCAA Tournament first-round matchup

The No. 7 Connecticut and No. 10 Maryland face off in the first round of the 2021 NCAA tournament. We’ve got an initial preview of what and how to watch following Selection Sunday.

 Adama Sanogo #21 of the Connecticut Huskies goes to the basket as Mitch Ballock #24, Christian Bishop #13, and Damien Jefferson #23 of the Creighton Bluejays defend in the first half during the Semifinals of the Big East Tournament at Madison Square Garden on March 12, 2021 in New York City. Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images

The NCAA Tournament begins on Thursday, March 18th with the First Four, and then moves on to the first round on Friday, March 15 and Saturday, March 16. The No. 7 seed Connecticut Huskies will face the No. 10 seed Maryland Terrapins in the first round. Game time has yet to be announced but we will update this article with that and game odds as soon as it comes available. For now, we’ve got a preliminary preview of the two teams to get you ready for March Madness!

Once the odds from DraftKings Sportsbook are made available for this game, we’ll add that information below. We’ll also add the game time and TV channel once it’s settled.

Game date: Saturday, March 20
Game time: 7:10 p.m. ET
TV channel: CBS
Location: Mackey Arena

Odds: UConn -2.5
Over/Under: 131.5

No. 7 Connecticut

The Connecticut Huskies saw a fair number of their games canceled or postponed this season, but they appeared to have found their stride down the stretch of the regular season. UConn’s leading scorer James Bouknight was sidelined with an injury in early January but came back for the final few games of the regular season and has been flawless in his return. He has increased his scoring average to 20.5 points per game to go along with 5.8 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 1.4 steals.

Connecticut gets a lot of their production from their guards as Tyrese Martin is leading the team in rebounding with 7.5 rebounds per game to go along with 11.6 points. In addition, R.J. Cole is putting up 12.8 points per game and leading the team with 4.2 assists per matchup. As a team, the Huskies rank inside the top 30 in KenPom as well as the latest adjusted offensive and defensive efficiency metrics.

Record: 15-7, 11-6 Big East
KenPom adjusted offensive efficiency: 24
KenPom adjusted defensive efficiency: 25
ATS: 16-5-1
Over Total: 11-11
Odds to win NCAA Championship: +3000

No. 10 Maryland

Despite an up-and-down regular season, the strength of the Big Ten has propelled the Maryland Terrapins back into the NCAA Tournament. Ranked 41st in KenPom and 27th in adjusted efficiency on defense, the Terrapins enter the big dance having fought their way through of the toughest Big Ten schedules in recent memory. Sitting at 4-9 in conference play and virtually dead in the water in early February, Mark Turgeon’s squad rattled off five straight victories in the conference to put them right back on the bubble.

A huge contributing factor to Maryland’s success on the defensive end was senior guard Darryl Morsell, who took home Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year honors. Helping provide a spark on the offensive end were junior Big Ten Honorable Mention guards Eric Ayala and Aaron Wiggins, both of whom combine to average 28.8 points and 10 rebounds a game.

Record: 16-13, 9-11 ACC
KenPom adjusted offensive efficiency: 41
KenPom adjusted defensive efficiency: 27
ATS: 12-16
Over Total: 12-15-1
Odds to win NCAA Championship: +10000