UConn or Iona? How to pick 4 vs. 13 matchup in 2023 March Madness bracket

A talented UConn roster faces their first Test of March Madness 2023 against Rick Pitino and MAAC Champion Iona Gaels.

The fourth-seeded Huskies are entering the dance with an impressive nine-win streak in their last 11 games. After a rough patch in early 2023, they seem to be heating up at just the right time to get into the tournament. With two first-round eliminations in the last two years, Dan Hurley’s team is finally looking to prove they belong on college basketball’s biggest stage.

Pitino and the 13th-seeded Gaels drove to a win in the Metro Atlantic Tournament to secure a place in this year’s field, but the competition is about to get a lot tougher. They must do their best to overcome the excitement and advance to the second round.

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Will UConn take care of business and win a first round game for the first time in seven years? Or will Pitino and his valiant Iona squad blast some brackets with a disgruntled victory? We’ve provided you with all the information you need to make your choice:

UConn vs Iona Odds

The 4v13 matchup is scheduled to begin Friday, March 17 at 4:30pm ET at MVP Arena in Albany, NY. The game will be televised on TBS, with Spero Dedes, Deb Antonelli and AJ Ross calling from the New York capital.

According to BetMGM odds, UConn opened as a clear favorite against underdog Iona.

  • Opportunities: UConn (-9.5)
  • Date: Friday March 17th
  • Time: 4:30 p.m. ET
  • TV: TBS
  • Arena: MVP Arena, Albany, NY

EXPERT PACKAGES: DeCourcy (Alabama) | Bender (Kansas) | Fagan (Marquette) | Pohnl (Kansas)

UConn (25-8, 13-7 Big East)

The Huskies started the season with a tear, winning their first 14 games and rising to No. 2 in the national rankings. This winning streak included impressive victories over Alabama, Iowa State, Oklahoma State and Oregon. But the start of 2023 coincided with a major slump, and a stretch of six losses in eight games saw the team plummet in the ranks.

The good news for UConn fans is that the slump appears to be over. The team managed to put the ship back in order and finish the regular season with five straight wins. The last time we saw it in action was a narrow 70-68 loss to Marquette in the semifinals of the Big East Tournament.

One of the most balanced teams in this year’s field, the Huskies can beat opponents in a variety of ways. They excel at offensive rebounding and have the second best rebounding margin in the nation. Striker Adama Sanogo is capable of dominating the color, and perimeter playmakers like Jordan Hawkins and Tristen Newton can rain three-pointers. When the offense gets into a rhythm, this is a team with legitimate Final Four potential.

  • NET Ranking: 8th
  • KenPom Ranking: 4
  • Quad 1 record: 7-6
  • Quad 2 record: 6-1
  • Quad 3 record: 4-1
  • Quad 4 record: 8-0
  • Offensive efficiency ranking: 10
  • defensive performance: 14

key figures

Adama Sanogo, F, Jr. (6-9, 245): 16.8 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 1.3 apg

Jordan Hawkins, G, So. (6-5, 195): 16.1 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 1.4 apg

Tristen Newton, G, Sr. (6-5, 190): 10.2 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 4.2 apg

Iona (27-7, 17-3 Metro Atlantic)

Rick Pitino is back in the dance after guiding Iona to her second tournament appearance in three years. The Gaels stormed through the MAAC tournament, winning every game by double digits to redeem their ticket to March Madness.

Their greatest strength lies on defense, where they’ve limited opposing teams to a 3-point percentage of just 29.2 percent — the seventh-best mark in the country. They also rank 15th in the country in terms of defense efficiency.

But that doesn’t mean they’re slouches on offense. With three players averaging over 15 points per game (Clayton Jr., Jenkins, Joseph), the New Rochelle, NY team can score with just about anyone.

However, a 0-3 record in games of Quadrant 1 and 2 is a worrying statistic and they have not played against a team even remotely as good as UConn all season. It will be a very tough test for Pitino and his side to advance to the second round.

  • NET Ranking: 58
  • KenPom Ranking: 74
  • Quad 1 record: 0-1
  • Quad 2 record: 0-2
  • Quad 3 record: 7-2
  • Quad 4 record: 20-2
  • Offensive efficiency ranking: 32
  • defensive performance: 15

key figures

Walter Clayton Jr., G, So. (6-2, 195): 16.9 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 3.2 apg

Daniss Jenkins, G, Jr. (6-3, 175): 15.6 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 4.9 apg

Nelly Junior Joseph, F, Jr. (6-9, 240): 15.1 ppg, 9.4 rpg, 1.1 apg

15 against 2 | 14 against 3 | 13 against 4 | 12 against 5

UConn vs Iona Prediction

The key to the game for UConn will be winning the rebound fight and keeping Iona’s defense on his heels. The internal battle between Sanogo and Joseph should be fun, but with many pundits predicting Sanogo will be a first-round NBA draft pick, you need to give him an edge. Hawkins’ offensive playmaking ability could also be an X-factor for the Huskies.

Iona must suppress UConn’s dynamic offense to even stand a chance of an upset. Good defense, balanced scoring and avoiding foul problems are vital for the Gaels.

Go here with UConn. As tempting as it is to give Pitino and the Gaels a chance to stir things up, the Huskies are heating up at just the right time and appear primed for a March run. Iona just hasn’t proven themselves against top opponents this season, and it’s too risky to expect them to do so for the first time in the NCAA tournament.

The winner meets either Saint Mary’s with 5 players (a possible matchup between Gaels and Gaels should Iona win) or VCU with 12 players in the second round.

History of 4 vs. 13 matches in NCAA tournament

Overall, the No. 4 seeds have a 121-31 advantage over the No. 13 seeds since the NCAA tournament roster expanded to 64 teams in 1985.

While these odds don’t seem good for No. 13 seeds, there were two that could create excitement for No. 4 seeds in 2021. Apart from that, all #4 seeds made progress in 2022.

Below is a breakdown of wins achieved by 13 seeds versus 4 seeds since the tournament was expanded in 1985:

Year Result score
1985 navy def. LSU 78-55
1987 State of Missouri def. Clemson 65-60
1987 Xavier defeated. Missouri 70-69
1988 Richmond defeated. Indiana 72-69
1989 Middle Tennessee def. State of Florida 97-83
1991 Penn State def. UCLA 74-69
1992 Southwest Louisiana defeated. Oklahoma 87-83
1993 South Def. georgia tech 93-78
1995 Manhattan defeated. Oklahoma 77-67
1996 Princeton defeated. UCLA 43-41
1998 Valparaíso defeated. Ole Fraulein 70-69
1999 Oklahoma defeated. Arizona 61-60
2001 State of Indiana def. Oklahoma 70-68
2001 Kent State def. Indiana 77-73
2002 UNC Wilmington defeated. U.S.C 93-89
2003 Tulsa defeated. Dayton 84-71
2005 Vermont defeated. Syracuse 60-57
2006 Bradley defeated. Kansas 77-73
2008 Siena defeated. Vanderbilt 83-62
2008 San Diego defeated. UConn 70-69
2009 State of Cleveland def. guard forest 84-69
2010 Murray State def. Vanderbilt 66-65
2011 Morehead state def. Louisville 62-61
2012 Ohio def. Michigan 65-60
2013 La Salle def. State of Kansas 63-61
2016 Hawaii Def. California 77-66
2018 buffalo def. Arizona 89-69
2018 Marshall def. State of Wichita 81-75
2019 UC Irvine defeated. State of Kansas 70-64
2021 North Texas def. Purdue 78-69 (AT)
2021 Ohio def. Virginia 62-58

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