Best College Basketball Prop Bets for Illinois vs. UConn (Tristen Newton's Player Prop to Target)

Mar 28, 2024; Boston, MA, USA; Connecticut Huskies guard Tristen Newton (2) reacts against the San
Mar 28, 2024; Boston, MA, USA; Connecticut Huskies guard Tristen Newton (2) reacts against the San / Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

A spot in the Final Four is on the line in Boston, Massachusetts with defending champion UConn taking on Illinois. 

WIth a high total and stars on both sides of the floor, which player props are worth taking in this Elite Eight showdown? I have three, including UConn’s lead ball handler Tristen Newton and emerging star Stephon Castle, but I’m also taking a unique approach to Illinois’ Marcus Domask and his three-point player prop. 

Here’s my player prop analysis for the East Regional Final on Saturday night: 

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Best College Basketball Prop Bets for Illinois vs. UConn

  • Stephon Castle OVER 4.5 Rebounds
  • Tristen Newton OVER 5.5 Assists
  • Marcus Domask Under 1.5 Threes

Stephon Castle OVER 4.5 Rebounds

Castle is going to likely draw the assignment of the blur that is Terrence Shannon Jr, who is averaging north of 21 points per game and will most certainly look to set the tone with his ability to get to the rim and the free throw line. 

However, Castle is an elite defender and likely lottery pick, I believe that he can avoid foul trouble and also produce in the box score. 

Another key part of this game will be the rebounding battle. Illinois is an elite offensive rebounding team, 17th in the country in OREB% (UConn is even better, for what it’s worth), so the onus will be on the likes of Castle to help clean the glass. 

He is off an 11 rebound performance against San Diego State in 28 minutes as he continues to play a key role in the team’s pursuit of another National Championship. 

Tristen Newton OVER 5.5 Assists

Newton went under his assists prop in the Sweet 16, dishing out only four dimes in the win against San Diego State, but this number continues to be worth a look to the over. 

Newton had gone over this mark in the two games prior, and now five of eight tournament games dating back to last season. 

Where Illinois is most vulnerable on defense is its off-ball defense. The team is regularly getting crushed by back cuts and off of screens on the back side of the offense, which is the heart of the UConn offense that flows through several different actions in one set. 

Newton is at the heart of it all, posting a top 50 assist rate nationally (31.4%), and I believe that Illinois defense will be crushed by the potent UConn offense, with the lead guard clearing his assist total. 

Marcus Domask Under 1.5 Threes

Illinois is likely going to need to get going from the perimeter to hang with the Huskies offense, but I don’t believe Domask will be part of it. 

While a fantastic downhill threat and arguably the team’s best facilitator, Domask has struggled from beyond the arc all season with the Fighting Illini.. Despite shooting over 34% from three-point range in three of his four years at Southern Illinois, the transfer is shooting 28% from deep this season on less than four attempts per game. 

He has gone over this mark in one of three games in the NCAA Tournament, but I believe that the offense will run through him operating with his back to the basket to unlock some ball motion, so I don’t see the ball swinging to him beyond the arc against a UConn team that is top 50 in three-point rate allowed and opponent assist rate. 

This number is simply too high given the likely game script, I’ll go under. 

Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.

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