17th ranked Syracuse visits 7th
rated UConn in a key Big East matchup tonight at Hartford’s XL Center. ESPN
will carry the game with coverage beginning at 7:05 pm Eastern.
The Connecticut Huskies, led by Player of the Year
candidate Kemba Walker, opened as -4.5 point favorites on the NCAA Basketball odds boards, but that number has been
bet down to -3. The total is currently 139.5
Jim Calhoun and Jim Boeheim have
combined to win 1,687 games in their careers, 840 of which belong to the former
and 847 to the latter. Tonight's game will be their 50th meeting and
will set an NCAA mark for most combined wins by coaches facing each other.
Orange (18-4 SU & 7-13 ATS)
After winning their first 18 games this
season, the Syracuse Orange have lost four in a row. They’ve never lost five straight in Boeheim's 35-year tenure but
they’ll be hard pressed to avoid another setback as they face their third Top
10 opponent in the last five games.
Rick Jackson is the
most important player for Syracuse and his performance could very well dictate
the outcome of tonight’s game. Jackson leads the Big East in rebounds, blocked
shots and double-doubles with 14 and is averaging 13.2 points per game to boot.
Junior Kris Joseph has reached double figures in scoring in eight of
his last nine games and leads the team in scoring averaging 15.2 points per
The Orange will also
need point guard Scoop Jardine to step up his game. Jardine averaged 8.5 points
and three rebounds in the Orange's first three losses but bounced back against
Marquette over the weekend recording his first double-double of the season with
13 points and 13 assists.
Huskies (17-3 SU & 10-4 ATS)
The Huskies had their six-game winning streak
snapped on Saturday suffering a double overtime loss to Louisville. They’ll try
to get back on track tonight behind Walker, who is arguably the best player in a
conference filled with great talent. Twenty games into the season Walker has
guided the Huskies to a Top 10 ranking and is pouring in more than 24.2 points
per game. He's hit three game-winning shots this year and is one of the
frontrunners for the National Player of the Year award.
Walker has made more 3s (40) than he did all
of last season in 34 games (38) and he’s hit three or more 3-pointers in six
games this season. Walker has also tallied 15 20-point games, six 30-point
games and leads the Big East in scoring. Forward Alex Oriakhi is the only other
starter in double figures in scoring with 10.7 points and 9.0 boards per game.
Overall the Huskies have one of the worst shooting percentages in the Big East
connecting on 40.7 percent of their shots including 28.6 percent from
has won the past two meetings, including a 72-67 victory last season. However
they haven’t won on the road at UConn since 1999.
Syracuse has actually been better than UConn
against common opponents. The Huskies and Orange both played against Michigan
State, Pittsburgh, Villanova, Notre Dame and Marquette. The only common loss
was at Pittsburgh. The Panthers beat UConn 78-63 and Syracuse 74-66.
The first half of this game is critical to
both teams. UConn is 11-1 this season when leading at the break—Syracuse is
18-0. In the Orange's four losses, they fell behind by 11 or more points before
The Huskies are 6-2 ATS last 8 games overall while the ‘under’ has cashed in
four of their last five games against the Big East. UConn is 11-1 SU and 3-3
ATS in home games this year. The Huskies are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games
following a SU loss. The under is 4-1 last 5 games against the
The Orange are 0-4 ATS last 4 games overall while the under is 14-6 in the
last 20 games following an ATS loss.
: This is a tough setting for Syracuse. They
haven’t won in Hartford in 12 years and I don’t see it happening tonight. Lay
the small price and take UConn for the win and cover.