Back Orange Over Former Big East Rival Huskies At MSG

connecticut basketball

Monday, December 5, 2016 8:44 PM GMT

The Syracuse Orangemen and the UConn Huskies evoke memories of the 30-year glory days of the Big East Conference, which along with ESPN ignited the NCAA basketball fever that continues today.  They face off at Madison Square Garden on Monday. 

Syracuse Orange Vs. UConn Huskies (+9)

Last year, Syracuse as 6-point underdog beat UConn 79-76.  This year, the tables have turned with the Orangemen holding a Top 25 ranking, while UConn is struggling to find its identity.  Though the game will have great interest for NCAA basketball fans, not expect it to replicate the instant classic that was the Syracuse (127-117) 6-OT victory on this floor in the Big East Tourney in 2009 or UConn’s (76-71) OT thriller in 2010. 

Far more was expected from a UConn team under 5th year HC Kevin Ollie, that has begun 3-4 SU, 1-4 ATS, failing to cover the number by a net of 32 points.  You knew there were problems when the Huskies lost consecutive home games to start the season by counts of 67-58 to Wagner and 64-41 to Northeastern (as 13-point favorite).  UConn is down to only 8 scholarship performers.  Injuries include that of frosh PG Gilbert (shoulder), frosh forward Diarra (knee) and soph guard Larrier (knee).  Senior performers Purvis and Brimah are the only upperclassmen on a team relying on inconsistent freshmen and sophomores. The Huskies average only 70 PPG on 44% shooting, converting just 32% triples and only 62% from the stripe.   They will clearly have their issues against Coach Jim Boeheim’s fabled 2-3 matchup zone.  

Syracuse has been battling its own issues!  A 4-0 SU start for the Orange at home saw them outscore the opposition 344-210. That included a 71-50 romp of respected Monmouth as a 12-point favorite.  Reality has come against staunch defenders in 20 teams South Carolina and Wisconsin when the Orange could average just 55 points in a pair of defeats.  Nonetheless, through 6 games, it is the Syracuse defense allowing just 59/35/24 that is the standout unit on this court tonight.  Boeheim will be cracking the whip after watching his team nearly blow a 24-point second-half lead against North Florida on Saturday before an eventual 6-point victory.  

From a historical perspective, note that Boeheim-coached teams have been highly profitable in games such as this as they have recorded a mark of 75-52 ATS in all neutral-court games and that the Orangemen under Boeheim are 55-37 ATS as road chalk.  With by far the superior defense, I invite you to put the NCAA basketball odds in your favor and back the Orange.

NCAAB Free Pick: Syracuse +9

Best Line Offered BookMaker

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