Thursday, March 09, 2006

BIG EAST GAME PREVIEW: Syracuse vs Connecticut

March 9, 2006

One of the best rivalries in the Big East reunites at high noon on Thursday as Syracuse and Connecticut square off in the Big East quarterfinals. Syracyse has fallen twice to the #1 ranked Huskies this season, and neither were very close, but they will look to nail down a bid to the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament with a win this afternoon in Madison Square Garden. To alleviate any doubt in their NCAA situation, the Orange need to pull out the win, but it will not be an easy task as Connecticut represents Syracuse's nightmare match-up.

Here are the pregame stories and previews from the internet:

Huskies Go for Season Sweep of 'Cuse (Register Citizen)
New York a Little Dangerous (Hartford Courant)
UConn Ready to Take on SU (Norwich Bulletin)
New Season Begins for Huskies (Waterbury Rep-Am)
Syracuse Wins Date With Huskies (Danbury News Times)
Boehim Defends Star Player (Waterbury Rep-Am)

To read our preview and see our game prediction, click read more below and don't forget to leave your prediction in the comments section!


The oddsmakers are not expecting this to be close, making Connecticut a 12-pt favorite, and Syracuse has not matched-up well with the Huskies recently, but for some reason, they have a habit of pulling a rabbit out of the hat against these teams every now and then. Their magic trick might have been Gerry McNamara's running 3-pt shot to beat the buzzer, and Cincinnati, yesterday afternoon just to get the chance to take the floor in Madison Square Garden against the #1 ranked Huskies today.

Connecticut really has the advantages all over the floor. They are deeper, bigger and more athletic than the Orange. Their frontline of Hilton Armstrong, Josh Boone and Rudy Gay, with Jeff Adrien and Ed Nelson off the bench is not the match-up that Darryl Watkins, Terrence Roberts and Demetris Nichols with Matt Gorman and Aronze Onuaku off the bench really wants to see. Yesterday, Watkins and Roberts had solid games, but the Cincininnati frontline stands at just 6'7 and 6'6 with very little help off the bench. This will be a true test for the Orange, but Watkins and Roberts have shown very little ability to create their own offense and Nichols seems to be in another offensive shooting funk. Going against this frontcourt of UConn's is not usually a situation to cure what ails you.

In the backcourt the Huskies will start Marcus Williams at the point. In his last five games, Williams has accumulated 50 assists against just 10 turnovers. He will look to carve up the Syracuse zone by getting the ball inside for the UConn big men to score and then hit Rashad Anderson on the wing for a three-ball. Denham Brown has elevated his play of late, giving UConn another consistent scoring option, their only weakness might be too many options and not one true go-to player, but, in reality, almost any of their guys could be that guy on any given day.

Syracuse still must enter the game believing they NEED a win for their NCAA Tournament bid. They still could, and in my opinion, barring the bizarre in other conference tournaments, should make the NCAA Tournament, even with a loss. However, they need to take care of business themselves and remove all doubt. For that reason, I think Hall of Fame coach Jim Boeheim pulls out all the stops today. He knows UConn and their Hall of Fame coach Jim Calhoun better than any other opponent in the Big East. I still do not think the Orange will win, but they will play a little tougher than in the two earlier games.

NBE Blogger Prediction:

Connecticut 81 Syracuse 72

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Friday, March 03, 2006

BIG EAST GAME PREVIEW: Louisville @ Connecticut

March 4, 2006

Louisville is coming off an emotional win over Marquette as Taquan Dean and the Cardinals were victorious on Senior Night and clinched a bid to the Big East Conference Tournament. Connecticut is looking for one more win which would give them the #1 seed in the upcoming conference tournament and keep their NCAA #1 seed status cemented. With it being Senior Day and a national television audience, it should be quite an atmopshere in Connectict.

To read our preview and see our game prediction, click read more below and don't forget to leave your prediction in the comments section!


I feel this one might be a blowout. Louisville definitely will not rollover and quit, but Connecticut is coming off a very lackluster trip to South Florida where they struggled to a 66-53 win after racing to an 18-0 lead out of the gate. Jim Calhoun is not one to allow a lull this time of year, so expect him to be on the Huskies right from the get go to sharpen their focus. It is also Senior Day and an energized crowd will be looking for Hilton Armstrong, Denham Brown, Ed Nelson and Rashad Anderson to go out in style. All four have been productive members of the program and have gone through their own personal ups and downs at UConn and will look for one last celebration on their home floor before their real work begins. That talent alone is impressive and then you add Rudy Gay, Josh Boone and Marcus Williams, who all could be NBA first round picks this June and you know they are going to put forth their best effort in case this is the last time they perform in front of the home crowd for all seven of them.

Louisville's style also plays into the hands of Connecticut as they like to push tempo and shoot 3-pters. They don't offer a lot of interior resistence or a physical presence on the boards, whoch UConn will look to exploit. Louisville still has something to play for, getting to 7-9 in the conference with their overall record could begin to catch the eye of the NCAA Selection Committee, it is still a long shot, but getting a big win like this on the road would go a long way. However, I feel they are due more for a letdown that a terrefic performance.

NBE Blogger Prediction:

Connecticut 85 Louisville 65

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Wednesday, March 01, 2006

BIG EAST GAME PREVIEW: Connecticut @ Georgetown

March 1, 2006

Here are the pregame stories and previews linked from the internet on tonight's South Florida/UConn game:

USF/UConn Preview (St Petersburg Times).
Struggling Bulls Host #2 Huskies (The Ledger)

The Florida papers also have stories on Rashad Anderson, a Lakeland, FL native:
UConn Sharp-Shooter At Home on Bench (St Petersburg Times)
A Different Outlook After a Close Call

And, from the Connecticut Papers:
Anderson Comes a Long Way for UConn (Danbury Times)
Anderson Provides Right Tough off Bench (Connecticut Post)
Huskies Try to Finish Off Bulls (Norwich Times)
Anderson Enjoys Any Role (Waterbury Rep-Am)
Game in Tampa is Homecoming for Anderson (Bristol Press)

UConn is an 18-pt favorite tonight. I know the Bulls have kept most of their games, as big underdogs close, but tonight looks to be a different story as the Huskies have the depth to just keep coming in waves and producing points against a tired Bulls team.

NBE Blogger Prediction:

Connecticut 83 South Florida 64

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