CONNECTICUT (15-8, 5-6 Big East) AT NO. 2 SYRACUSE (24-1, 11-1 Big East)
Time: 1 p.m.
Location: Carrier Dome in Syracuse, N.Y.
Connecticut 23 (No. 5 Big East)
Syracuse 1 (No. 1 Big East)
Line: Syracuse -10 (126 o/u)
Connecticut Players to Watch: G Jeremy Lamb, 6-5 So. (17.2 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 1.4 spg); G Ryan Boatright, 6-0 Fr. (10.4 ppg, 3.6 apg, 3.1 rpg); C Andre Drummond, 6-10 Fr. (9.7 ppg, 7.5 rpg, 2.6 bpg). UConn played horribly in Monday’s 80-59 loss to Louisville, but Boatright was outstanding. He scored 18 points on 5-of-10 shooting, including 2-of-3 from the 3-point line. He added six boards and five assists in the loss.
Syracuse Players to Watch: F Kris Joseph, 6-7 Sr. (14.3 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 1.4 spg); G Scoop Jardine, 6-2 Jr. (8.2 ppg, 4.9 apg, 1.4 spg); F C.J. Fair, 6-8 So. (8.4 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 45.9% FG). Fair had 14 points and a team-best nine rebounds in Wednesday’s 64-61 overtime win over Georgetown.
Storylines: Syracuse has won four straight since its only loss of the season (67-58 at Notre Dame on Jan. 21) and leads Marquette by two games atop the Big East standings. Connecticut has fallen to 5-6 in the conference after losing five of its last six, including Monday’s 21-point loss to Louisville.
Key Stats: The Huskies are 1-1 in the absence of coach Jim Calhoun, who will miss his third straight game Saturday with a lower back condition. Syracuse has one of the nation’s most proficient offenses. The Orange lead the Big East in scoring at 77.6 points per game and in field goal percentage with a 47.7 mark. UConn surrenders 62.1 points per game, which is seventh in the Big East and allows opponents to shoot 37.1 percent, which is second. The Huskies out-rebounding their opponents by 4.6 rebounds per game. Syracuse allows its opponents to out-rebound it by 0.5 boards per contest. Drummond, who many feel will be the first pick in this spring’s NBA draft, went scoreless, missing all six of his shots in Monday’s loss. Connecticut is 2-5 in true road games this season and has lost its last three. The Huskies are 4-4 away from home overall. Syracuse is unbeaten at home and has won 18 straight at the Carrier Dome.
The Bottom Line: There’s something wrong with the Huskies. Unless they play with more heart on Saturday, they’re in for another blowout loss.
The Pick: Syracuse 84, Connecticut 67