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UConn vs Providence

1/31/09

The Big East conference has been arguably the toughest to play in this season next to the always challenging ACC. It seems like at one point everyone team in the Big East had a great team with a good chance of making some waves in the conference, but as always relatively sets in and the only the truly great teams survive.

This season it would be hard to argue that UConn hasnít been the best team in the country. Yes, they dropped one game to Georgetown, but since then have been virtually unstoppable! With eight straight wins, all against Big East conference opponents, the Huskies are smoking hot coming into this conference match up and should get through Providence with relative ease.

Although a win over Providence would not be a huge victory for the Huskies, it will be great momentum before going to face Rick Pitinoís #7 ranked Louisville Cardinals who are unbeaten thus far in Big East conference play. The Cardinals are ranked just above the Huskies in the Big East and a victory over Pitinoís boys would shake up the conference and make the UConn vs. Marguette match up at the end of February mean that much more.

As for Providence they just havenít been able to get things going this season, it didnít help that their conference opponents have been the best in the country, but they are coming off a big win over #8 Syracuse and are just behind Pittsburgh in the conference standing.

For some reason Providence hasnít gotten much love in the Top 25 rankings this season even though they have only lost two games in conference play which is much better than other ranked teams in the Big East can say like Georgetown (5 losses), Notre Dame (5 losses), Villanova (3 losses) and Syracuse (3 losses) who have all lost three or more times in conference play.

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The Friars have had a tough time this season staying consistent as every time they have looked to get back on track they drop another important game and get looked over. They are coming off three straight wins against conference, the most notable against Syracuse, but they will definitely have their work cut out for them going up against arguably the best team in the country in UConn.

The Huskies lead in almost every category when you put these two teams side by side. The only advantage, if you can call it that, is Providence tends to score more points per game. The Friars did however beat UConn in the last meeting in March of last year. Providence was able to force the Huskies to shooting just 39% from the floor while the Friars were shooting at almost 50% (48.4).

Although the Providence Friars were able to get the best of Jim Calhoun and his Huskies last year, this season will be much different as UConn is much improved. We have Uconn winning this one by 16-18 points so we'll lay the -13 here with Uconn on their home floor. The Total of 152.5 looks to be accurate though we would lean towards the over in this one.
 


For the Fighting Irish to come out with a win, they will need production from their guards, and another big game from Harangody. I expect them to step on the court with blood in their eyes after suffering four losses in a row. I donít know if they will win straight up, but I HAVE to like them at +15 or so, which I believe the line will be. Itís hard to advertise Pittsburgh if the line is indeed that high. They are more likely to cover if the line is closer to 9, and I doubt it will be. Put your money on the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, or sit this one out.

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