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UCONN AT PITT

3/7/09

Hasheem Thabeet and company will be looking for revenge when the Connecticut Huskies step into the John M. and Gertrude E. Petersen Events Center on Saturday to take on the Pittsburgh Panthers. UCONN didnít bring their best effort and Pittsburgh semi-dominated the perennial contender on their home floor. Pittsburgh is undefeated at home, and Connecticut hasnít lost on the road, so this should make for an interesting game. Connecticut can lock up a regular season Big East title with a win in this game, so look for Calhoun to have these guys firing on all cylinders.

Connecticutís best win was clearly their dominating show of power on the road against the Louisville Cardinals, when they beat coach Pitinoís team by a score of 68-51. The Huskies also romped home to beat Miami (FL), West Virginia, Wisconsin, Syracuse, and countless others. These guys are clearly the best in the country right now and deserve their ranking of #1. The way things are going they should be the #1 overall seed in the NCAA tournament, but they need to take care of business until then.

The Huskies are 8-3 ATS when playing on the road. Itís almost as if they play better when not in front of their own fans. On the flip side, Pittsburgh is an even more impressive 9-3 ATS when playing with home court advantage. Connecticut has lost 4 out of their last 5 games ATS, and havenít really been making it close. The Panthers are 3-2 in their last 5 games ATS and have really been on a hot streak. They will be looking to send their seniors off with a bang, so that will make them all the more deadly against UCONN.

Excellent wins for the Pittsburgh Panthers include victories over UCONN, Cincinnati, West Virginia, Syracuse, and Notre Dame. They really seem to dominate teams when playing at home. They inexplicably dropped a game against the Providence Friars on the road in February, so they are not unbeatable.

Jeff Adrien and Hasheem Thabeet lead a balanced attack for the Huskies. Both are averaging a double-double with Adrien putting up 13.8 PPG and grabbing 10.0 RPG. Thabeet is good for 13.6 PPG and 10.7 RPG. Their best help comes from fellow starters Jerome Dyson and AJ Price. Dyson is an excellent guard and has been providing 13.2 PPG, 4.1 RPG, and 3.2 APG. Price is 41% from three point land can be counted on for 13.1 PPG, 3.4 RPG, and 4.6 APG.

Sam Young and Dejuan Blair lead the attack for the Pittsburgh Panthers. Blair is only a sophomore but is already averaging 15.6 PPG and 12.7 RPG. Clearly this guy is a future lottery pick in the NBA. Young is a senior and has great skills too. He puts up a stunning 18.4 PPG and grabs 5.4 RPG. Tyrel Biggs is 41% from three point land and will take some of the pressure of the top two players on this team. Jermaine Dixon will also help, as he adds 9.1 PPG on average.

This game is clearly a heavyweight bout and a clash of the titans. Whoever wins this event will be carrying momentum into the Big East Tournament. Sportsbook.com opened the game Pitt -3.5 while some books currently have the game at -3. We'll take the Huskies in this one, a very strong play at that, likely winning straight up and getting their revenge!

 

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