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UCONN vs. Pitt Pick with Analysis
Pittsburgh hosts UCONN Wednesday Night in a Big East match up. The Big East would appear to be wide open as the top dog, Cincinnati is just 2-0 Followed by Rutgers at 2-1 and then the rest of the conference, with the exception of South Florida, at 1-1. Pitt has a strong revenge motive working in it's favor as the Huskies beat Pitt 30-28 last year in a game that knocked Pitt from Big East contention. Both Teams finished 8-5 last year but it was UCONN taking the Big East title and playing in a BCS Bowl against Oklahoma.
Pitt opened as a -9.5 point favorite and the early money has all been on Pitt, moving the line to as high as -10.5 in spots. Neither of these teams has been anything to write home about in 2011. Let's start with the home favorite, the Pitt Panthers. Two games stand out for Pitt. One, a 15-12 loss at home to Notre Dame. It stands out because they held the Irish to their lowest point total of the year. The other game that stands out is a 44-17 blowout of South Florida, also at home. Again, they did what none of South Florida's other opponents could do, beat the Bulls by a wide margin. Those two games illustrate what the offense and defense is capable of. Unfortunately, there's a bunch of mediocrity in their other games to go along with those two.
For UCONN, it's an even less impressive set of results thus far. They had just one chance to step up in class and they were hammered in that game by West Virginia, 43-16. Their 3 wins came against Fordham, Buffalo and a 16-10 win over South Florida, thanks to the defense. The UCONN offense simply isn't very good. Their approach is to pound the ball, shorten the game and rely heavily on their defense to keep it close and give them a chance to win it late.
If we were handed only the stats here, season to date, with no team names attached and no ability to look at each individual game, this would be an automatic play on the UCONN Huskies, as the numbers suggest these two teams are much closer than the pointspread would suggest. Both teams gain and give up almost identical amounts of yardage on both sides of the ball while Pitt is outscoring opponents 25-24 and UCONN is outscoring opponents by a 22-21 margin. The yards per point numbers are almost identical, with Pitt having the slight edge offensively and UCONN the slight edge defensively. Both teams average.
Our score prediction model also weighs in on the UCONN side, predicting a 20-17 Pitt win.
We're a little hesitant here on UCONN mainly because of their offense. We have seen what Pitt is capable of, albeit only a couple of times. With UCONN we've seen what the defense is capable of, and then, only against weak teams, but the offense has proven to be less than effective, especially against teams with a respectable defense themselves. We're a little concerned about Pitt jumping out in front and UCONN not having the ability to come back.
But we'll stick with the numbers we like to use here. Our numbers have been good to us for many years. They are reliable, and have produced steady, consistent results and they suggest this number is too high. We'll take all we can get with the Huskies, which right now is 10.5. UCONN +10.5
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