Uconn Huskies vs. Syracuse Orange Preview and Pick – Point Spread

Connecticut Huskies (14-9 SU, 8-13 ATS) vs. Syracuse Orange (23-1 SU, 14-5 ATS), 7:00 p.m. EST, Wednesday, February 10, 2010, Carrier Dome, Syracuse, N.Y. TV: ESPN
by Ryno of Predictem.com

Point Spread: Connecticut +11/Syracuse -11
Over/Under: 145

The last time the Syracuse Orange and Uconn Huskies met, it was one of the greatest college basketball games of all-time. The two teams met in March in the Big East tournament, and the game just wouldn’t end. It lasted six overtimes before Syracuse finally won the game, 127-117.

Both of the teams are much different now than they were last season. UConn lost Hasheem Thabeet, A.J. Price and Jeff Adrien. Syracuse lost Jonny Flynn, Paul Harris and Eric Devendorf. It seemed like UConn would be the better team of the two this season, but that’s not even close to the case. The Orange are one of the best teams in the country with a 23-1 overall record and a 10-1 Big East record. They are easily on pace to be a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament and might be the best team in the country. The Huskies have been one of the most disappointing teams in college basketball. They did pull off an upset a few weeks ago over Texas, which was then ranked No. 1, but that win doesn’t look nearly as good now and the Huskies are only 4-6 in the Big East and 14-9 overall.

A loss for Syracuse in this game would be a bad loss at home but the Orange would still be one of the best four teams in the country. The game is much more important for the Huskies, who could re-emerge as an NCAA tournament team with a huge road win. But the question is whether or not UConn has the ability to win this game.

The Huskies haven’t won a road game all season long. They lost by two at Cincinnati, by three at Georgetown, by five at Michigan, and by double digits at Providence and Louisville. The Orange have lost just one home game this season, an 82-72 loss on January 2, which also happens to be their only loss of the season.

In Syracuse’s last game, the Orange won 71-54 at Cincinnati on Sunday. Andy Rautins made 4-of-8 3-point attempts and scored 20 points. Kris Joseph, who has been playing great off the bench lately, scored 17 points. Scoop Jardine and Arinze Onuaku each had 11 points, and Rick Jackson had five points and 10 rebounds. The Orange committed only seven turnovers, shot 51 percent from the field and 8-for-16 on 3-pointers, and would have won by more if they hadn’t missed 11 free throws.

In UConn’s last game, the Huskies won 64-57 at home over DePaul, a team that is 1-10 in conference play. Jerome Dyson scored 20 points to lead the Huskies, and Stanley Robinson and Gavin Edwards each had 10 points. They shot 41 percent from the field and 1-for-7 from 3-point range, neither of which are remotely impressive numbers. They held a slight edge on the boards and in turnover margin, but they won the game at the free throw line. The Huskies were 25-for-35 on free throws, while DePaul was just 1-for-6. That had to do with the Huskies’ size advantage and ability to drive the ball to the basket. They have to do the same against Syracuse to have a chance to win the game. Syracuse has similar size than UConn and is even bigger at certain positions. And the Huskies are not a very good outside shooting team, as evidenced by their 1-for-7 performance on 3-pointers against the worst team in the Big East. Therefore, they have to be the more aggressive team and get some easy points at the free throw line to make this game competitive.

UConn is 9-4 ATS in its last 13 games as an underdog, 2-5 ATS in its last seven road games, 1-6 ATS in its last seven games following an ATS loss, and 0-4 ATS in its last four games overall. Syracuse is 22-6 ATS in its last 28 games as a favorite, 24-7 ATS in its last 31 games overall, including an impressive 14-5 ATS mark this season, 16-5 ATS in its last 21 Big East games, 16-5 ATS in its last 21 games as a home favorite, 19-7 ATS in its last 26 home games, and 16-6 ATS in its last 22 games following an ATS win. The under is 11-5 in the last 16 meetings between these teams and 5-2 in the last seven meetings at Syracuse.

Ryno’s Pick: I like Syracuse to pound Uconn and win by 15-20 points.