Syracuse heads to Hartford for their final Big East game against Connecticut tonight on the road. Tipoff is set for 7:00, and will be aired live on ESPN. Follow us on Twitter (@SaltineWarriors) or on Facebook (InsideTheLoudHouse) where we will be posting live from Hartford on our social media sites throughout the evening at the game.
Connecticut comes in to the game at 16-6 overall, and 6-4 in the Big East. The Huskies have been a team that have struggled mightily rebounding the basketball, ranking 268th in division one basketball. UConn is coming off of an eleven point win over Seton Hall, and dropped the ball to St. John’s last week in a game that they trailed by 15 at one point.
The Huskies really have two players on this club. Shabazz Napier and Ryan Boatright are two guards who are immensely talented, averaging 33 points a game for a team that is mediocre offensively. If the Orange can extend the zone and contain the three ball, Syracuse should have no problem containing the Connecticut offense as a whole as well.
This game is huge for a few reasons. The first reason is that Syracuse and Connecticut will never play each other again after today as conference mates. With all of the battles Syracuse and Connecticut have had over the years, I think it is important to both fan bases for their team to win the final Big East matchup. This entire season has been a year of reminiscing on memories from the Big East, and this will be another one that fans will not forget anytime soon.
Aside from it’s nostalgic purposes, Syracuse needs this game to remain in first place in the Big East. Georgetown and Marquette are nipping right on their heels at 8-3, so it is important for Syracuse to win their next three games setting up a showdown with the Hoyas in the Carrier Dome February 23rd. I can’t help but sound like a fan when I say that I get giddy at the prospect of having the final Orange-Hoya Dome game be a Syracuse-Georgetown 1 vs. 2 battle in front of 34,000+ fans, and that has the potential to be null if the Orange drop the ball in these next three games. Syracuse plays Connecticut, Seton Hall, and Providence, and these should all be victories for the ‘Cuse.
All in all I think this game will be closer than what people predict it to be, but in the end Syracuse will pull out the victory. With Connecticut on probation, they are a team playing for pride, and that is scary. Kevin Ollie will absolutely have those guys ready to go, but I believe that Syracuse has just too much talent for the Huskies tonight in this one.