Pittsburgh-UConn Preview: Game of the Year

ctsports picksAnalyst IFebruary 16, 2009

So much is up for grabs in this huge Big East matchup. On the line in this game are possibly a No. 1 seed for March, the Big East Championship, and possibly a No. 1 national ranking.

Three weeks in a row now UConn has found themselves as the No. 1 team in the country, and now they face their highest-ranked opponent all year. Pittsburgh has only lost two games all year, both on the road against U of L and Villanova. Many experts though are doubting UConn with the injury to one of their best guards, Jerome Dyson.

This game of the year will be very intense on offense and defense, and nothing will come easy. Oddsmakers see this the same way with UConn favored by only -3 points.

Pittsburgh has won five in a row and has played much better since their two losses on the road. Jamie Dixon's squad is always known for their great team defense and rebounding, which has been very strong all year. This year's team has surprised most with the great offensive numbers they have continually put up. DeJuan Blair, Sam Young, and Levance Fields have led this young team to great heights and have one goal: winning it all.

Pittsburgh is an excellent against the spread team with a record of 12-6-1 overall and 7-3-1 on the road against the spread. Blair must control the paint and get UConn's big guys in foul trouble if they want to win this game.

UConn is the current No. 1 team in the country, and they are out to prove they deserve the ranking and send a message to the country that they are the best in the nation.

Legendary Hall of Fame coach Jim Calhoun has said this might be the most talented team he has ever had—a pretty big statement since he has two National Championship teams and countless NBA lottery picks. Hasheem Thabeet, Jeff Adrien, and A.J. Price lead this very talented team and are looking at this game as a statement game.

Huskies are not a very good against the spread team with a 10-9 record overall and only 2-6 at home against the spread. This game will be won and lost in the paint; if Thabeet and Adrien dominate the lane, they will come away with another big win.

Four weeks left until Selection Sunday makes all teams and players start to play with extra intensity. Both these teams understand the importance of this game for both the conference championship and possibly the National Championship. Both teams are very intense defensive and rebounding teams, and both will try to establish the inside game early. Can't wait for this game on ESPN; it should come right down to the end.

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