NCAA Basketball Odds: DePaul Blue Demons vs Connecticut Huskies
Tuesday, March 06, 2012
by Mike Stewart
Last year at this time, Connecticut Huskies stumbled into the Big East tournament on the NCAA tournament bubble and began an historic run that would take them through 11 straight wins and the national championship.
The Huskies are hoping for a similar result in 2011-12, but the Huskies have some work to do. Connecticut limps into the conference tournament having dropped nine of its last 13 games.
That starts against DePaul Blue Demons , which got crushed by the Huskies, 80-54, on Feb. 15. The Blue Demons showed what they were capable of in an 86-58 victory over Seton Hall on Saturday but are still the 16th seed.
DePaul Blue Demons (12-18): The Blue Demons can score with the best of them but had not been able to stop anyone on the other end until Saturday, when they thoroughly dismantled the Pirates. That snapped a nine-game losing streak and gave DePaul a little momentum on the eve of the tournament. The Blue Demons did a great job of stopping Seton Hall point guard Jordan Theodore, which was a problem when they faced the Huskies. In the Feb. 15 meeting, Shabazz Napier cut through the DePaul defense en route to 14 points and 11 assists. Second-leading scorer Brandon Young had one of his worst games in that one, struggling to two points on 1-of-9 shooting.
Connecticut Huskies (18-12): The ninth-seeded Huskies dominated the glass against the Blue Demons, outrebounding them 47-22 as Alex Oriakhi and Andre Drummond combined for 29 points and 19 boards. Connecticut managed to keep its at-large hopes alive on Saturday, as coach Jim Calhoun returned to the sidelines and guided the team to a 74-65 victory over Pittsburgh. Calhoun had missed the last month due to back problems as the team slipped down the standings. The Huskies have a strong non-conference win over Florida State and won at Notre Dame but could use a little more Madison Square Garden magic to push them to better bubble position.
1. UConn beat DePaul, 97-71, in the first round of the tournament last season.
2. Huskies G Jeremy Lamb was named first-team All-Big East while Drummond was named to the All-Rookie team.
3. The winner will play No. 8 seed West Virginia on Wednesday.
NCAA BASKETBALL PREDICTION: Huskies 79, Blue Demons 67.
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