Hoping For an Easier Time

After winning its ninth straight on a last-second basket in overtime against an inferior opponent, Connecticut hopes for a much easier time Tuesday night when it hosts struggling DePaul.

Oddsmakers from Bodog have made Connecticut -13 point spread favorites (View College Basketball odds) for today’s game (Game Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 72% of bets for this game have been placed on Connecticut -13 (View College Basketball bet percentages).

The No. 13 Huskies (20-5, 9-3 Big East) extended their longest win streak of the season on Saturday when Craig Austrie sank a 14-footer with 0.2 seconds remaining in overtime to secure a 74-73 win over South Florida.

"They outplayed us probably. I think they gave more effort," UConn coach Jim Calhoun said. "That shows up ... in many, many ways. But we'll go home with a win. We're not turning it back in because, quite frankly, we've outplayed other teams before and got beat."

The victory over the Bulls moved Connecticut up four spots in the rankings and kept it tied with No. 20 Notre Dame for third place in the crowded conference standings, 1 1/2-games back of co-leaders Louisville and Georgetown - ranked 18th and 12th, respectively.

The Huskies will try to close that gap by winning a 10th consecutive game for the first time since an 11-game run from Nov. 10-Dec. 27, 2006.

A.J. Price, UConn's leader with career highs of 15.4 points and 6.2 assists per game, is coming off yet another stellar performance, during which he scored 23 points and dished out seven assists. That display came after the junior guard had a career-high 26 points and nine assists in an 84-78 win over the Fighting Irish on Wednesday.

Price is averaging 18.0 points during the winning streak.

The Huskies are also getting outstanding play from 7-foot-3 center Hasheem Thabeet, who had eight of their 11 blocks Saturday while adding nine rebounds. The sophomore has 32 blocks over the last five games, giving him 107 on the season to rank second in the nation behind Mississippi State's Jarvis Varnado (114).

Connecticut hopes the combination of Thabeet and Price can help it beat the Blue Demons (10-14, 5-7) for the first time in Big East play. The Huskies lost 66-58 on the road in the only conference matchup between the teams on Jan. 31, 2007. They won the first-ever meeting on March 20, 2004, in the second round of the NCAA tournament.

DePaul, which joined the Big East for the 2005-06 season, is seeking only its second win in seven games after losing 88-68 to then-No. 23 Louisville on Feb. 12, which followed a 69-61 win over South Florida three days earlier.

Draelon Burns, the Blue Demons' scoring leader (17.4), is looking to rebound from one of his worst shooting performances of the season. The senior guard was limited to 11 points on 3-for-14 from the floor against the Cardinals, including 0-for-5 from 3-point range.

Burns, though, was outstanding in leading DePaul to its only win over UConn, shooting 9-for-15 on his way to 26 points.

Dar Tucker, meanwhile, is looking for some consistency after he had 22 points on Feb. 12, three more than in his previous two games combined. The freshman forward is second on the team with 13.2 points per game.

by: Staff Writers - Email Us

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