Friday, January 26, 2007

BIG EAST GAME PREVIEW: Providence @ Connecticut

January 27, 2007

The Connecticut Huskies have lost six of their last eight games and find themselves at just 2-4 in Big East games. They begin a key stretch that will likely define their season when they host Providence College on Saturday afternoon. The Friars got out of the gate quickly, winning their first two Big East games, but they have lost three of their last four and sit at 3-3 in the Big East.

Click below for our brief preview and prediction on this game and don't forget to leave your prediction in the comments section.


Providence has not had much luck away from the Dunkin Donuts Center so far this season. They have lost at Florida (by 18), lost to Florida State in Tampa (by 30) and lost both of their conference road games (Louisville and Seton Hall). They are coming off a home loss to a hot Villanova team on Tuesday night, 82-73, as the Friars were forced into 22 turnovers which offset their 55% shooting in the game.

Since returning from a suspension for violating team rules, Sharaud Curry has averaged 15.8 PPG, but he is shooting just 36% from the floor and has more turnovers (18) than assists (14) in the four games, which they have lost three of the four. He needs to be more effecient with the basketball and continue to allow Herbert Hill, Geoff McDermott and Weyinmi Efejuku to be involved in the offense.

We all know about the youth of the Connecticut Huskies, but that excuse is wearing thin for Jim Calhoun as the inconsistency of their offense and their tendency to go through long stretches where they can not find the basket continues to lead to losses, home or away. The Huskies play hard, and calhoun does not fault them for that, but they are still not doing the little things nor are they playing smart. Shooting has been awful, even from the foul line, and when it looks like a player is ready to step forward, the next game, he looks completely lost again.

With three of their next four at home (PC, Rutgers and SU) for UConn, with a road game with Depaul, the time is now to make their move and get some kind of confidence in what they are trying to do. In order to do so, they are going to have to play strong inside. With Herbert Hill and Geoff McDermott, along with Jonathan Kale and Ray Hall off the bench, the Friars are strong and tough inside. Connecticut can counter with Jeff Adrien, but the rest of the troops are athletic and long, but lack some of the physical physique to battle hard in the Big East. On the perimeter, Jerome Dyson, AJ Price and Doug Wiggins are going to use their quickness to force Providence into turnovers and force them to play uptempo to hopefully forget about their interior advantage. UConn needs to take advantage of the turnovers and convert them into points, whether from the field or the line.

The Pomeroy Computer still gives the Huskies a lot of respect, forecasting them as an 11-pt winner in Saturday's contest. I will go with UConn because I think they are due to hit some shots and play a solid all-around game and the PC road record sticks out to me. However, I do think it will be a tight game as Providence stands toe to toe inside and hits the boards for points in the paint.

NBE Blogger Prediction: Connecticut 69 Providence 64


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