The Huskies begin Big East play tonight on the road in Tampa, a place where they have historically fared well. UConn is 7-1 lifetime against USF, with the lone loss coming in Tampa in 2010, a year in which the Huskies were down. They enter tonight’s contest on a five game winning streak, the latest a 79-71 win over a good Fairfield team in a game they lead by twenty points most of the second half.
For USF, the goal tonight might be as much to not embarrass themselves as it is to win the game. They enter just 7-6 on the season with losses to Southern Miss, Penn State and a less-than-stellar Auburn squad 52-40. Gilchrest has been solid for the Bulls, and has fared well against the Huskies in his career averaging over 17 points per contest. However, the rest of his teammates have been offensively challenged to say the least. In their most comparable test this season to the one they will face tonight, a trip to Kansas, they were decimated 70-42.
You’ll notice a trend in some of the Bulls losses this season. They score 40 points. The other team scores a lot more than that. There is little evidence they can hang with a good and improving UConn squad tonight, despite the relatively slim 6.5 point line.
USF went just 3-15 in Big East play last season, and has not improved much in the personnel department in the offseason. They have lost 15 straight to ranked opponents, and this season has already lost four times by double digits. With the possible exception of Kansas, none of those teams were the caliber of the team UConn is bringing to Tampa this evening.
UConn has cleaned up their early season turnover issues, due largely to the emergence of Eric Boatwright at the point guard position. This frees up Jeremy Lamb to do what he does well; score in bunches. The sophomore is third in the Big East at 18.9 points per game. Expect him, and his teammates to have a big game tonight against the undermanned Bulls.
I like the Huskies to win and win big, easily covering the 6.5 point spread – and that’s my official pick tonight. UConn -6.5
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