Big East powers collide tonight when Pittsburgh (23-2 SU, 12-6-1 ATS), formerly the #1-ranked team in the nation, visits Connecticut (24-1 SU, 10-9 ATS), the current #1 team in the country. This game on ESPN will go a long way in determining a #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.
Much will be made about UConn being without junior guard Jerome Dyson, who tore the lateral meniscus in his right knee against Syracuse on Wednesday. He is expected to undergo surgery on Monday and likely will miss the rest of the season. Dyson was averaging 13.2 points per game on the season. Coach Jim Calhoun will now go with a six-man rotation and senior Craig Austrie will start in place of the injured Dyson.
Pittsburgh comes into this matchup having won five straight games and seven of their last eight. The Panthers are 6-1 ATS in their last seven lined games. The Panthers are also 4-1 ATS in the last 5 meetings in Connecticut. Also in Pittsburgh's favor is the fact that the road team is 7-3 ATS in the last 10 meetings.
But Pittsburgh lost their two biggest road tests this season -- by 10 at Villanova on 1/28/09 and by 6 at Louisville on 1/17/09. So I have to question whether or not Pittsburgh can win on the road against a Top 15 opponent, let alone the #1 team in the nation in front of a national TV audience.
UConn comes into this one riding a 13-game winning streak. While the Huskies have an impressive 22-8-1 ATS mark in their last 31 games as a home favorite of 6.5 or less, it should also be noted that they are just 1-6-1 ATS in their last 8 home games vs. a team with a road winning percentage greater than .600.
I can't get a good feel for this game. In my opinion, Pitt hasn't passed a difficult road test like this one. By the same token, UConn hasn't faced a team anywhere near as good as Pitt since losing Dyson. Since I'm so selective in my plays, I will be laying off this one. It should be a great game to watch.
Today, I'm releasing my biggest game as a Pregame Pro. Click here for my Triple-Dime CBB Conference GAME of the YEAR for Monday.