By Lenny Del Genio
Be sure to get Lenny's Winning Selection on this game!
The best two teams from the Big East do battle Monday night in Hartford when the top-ranked Connecticut Huskies take on the fourth-ranked Pitt Panthers, a former #1 team themselves. The early money has come in on UConn, who is up to a 3.5-point favorite as of press. The total for this exciting matchup is 135.5.
UConn is 40-7 SU all-time when ranked #1 in the country and will be looking for their 14th consecutive win. As a home favorite of six points or less, the Huskies are on a tremendous pointspread run of 16-4 ATS.
After we saw a three-week period where no top-ranked team was able to hold onto the #1 spot for consecutive weeks, Connecticut will remain in that position for a third consecutive week when the new poll comes out this afternoon.
One of those teams that were unable to hold onto the #1 spot was Pitt, who has since rallied for five consecutive wins (4-0 ATS). Every victory during the current win streak has come by double-digits.
Although they have won four of their last five against Top 5 opponents, the Panthers have never beaten a #1 ranked team in 13 all-time tries, including an 80-76 loss at UConn back on January 31, 2006.
The host has won three straight in this series, including a 60-53 win by the Huskies last year right here in Hartford. These teams will meet again in Pittsburgh in the regular season for both on March 7th.
While UConn F Jerome Dyson has now been ruled out for the season with a knee injury, the recent play of C Hasheem Thabeet has made Dyson?s absence almost a non-factor. Thabeet has 25 points, 20 rebounds and nine blocks in Saturday?s 62-54 win over Seton Hall.