Pitt small road underdogs in Big East battle

Pitt has only lost twice all season and UConn has only lost once – if that sounds like a match made in Big East odds heaven, that’s because it is.

Big East odds - No. 4 Pittsburgh Panthers (23-2 10-2 Big East) at No. 1 UConn Huskies -3.5 (24-1 12-1 Big East)

Tonight in a huge Big East game the number-ranked Pittsburgh Panthers hit the road to play the top-ranked Connecticut Huskies. While both teams are assured of an invite to the NCAA Tournament, the winner of this game will have the inside track on a top seed when March Madness odds are set next month.

In terms of NCAAB game lines, BetUS.com installed the Huskies as 3.5-point home favorites.

Both teams come into this game on a roll, as the Panthers have won five straight and the Huskies have won 13 straight.

Advertisement: Wager on the Big East, which could send a record number of teams to March Madness. This is a top battle of top teams and good college basketball betting line value with the home team just -3.5 at Bovada .

The big question for the Panthers in this game is, can they contain Hasheem Thabeet? Thabeet (13.5 ppg 10.8 rpg) is the Huskies 7 foot 3 center who leads the nation in blocks per game and is coming off the best game in his career.

He had 25 points and 20 points, to go along with 9 blocks, in the Huskies 64-52 win over Seton Hall on Saturday.

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The Panthers do not have the size inside, but they do have two solid forwards in Sam Young (17.9 ppg) and DeJuan Blair (15.4 ppg 12.3 rpg). Blair is only 6’7”, but he is a banger at 265 pounds and leads the nation in offensive rebounds per game (5.8).

Young and Blair will have to play good inside defense and Pitt PG Levance Fields (12.0 ppg 12.3 assists and 1.5 turnovers in his last 4 games), has to have a good game on the perimeter.

The Huskies are not only about Thabeet, as they have a good inside-out game with forward Jeff Adrien (14 ppg 10.1 rpg) and guard A.J. Price (12.1 ppg). The Huskies are rolling, but they recently lost guard Jerome Dyson (13.2 ppg), who is their third leading scorer, to a season-ending knee injury.

The Huskies have one of the best interior defenses in the nation and the Pitt guards will have to shoot lights out for them to have any chance tonight.

Pitt has won four of their last five games against Top-5 teams, but they are 0-13 all-time against top-ranked teams. Oh yeah, their last loss to a top-five team was against UCONN 80-76 on Jan. 31, 2006.

This season the Huskies are 12-9 ATS and the Panthers are 13-6 and UConn has won 7 of 8 SU at home to Pitt.

OddsBlogger Pick:
Pitt is a legit team that may do some damage come March, but they simply do not have the inside defense to stop Thabeet. They will pack the lane inside and that will open up the court for the other Huskies’ scorers.

Look for the Huskies to play a great defensive game and for the home crowd to fire them up, as they will win this game and cover the spread.

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