Big East Tournament Betting: UConn Looks to Start Another Title Run in New York

2012 Big East Conference Tournament
Opening Round
Tuesday, 3/6/12, Noon Eastern, TV: ESPN2
#9 Connecticut Huskies (18-12, 8-10 Big East) vs. No. 16 DePaul Blue Demons (12-18, 3-15)
Madison Square Garden – New York, New York
Opening Line: UConn -10.5
Current Line: UConn -9
Opening Total: 149
Current Total: 144.5
Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker

UConn vs. DePaul Big East Tournament Betting Preview
UConn's Jeremy Lamb will try to do his best Kemba Walker impression in the Big East tournament this year.

If the Connecticut Huskies were not the defending national champions, they might be fighting for their postseason lives in the Big East Conference tournament.  But most so-called college basketball experts believe the Huskies (18-12, 8-10 Big East) are assured of an invitation to the Big Dance despite a sub-.500 record in the league during the regular season.  They will try to continue stating their case though against the DePaul Blue Demons (12-18, 3-15) on Tuesday in the opener of the Big East tourney at Madison Square Garden.

UConn (-9, O/U 144.5) became the first team ever to win five games in five days en route to the championship a year ago as the No. 9 seed, beginning the improbable run with a 97-71 rout of No. 16 DePaul.  The seeds are the same this year, although the Huskies will have one glaring omission from their lineup when they take the court against the Blue Demons – Kemba Walker.

Walker turned in the best individual performance in the history of the tournament for UConn last year at MSG, scoring a record 130 points in 190 minutes of action before following that up with an NCAA title run.  The Huskies do not have the same star power this year without Walker, who is now honing his skills in the NBA, even though super sophomore Jeremy Lamb returns.

The Blue Demons are improved over last year, winning five additional games overall this season and two more in Big East play.  They are coming off their biggest blowout victory of the season on Saturday against another bubble team, crushing No. 10 seed Seton Hall 86-58 at home to end a nine-game losing streak and cover the spread for the second time in six games.  Jamee Crockett led DePaul with a career-high 21 points in 26 minutes off the bench.

Crockett scored just seven points as a starter in the last meeting with UConn on February 15, as the Huskies rolled in an 80-54 home win.  Lamb led the winners with a game-high 18 points while three of his teammates also scored in double figures.  That is UConn’s lone game in its last eight that went UNDER the total.  Meanwhile, the Blue Demons have seen three of their past four go UNDER.

The Huskies have won the last six meetings between the teams, going 4-1 against the spread in the past five.  The total has gone UNDER in seven of the last eight meetings.  DePaul is 1-4 all-time in the Big East tourney, making it to the second round in 2009.

The winner will play No. 8 West Virginia (19-12, 9-9) on Wednesday at noon (ET).

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