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College Basketball Betting: UConn dead without Dyson?

Written by:
Carrie Stroup
Published on:
Feb/16/2009

The injury to Connecticut Huskies guard Jerome Dyson could have a big effect on their Monday night home game versus the Pittsburgh Panthers.

Dyson is out indefinitely with a knee injury suffered in last Wednesday's game against Syracuse. He was the second leading scorer on the team with an average of 13.2 points per game, and was third in rebounding (4.1 per game) and second in assists (3.2 per game). 

The Huskies are sure to miss Dyson in this battle of the superpowers. This is the Big East version of Duke and North Carolina, just without as much fanfare because Pittsburgh is new to the national scene. Tip-off for this ESPN ‘Big Monday' game is 7 pm ET.

Earn points betting on the game at Sportsbook.com with our exclusive basketball Beat the House promotion.

Note that UConn is only 2-6 ATS at home this year despite being 7-1 straight-up in those games with spreads. Pittsburgh, 4-3 ATS away, has lost and failed to cover road games at Villanova and Louisville this year, leading at halftime in each.

The loss of Dyson means that UConn's four-guard rotation, perhaps the best in the country, is now down to three. That means more minutes for senior guard Craig Austrie and freshman Kemba Walker, as well as forward Stanley Robinson.

Dyson's injury is sure to give more confidence to a Pittsburgh team that is underdogs on the road. The Panthers guard rotation is led by savvy point, Levance Fields and it includes a couple of freshmen in Jermaine Dixon and Ashton Gibbs, along with sophomore Brad Wannamaker who joins Gibbs off the pine.

This collection of guard talent for Pitt is now the equal of Connecticut after this injury. Where the Huskies still have an advantage in this game is with center Hasheem Thabeet.

The 7'3" Thabeet seems like he's auditioning for NBA scouts even more than usual lately as his rebounding and block totals are way up. He is completely dominating the paint from a defensive standpoint, drawing comparisons to Patrick Ewing from his Georgetown days. 

Pittsburgh gets the bulk of their scoring from small forward Sam Young and power forward DeJuan Blair. However, the 6'7" Blair gives up eight inches to Thabeet and he'll have trouble bullying his way to the basket despite his 265 pound frame. Young is a slasher type who will also be forced away from the basket to get his points.

UConn has their own power forward type in Jeff Adrien and he will try to match points with Blair on the other end.

In the only meeting between the teams last year, Adrien had 14 points while Blair had 18 and the Huskies won 60-53 at home as four-point favorites.

Dyson missed that game while serving a suspension, as well as eight other contests. UConn's record without him was 8-1 straight-up and 5-3-1 ATS, so they've been down this road before.

Couple that with a #1 seed in the tournament possibly on the line, and UConn knows they can't afford to lose this game, Dyson or no Dyson.

Can Coach Jim Calhoun's team get the job done?

Bet on it at Sportsbook.com.

Carrie Stroup, Gambling911.com Senior Reporter

 

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