Syracuse-Connecticut Preview

BY foxsports • February 1, 2011

Syracuse is in danger of its longest losing streak in 42 years. Avoiding it will mean ending a 12-year drought at Connecticut, where the Huskies are trying to re-establish their dominance.

The 17th-ranked Orange attempt to halt a four-game slide Wednesday night against No. 6 Connecticut.

The Orange (18-4, 5-4 Big East) are on the verge of their longest skid since dropping six in a row Jan. 8-Feb. 5, 1969. This slide has dropped them 14 spots in the poll.

Syracuse is allowing an average of 80.8 points and 51.2 percent shooting - 47.8 from 3-point range - over the last four games. That's a vast difference from the Orange's season-opening winning streak, during which they limited opponents to 59.3 points per game and 36.8 percent from the field.

Syracuse's troubles continued with Saturday's 76-70 loss to Marquette, opening a stretch of three consecutive road games that ends Saturday against South Florida.

Coach Jim Boeheim felt there was some improvement from the Orange, who shot 57.1 percent after making 39.4 percent of their shots in the previous three games.

"Our offense was the best it's been in quite a while," Boeheim said. "In the second half, we put both together. Our offense was still good and our defense got a lot better."

Syracuse has split four road games in Big East play this season and hasn't beaten Connecticut (17-3, 5-3) in seven tries as the visitor since Feb. 1, 1999. The Orange have been outscored by an average of 17.0 points during the skid.

These teams haven't met in Connecticut since Feb. 11, 2009, and Syracuse won 72-67 in the lone matchup last season.

The Huskies are looking to bounce back from their first home loss this season and first in seven games overall after wasting a nine-point second-half lead to fall 79-78 in double-overtime to then-No. 23 Louisville on Saturday. Connecticut squandered another lead in the first OT and struggled at the free-throw line by making 12 of 19 attempts.

"It was an incredibly disappointing loss, because we had the game won twice - in regulation and then in overtime," coach Jim Calhoun said. "We didn't make foul shots down the stretch the way we're supposed to and can and have all year."

Kemba Walker is looking for an improved effort after he struggled to get 20 points Saturday while shooting 7 for 23 from the field, 2 for 10 from beyond the arc.

The junior guard is tied for second in the nation at 24.2 points per game, and he leads UConn with an average of 4.3 assists.

Walker had 14 points against Syracuse last season while Kris Joseph scored 14 off the bench for the Orange. The junior forward leads Syracuse with 15.2 points per game, and he's averaging 19.3 over the last three.

Facing Connecticut may be a tougher test. The Huskies allow opponents to shoot a conference-low 39.0 percent from the field - 36.9 at home - but the Cardinals made 48.4 percent of their attempts.

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