By Colin McDonough, Senior Staff Writer
In a showdown usually reserved for ESPN’s “Rivalry Week,” No. 17 Syracuse travels south to Connecticut to try to knock off No. 6 UConn. In recent years, the Orange and Huskies have matched up in the second or third week of February. But this season the game is a week earlier than usual. Either way, this is UConn’s main rivalry game.
Two seasons ago the No. 1 Huskies dispatched Syracuse at Gampel Pavilion 63-49. Although it was a UConn win, the Huskies suffered their most devastating loss of the season as Jerome Dyson tore his meniscus after bumping into Andy Rautins. Dyson never played another game on the 2009 Final Four team and a lot of people around here think if Dyson never went down than UConn would’ve won its third national championship.
Last season, while the Cuse was on its way to a No. 1 seed and the Huskies slowly securing a trip to the NIT, UConn played the Orange pretty tough in the Carrier Dome. The Huskies lost 72-67 in a tight game with some dicey calls by the officials.
Since 1990 this game has been one of the biggest rivalries in the Big East. UConn has one both meetings in the Big East Tournament championship, winning the title over Syracuse in 1990 and 1998. But unfortunately for the Blue and White, the Orange have won some of the more memorable contests at Madison Square Garden.
The second meeting of 2009 was one of the greatest games in college basketball history. Syracuse beat UConn in six overtimes in a game that went deep into the night and deep into the team’s benches. The Huskies led in the first five overtimes but could not put the Orange away and lost 127-117. In previous conference tournaments, the likes of Gerry McNamara upset powerful UConn teams in 2005 and 2006.
The Huskies don’t want to see any upsets happen this time.