2012 Big East Basketball Tournament: DePaul Vs. Connecticut Preview

Connecticut likely had higher expectations for the 2011-12 season following its NCAA Tournament championship last year. But in finishing 18-12 overall and 8-10 in conference play, the Huskies enter the Big East Tournament as the No. 9 seed. They'll play the No. 16 DePaul Blue Demons (12-18, 3-15 Big East) in the opening round of the tourney Tuesday, March 6 at noon ET on ESPN2/ESPN3D.

The two teams met once during the regular season, with UConn winning 80-54 on Feb. 15.

UConn began the season ranked No. 4 in both the AP Top 25 and the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll. By the time the Big East season opened, the Huskies had dropped a game against the Central Florida Knights in the semifinals of the Battle 4 Atlantis Nov. 25, 2011, but were still ranked No. 9. The Huskies began their conference slate 4-2, before losing four straight and dropping out of the polls. A 69-46 win over Seton Hall Feb. 4 -- a game the Huskies played without head coach Jim Calhoun, who took an indefinite leave of absence because of spinal stenosis -- got UConn back on the winning track, but it lost five of its final eight games.

DePaul, meanwhile, finished with the worst Big East record and tied Villanova for the conference's worst overall record. The Blue Demons collected their first Big East win Jan. 5 against Pittsburgh, but lost their next five conference games. At Rutgers Jan. 25, DePaul picked up its second conference win before dropping its next nine games. In the regular-season finale, DePaul trounced Seton Hall 86-58.

UConn's leading scorer, sophomore guard Jeremy Lamb (17.6 points per game), scored 14 in the Huskies' regular season finale against the Pittsburgh Panthers Saturday. Lamb is also second on the team with 4.8 rebounds per game (tied with junior forward/center Alex Oriakhi) and third with 1.7 assists per game.

While four Huskies finished the season averaging at least 10 points per game, the Blue Demons had just two. Sophomore forward Cleveland Melvin led DePaul with 17.4 points per game and also finished first with 7.3 rebounds per game. Sophomore guard Brandon Young finished with 14.8 points per game and also led the Blue Demons with 4.9 assists per game.

For complete coverage of the Big East Tournament 2012, check back to this SB Nation New York StoryStream.

For a SB Nation New York preview of other Big East schools, click on its respective links: Syracuse, Marquette, Notre Dame, Cincinnati, Georgetown, South Florida, Louisville, West Virginia, Connecticut, Seton Hall, Rutgers, St. John's, Pittsburgh, Villanova, Providence, DePaul.

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