The latest eight-game winning streak for the No. 2 Syracuse Orange hasn't been pretty but it has been enough. The Orange hope the formula continues to be successful Saturday when they visit the Connecticut Huskies for a Big East Conference men's basketball showdown at Gample Pavilion in Storrs, Conn (9 p.m. on ESPN).
The Orange (28-1, 15-1 Big East) are looking for a season sweep of the Huskies (17-10, 7-8), who have never lost to Syracuse at Gampel.
A victory for both teams would do a lot for their postseason aspirations. If Syracuse wins, it would clinch the regular-season Big East title outright -- the Orange havealready earned a share -- as well as the No. 1 seed in the upcoming Big East Tournament March 6-10 at Madison Square Garden.
Meanwhile, UConn is searching for a signature victory that would help cement a NCAA Tournament invite. The Huskies are losers of seven of their last 10 games, with zero positive results against top-25 programs.
Napier tallied just six points, but sophomore guard Jeremy Lamb netted a game-best and career-high 32 points.
Lamb enters Saturday night's game as UConn's top scorer (17.9 points per game), with Napier second (12.7 ppg) and the top passer (5.8 assists per game). Freshman center Andre Drummond is the team's best rebounder (7.6 per game) and was very successful (13 points and seven rebounds) against the Orange in their previous meeting Feb. 11.
Drummond, however, suffered a brief injury early in the second half and was held ineffective in the later minutes of the 85-67 loss.
For the Orange, who are looking to also secure the best regular season record in program history, Saturday's game is an opportunity for further improvement before the postseason, which will likely feature them as favorites in the conference and NCAA tournaments.
Senior forward Kris Joseph paces Syracuse in scoring, averaging 14.0 ppg. Senior point guard Scoop Jardine (10.6 ppg, 5.1 assists per game, 2.2 turnovers per game), though, has been SU's spark plug through the last eight games.
Sophomores forward C.J. Fair and center Fab Melo are both leading SU in rebounding (5.5 per game each), while Melo is tallying 7.7 ppg and 3.1 blocks per game.
The betting odds have Syracuse as a 4 1/2-point favorite.
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