The No. 17 Syracuse Orange will try and end a four-game losing streak Wednesday night as they travel to the Connecticut Huskies (No. 6 in the AP poll and No. 7 in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches poll) for a Big East Conference showdown at the XL Center in Hartford, CT (7 p.m. on ESPN).
Last week, the Orange (18-4, 5-4), whose last four-game losing streak came during the 2005-06 season, lost at home to the Seton Hall Pirates and on the road to the Marquette Golden Eagles. The previous week, SU dropped games to No. 2 Pittsburgh Panthers and No. 12 Villanova Wildcats. The two recent losses helped SU plummet from the college basketball rankings -- last week SU was No. 9 in the AP poll and No. 10 in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches poll. Currently, the Orange are tied for eighth in the 16-team conference.
On Saturday, The Huskies (17-3, 5-3) lost 79-78 in double overtime to the visiting Louisville Cardinals. Before Saturday, UConn was riding a six-game winning streak, which included victories at No. 3 Texas Longhorns and home against No. 12 Villanova.
Currently, UConn junior guard Kemba Walker leads the conference in scoring and is a strong candidate to win the nation's Player Of The Year award. Walker netted 20 points in Saturday's loss to Louisville, marking the 15th straight game that Walker netted 20-plus points, the third longest streak in school history. Sophomore forward Alex Oriakhi is averaging 10.7 points and 9.0 rebounds a game.
|2010 - Kemba Walker||20||36.6||8.1||18.5||43.5||2.0||6.0||33.6||6.1||7.4||82.4||1.5||3.8||5.3||4.3||2.1||2.1||0.2||1.3||24.2|
Defensively, Connecticut is sound. As of Monday, the Huskies were second in the conference in field-goal percentage defense (.390), blocked-shot average (6.45) and rebound margin (+6.4). UConn is shooting .332 percent (10th in the league) behind the 3-point line and .760 percent from the free-throw line (second in the league).