7:00 PM ET, February 2, 2009
Connecticut is No. 1 in the AP poll for the first time in three years. That might not be the best ranking to have going into a matchup with Louisville.The Huskies look for a 10th straight victory while trying to hand the surging No. 5 Cardinals their first loss in Big East play as the teams meet Monday night at Freedom Hall.With last week's No. 1 Duke losing 70-68 at Wake Forest on Wednesday and third-ranked Pittsburgh falling 67-57 at Villanova the same night, Connecticut (20-1, 9-1) moved atop the poll Monday for the first time since the 2005-06 season.UConn coach Jim Calhoun, however, is cautious after his team posted a pair of easy wins over DePaul and Providence during the week."This will be our fourth game in eight days and we have played in Chicago, South Bend and now here," Calhoun said at his team's Monday shootaround. "That's life in the Big East."The Huskies won't have much time to enjoy their new ranking as they head to Louisville (17-3, 8-0), the Big East co-leader which has also won nine in a row -- highlighted by a 69-63 home win over then-No. 1 Pittsburgh on Jan. 17.Louisville, which shares the conference lead with Marquette, has won two of its last four games against top-ranked teams."Number 1 hasn't worked out so well for teams this year," UConn senior guard A.J. Price said. "We have a tough game (Louisville) coming up Monday, so not too much time to celebrate."UConn is 4-2 all-time against Louisville and won 69-67 at home in the teams' only meeting last season. The schools have split the two games played at Freedom Hall.The Huskies, 10-0 away from home, are coming off their second-highest scoring game of 2008-09. Price had 19 points, Stanley Robinson added 18 and 7-foot-3 Hasheem Thabeet had 15, 11 rebounds and 10 blocks for his first career triple-double in Saturday's 94-61 rout of Providence for UConn, which hasn't lost since opening Big East play with a 74-63 home loss to then-No. 11 Georgetown on Dec. 29."We're so happy," said Thabeet, who posted 10 blocks for the third time in his career. "We worked so hard, and have won a lot of games in row. We're just trying to stay together as much as possible. We're just happy right now."Price, averaging 19.2 points in his last five games overall, had 20 in last season's win over Louisville.Boasting a 12-1 record at Freedom Hall, the Cardinals are wrapping up a three-game homestand, but played unevenly in Saturday's 69-63 win over West Virginia.Jerry Smith scored a season-high 20 points, but the Cardinals had their 20-point halftime lead trimmed to four with 2:16 left before regrouping."We fall in love with ourselves too much," said Louisville coach Rick Pitino, whose team overcame a season-high 26 turnovers. "In the long run, it's probably better we had a war down the stretch."It was another in a string of tight conference wins for Louisville, which also needed overtime to beat then-No. 12 Notre Dame at home two days after winning 61-60 at then-No. 18 Villanova on Jan. 10. The Cardinals moved up two spots in this week's poll."We've been through World War I, two, three, four and five," Pitino said.Smith, who averages 7.2 points, was the only Louisville starter to score in double figures Saturday.Leading scorer Earl Clark, who averages 13.5 points, was held to four against the Mountaineers.
|Avg Points Allowed||64.0||61.6|
|» Feb 2, 2009||CONN 68, @LOU 51||Recap|