Big East Game 1 primer: UConn vs. DePaul

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It’s officially March. Let’s see who brought their dancing shoes.

Welcome to Metro’s coverage of the 2011 Big East tournament live from Madison Square Garden. We’ll do our best to keep you entertained over the next five days with game predictions, player breakdowns and mascot interviews. We’re hoping for some epic post-game rants or maybe even some post-game tears, but we’ll settle for a collection of cheerleader snafus. In any event, by the time Selection Sunday rolls around, we expect a record 11 Big East teams to make the NCAA tournament.

Here’s your Big East Day 1 primer:

Game No. 1: No. 9 Connecticut (21-9, 9-9 Big East) vs. No. 16 DePaul (7-23, 1-17 Big East)

Line: UConn -14.5

TV: Noon, ESPN2

What to watch for: The Huskies have lost six straight Big East tournament games, including a 73-51 beatdown to St. John’s last year. Kemba Walker, who could be named the league’s Player of the Year later this week, looked fatigued parts of last month when UConn lost three of five. Let’s see how his stamina holds playing back-to-backs at the Garden.

Tourney talk: We have UConn penciled in as a 5-seed right now. It’d really have to beat top-seeded Pitt Thursday to move up a line or two.

Sheen meter (Here’s where we’ll grade the game’s quality with a Charlie Sheen quote): “It’s funny how sheep rhymes with sleep.” You’ll be thinking of all kinds of random things to keep yourself entertained once this turns into a blowout.

Prediction:
DePaul is last in the Big East in almost every meaningful category and is without leading scorer Cleveland Martin (sprained left thumb). The Blue Demons were thumped 107-59 by Syracuse Saturday, the worst loss in Big East history. Even though an early game can throw off a team, we’ll still take UConn.

UConn 82, DePaul 60

Winner faces: No. 8 Georgetown tomorrow at noon.



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