Saturday's game between the No. 2 Syracuse Orange and Connecticut Huskies is a matchup of two teams going in opposite directions. The Orange are 24-1, they're completely healthy, they're all eligible now that sophomore center Fab Melo has returned, and they're one of the odds-on favorites for the Final Four. Heck, even the case against former assistant coach Bernie Fine is getting holes poked through it.
UConn is on an entirely different trajectory. The team has lost five of its last six games, all against conference opponents, and the Huskies must try to turn their season around, for the time being, without legendary head coach Jim Calhoun, who is out indefinitely with spinal stenosis. Furthermore, they got the news that if they miss this year's tournament, which is looking more and more likely, it will likely be an extended absence from The Big Dance. The NCAA ruled Friday that because of below-standard academics, the Huskies must forego the 2013 postseason.
However, with sophomores Jeremy Lamb and Shabazz Napier and freshmen Andre Drummond and Ryan Boatright, the Huskies are talented. It would be unwise for the Orange to look at their opponents' situation and assume a victory, because if college basketball has taught us anything, it's that no team should be taken lightly.
Location: Carrier Dome, Syracuse, N.Y.
Date & Time: Saturday, February 11, 1 p.m.