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UConn Huskies Betting – Who Will Lead The Huskies For The 2011-12 Season?

Posted by Washington Tucker on 10/21/2011 8:11:02 PM

Online betting players were shocked by Connecticut, also known as UConn, who snuck past everyone to win the national title, but they head into this year without their star guard, who made the leap to the NBA. The Huskies are a young team, and they’ll need someone to step up and fill his void not only on the court, but in the locker room as well if they want to win back-to-back championships.

Head Coach: Jim Calhoun
Conference: Big East
Location: Storrs, CT
Arena: Harry A. Gampel Pavillion; XL Center
National Titles: 3

The Huskies pulled off one of the great postseason runs of all time as they won five games in five days to win the Big East tournament as a No.9 seed, beating four top-25 teams along the way. Then UConn rolled through March Madness, upsetting the likes of San Diego State, Arizona and Kentucky before defeating Butler in the final to give head coach Jim Calhoun his third national title since 1999. The Huskies were the kings of the knockout tournament last season, as they also defeated Kentucky (again) and Michigan State en route to the Maui Invitational, a prestigious early-season tournament.

Kemba Walker was the star of the show, putting up 23.5 points, 5.4 boards, 4.5 assists and 1.9 steals, and he came up huge when it matters most, but now the Huskies will have to continue on without him as Walker left for the NBA and was drafted ninth by Charlotte. The best candidate to replace him is sophomore guard Jeremy Lamb, who put up 11.5 points in his freshman season while shooting 36.8% from the three-point line. Lamb hit some big shots throughout the postseason run, but now he’ll be counted on to make the same shots while getting more attention as Walker drew the double-teams to free him up. But at least he’ll be able to play the two-guard role without having to handle the ball; that task should fall to Shabazz Napier, who averaged 7.8 points and 3.0 assists in his first year in Storrs. However, NCAA basketball betting players will recognize that the Huskies have one of the best freshman classes in the country and guard Ryan Boatright will get a hard look at the point.

The focal point of the freshman class is center Andre Drummond, who many think is the best first-year big man in the NCAA and he has already picked up the preseason honor for best Big East rookie. His presence will also allow junior Alex Oriakhi to move back to his natural position of power forward after playing center for most of last season. Oriakhi averaged 9.6 points and 8.7 boards last season, and his numbers should receive a boost if Drummond draws the attention we think he will. Freshman forward DeAndre Daniels should also push sophomore Roscoe Nance, who averaged 6.3 points and 5.2 boards, at the small-forward position, which has opened up with the transfer of Jamal Coombs-McDaniel.

While the Huskies will miss Walker’s leadership, they still have Calhoun, although he’ll miss the first three Big East games of the season due to recruiting violations. Last season was the best coaching job of his career as he basically rode a hot star in Walker through the postseason, while getting a young team to buy into his concept of rebounding and defense. Calhoun knows what he wants and if you’re not going to listen, you’ll find yourself on the bench. Watch the dynamic between Calhoun and Lamb, who is incredibly gifted on the offensive end, but he’ll have to learn to share the ball with Drummond, who some feel will be the No.1 pick in the drafted and are comparing him to Amare Stoudemire.

UConn opens the season as the No.4 team in the country, behind North Carolina, Kentucky and Ohio State, and with NCAA basketball betting odds of +1000 to repeat as champions, which hasn’t been done since the 2006-07 Florida teams. As for their schedule, the Huskies should sail until New Year’s Eve, when they host Big East rivals St. John’s, and then every conference game is going to be huge because it’s the Big East and yes, it is that good. Their major non-conference test comes on January 21st, when they head to Knoxville to take on Tennessee.

NCAA basketball betting players were taken by surprise last year by the Huskies, but there will be no such thing this season. How will a relatively young team play under huge expectations? Someone has to step up and be a leader outside of Calhoun, who relied on Walker to be his coach on the floor. We’re not sure if Lamb is ready for that responsibility and Drummond is still a freshman; Oriakhi, one of two juniors on a team with no seniors, has the most experience, but is he a leader? Don’t count out UConn, as it took them a while to get it going last season, but unless someone steps up to take the role of leader, they’ll won’t be favored to reach the Final Four in your sports betting book.



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