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Pitt Vs. UConn: Panthers Have Dominated Rivalry Lately

No. 6 Pitt faces No. 4 UConn on Monday night in one of the nation's top matchups so far this season. It's always a big deal when these two teams meet and with both teams in the top ten, that just brings more attention to the game.

The Huskies have had much more success in the NCAA tournament under coach Jim Calhoun, but the Panthers have dominated the rivalry lately, winning four of the past five games.

UConn is undefeated this season and have already taken down two top ten foes in Kentucky and Michigan State. Those are the main reasons the team has gone from unranked to No. 4 in the nation. Pitt has some good wins over Texas and Maryland, but also has a loss against Tennessee in a virtual home game. Since that win against Pitt and an undefeated start, Tennessee lost three straight against unranked foes.

The 2010-11 version of the Huskies reminds me of last year's Pitt team in terms of respect. The Huskies were unranked at the beginning of the season after losing some key players, but they've gotten off to a fast start and have quickly earned respect. Last year's Pitt team battled to a No. 3 seed in the NCAA tournament and UConn could be in line to do the same - if not better.

The key to this game could be rebounding. Pitt and UConn rank second and third in the nation in rebounding respectively and both teams rely heavily on outrebounding their opponents. Pitt is also going to need to find a way to contain Connecticut guard Kemba Walker, who has suddenly turned into a candidate for Player of the Year. Walker is averaging 26.5 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 4.0 assists per game in leading one of the country's top teams.

Photographs by dizfunk used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.