3Qs4 Syracuse vs. Connecticut in the Big East Championship Quarterfinals

The last time Syracuse and Connecticut met in the quarterfinals of the Big East tournament was in 2009.

If that doesn’t ring a bell, this phrase will: Six overtimes.

The Orange and the Huskies played the longest game in Big East history three years ago, a thrilling 127-117 win for the Orange. Will Thursday’s game be as historic?

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Here are three other questions to ask on Thursday at noon:

CAN THE HUSKIES DO IT AGAIN?

Last year, an underdog Connecticut team won five games in five days to capture the Big East Championship and ended up winning six more in the NCAA tournament to win the National Championship.

This year, the Huskies once again came into the Big East Tournament off the radar, with an 8-10 record in conference. But, like last year, the Huskies are surging again at Madison Square Garden.

Connecticut cruised past DePaul in the first round, 81-67, on Tuesday. The Huskies followed that up with a 71-67 win in overtime against West Virginia on Wednesday to set a date in the quarterfinals with Syracuse, a team the Huskies knocked off on their march to the top.

More parallels from last year? How about star power?

In 2011, it was Kemba Walker putting on a one-man show. Now, it’s sophomore Jeremy Lamb, who scored 25 against the Blue Demons and poured in 22 against the Mountaineers.

Of course, one of the biggest factors is head coach Jim Calhoun who returned to the bench after being out with a painful back condition. The Huskies have yet to lose with Calhoun back on the sidelines.

WILL JAMES SOUTHERLAND PLAY A FACTOR AGAIN?

On Saturday, Southerland had his best game in roughly six weeks, with seven points in 20 minutes as Syracuse defeated Louisville in the regular season finale.

While it was nice to see Southerland regain his shooting rhythm (he was 2-for-3 from the field and also hit a 3), it was even better to see Southerland active on the defensive end.

The junior had three blocks and added four rebounds against the Cardinals. To put that in prospective, Southerland hadn’t had that many blocks since Dec. 22 against Tulane, and the rebound total was his highest since SU’s first game against Louisville on Feb. 13.

WHICH SCOOP JARDINE WILL PLAY?

Will it be the one who has been a combined 0-for-12 in two games against Louisville for a grand total of zero points? Or will it be the fifth-year leader who made key baskets in close games against Rutgers and South Florida?

Jardine has been all over the map this season with his performances, but with the postseason starting, the Orange will need him to be making smart plays and hitting his shots more than ever.

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Wes Cheng

About Wes Cheng

Wes has worked for Rivals.com covering the New York Knicks, as well as for Scout.com covering Syracuse athletics. Wes has also worked for the South China Morning Post (Hong Kong) and reported on the NBA and MLB for the New York Sportscene. A native of Long Island, New York, Wes graduated from Syracuse University in 2005. Follow him on Twitter @ChengWes.
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