Syracuse Orange vs Villanova Wildcats
Where: The Pavillion
When: Saturday, Jan. 26, 11:00 a.m.
Villanova is taking on their second straight top five opponent on Saturday morning. Earlier in week, Villanova notched a victory over former number one team, Louisville. The win helped the Wildcats thwart a three game slide, and get back to .500 in the Big East. Now the Wildcats have a chance to avenge their first conference loss to the Syracuse Orange. Syracuse leads the Big East with a (6-0) record, and they beat Villanova 72-61 on Jan. 9th.
During the first meeting both teams were undefeated, both teams came out sluggishly on offense. They had an early noon start for that one, and this game is even earlier. The morning tip off could be a determining factor in another slow start for Big East basketball teams.
Michael Carter-Williams has come on strong in the second half of the last two games. He’s no longer averaging a double-double with assists, but clutch steals and his three- point shooting has helped the Orange come away with two last second victories.
JayVaughn Pinkston is Villanova’s leading scorer and paces the Wildcats with 13.2 points per game. Pinkston should use his versatility, and mid range game, against Syracuse’s 2-3 zone defense. He has the skill to get in the middle and create shots for teammates as well. Pinkston has taken 48 more foul shots than the next closest Villanova player. He gets to the line so often, Pinkston made more than foul shots than any Syracuse player has taken.
Syracuse is fourth in field goal percentage defense. They hold opponents to 35 percent from the field and 28 percent from three-point range. The Orange is in the top 10 in blocks and steals. During Big East play, Syracuse has given up its huge rebounding advantage, but they still rank at number 12 overall.
Brandon Triche leads the Syracuse offensive attack at 14.5 points per game. C.J. Fair is third on the team in scoring and leads the team in rebounding. He made the game winning tip-in against Cincinnati in the final minute. Fair always seems to be around the ball, and he must continue to step up for the Orange to be successful. Fair had 22 points in the first game.
Point guard, Ryan Arcidiacono has had a solid first season in the Big East. He and the Wildcats struggled late in the first game. Syracuse’s length bothered him out top. Arcidiacono finished with seven points in 35 minutes of action. He must make better decisions at the top of the zone.
Syracuse has given up some long range shots, but for the most part, the zone defense has been a stalwart. For the Orange to win, they must continue to play with the length on the glass. The Syracuse big men will have one of their best games this season. Jerami Grant continues to impress as he receives more minutes.
Villanova must move the ball to be effective against the zone. They will play well for most of the game. If they are able to shoot the three-ball against the zone, Villanova will be in a prime position to win.
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