Foe: #20 Syracuse Orange (18-5)(6-4)
Recent History: Syracuse holds a slight 34-28 advantage in the all-time series, but Villanova has won five of the past seven. Last season Nova and Cuse met three times, with Nova winning the first 81-71 at the Carrier Dome, Syracuse winning the second 87-73 at the Wachovia Center, and Nova winning the rubber match 82-63 in the Big East Tournament, a crucial game in which the winner would likely make the NCAA Tournament. Nova went on the NCAAs, while Cuse had to settle for the NIT. Syracuse lost leading scorer Donte Greene to the NBA, but have Eric Devendorf and Andy Rautins back from injury this season. The key match-up for the game will likely be Scottie Reynolds vs. Johnny Flynn in the backcourt. Flynn averaged 21 points and 4 assists in the three games against Nova last season, while Reynolds averaged 20 points and 3 assists. Flynn is averaging 17 points and 6 assists this year to lead five Orangemen averaging double figures in scoring: Devendorf (15.2), Harris (13.0), Onaku (11.5), Rautins (10.0).
Best Win: 72-65 at Memphis
Worst Loss: 72-69 vs. Cleveland State
Famous Alumni: NBA: Carmelo Anthony, Derrick Coleman, Donte Greene, Rony Seikaly, Hakim Warrick
Other: Joe Biden, Marv Albert, Matthew Berry, Bob Costas, Ian Eagle, Ted Koppel, Sean McDonough, Mike Tirico, Jim Brown, Tom Coughlin, Dwight Freeny, Marvin Harrison, Donovan McNabb, Art Monk, David Tyree, Dick Clark, Taye Diggs, Frank Langella, Jerry Stiller, Vanessa Williams
- Syracuse won national championships in 1918, 1926, and 2003.
- Syracuse has had an NCAA record 38 consecutive winning seasons.
Complimentary Youtube Video:
Final Verdict: Like Nova, Syracuse has 6 Big East wins, although Cuse's best win is probably vs. Notre Dame, currently on a 6-game losing streak. They will still be a tough team to beat, even with a home court advantage. Syracuse fans usually fill up the upper deck at the Wachovia Center, which might be why they've had some success there. I think the x-factors in the game will be Corey Fisher for Villanova and Paul Harris for Syracuse, who dropped 28 on Nova at the Wach last year. These teams match up well and it should be a close game, but I think Villanova will prevail in front of the home crowd.
TV: ESPN 12:00