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18 January 2008

'Nova looks to keep momentum vs. 'Cuse

posted by NovaFan09
1/18/2008 01:55:00 PM

#21 Villanova Wildcats (12-3, 2-2 BE) at
Syracuse Orange (13-5, 3-2 BE)

Date: Saturday, January 19, 2008
Location: Carrier Dome (Syracuse, NY)
Time: 12:00 p.m. EST
Television: ESPN

Syracuse coverage: CuseAdelphia || Orange Basketball

Villanova might hope its strong second half against DePaul propels the 'Cats to another Big East victory this Saturday, when Villanova travels to Syracuse to take on a young but talented team.

Decimated by season-ending injuries to guards Andy Rautins and Eric Devendorf, Syracuse is led by two freshmen who make up one of the strongest recruiting classes in all of college basketball: Donte Greene (18.9 ppg, 7.9 rpg, 1.9 apg) and Jonny Flynn (14.5, 2.4, 5.4). Add the talented sophomores Paul Harris (13.6, 9.2) and 6'9" Arinze Onuaku (13.6, 7.7), and Syracuse has four double-digit scorers capable of taking the game over offensively on a team that averages more than 83 points a game.

Like Villanova, 'Cuse lost to the Cincinnati Bearcats in Ohio, do in large part to its inconsistent defense. Although the Orange easily built a big lead in the game's opening minutes, Syracuse was unable to hold it, and ultimately lost. It is in this aspect of the game that many parallels and similarities can be drawn between these two teams. Both are at times able to score at will, but it is their lack of experience that allows more veteran-laden -- albeit less talented -- teams to win, a la Cincinnati and DePaul.

"READ MORE" below for the keys to the game and x-factors. As always, you may try to predict the final score and offer your own keys to the game in the comments section.

Keys to the game

Villanova Press:
It is important that Villanova continually pressures the Syracuse's ball handlers. Once the Orange gets into its offensive sets, it is very hard to contain Syracuse's scorers. 'Cuse is extremely balanced offensively, with scoring options both in the post and on the wing, so it is imperative that 'Nova force turnovers and harass the young guards.

Tempo: Jim Boeheim traditionally runs a 2-3 defense with his teams. Because this year's edition is still learning to play cohesively at the collegiate level, however, many times Coach Boeheim reverts to man-to-man defense. Villanova's offense should dictate which defense Syracuse will primarily play, forcing the Orange to react to Villanova's offense.

Rebound: The 'Cats out-rebounded DePaul 40-18, yet still only managed to win the game in the last few minutes. If the 'Cats still refuse to play perimeter defense and allow teams to stay dangerously close, each defensive rebound will be especially important to keep Syracuse from scoring on second chances.


Shane Clark:
His athleticism and long arms will prove to be valuable against Syracuse's big men in Greene and Onuaku.

Antonio Pena: 'Tone is riding a wave of confidence over the past few games and is beginning to look like another viable scoring option. Get him the ball and let him go to work down low.

This game may prove to be a high-scoring and exciting affair, and I, for one, look forward to watching two explosive teams play to their potential Saturday morning.

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At 3:20 PM, January 18, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Syracuse 83
Nova 78

In a hostile carrier dome the young cats will have a tough time rising to the challenge. However I am hoping for the best

At 3:45 PM, January 18, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

cuse 88 nova 80

This team has struggled on the road against lesser teams, so for me its hard to believe they will beat cuse in the carrier dome

At 3:58 PM, January 18, 2008, Blogger Pete @ LetsGoNova.com said...

Good preview. I like your insights about forcing the 'Cuse defense. I might be a little bit optimistic, but:

'Nova 84
'Cuse 79

At 4:26 PM, January 18, 2008, Blogger Eric said...

Nova 80
Cuse 77

At 4:28 PM, January 18, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Juice the Cuse!

Nova 82
Syracuse 75

At 4:58 PM, January 18, 2008, Blogger Jameson Fleming said...

Nice look at the Wildcats...if Syracuse rebounds at all out of the 2-3 zone which they periodically struggle to do, 'Nova is most likely cooked.

I don't see enough size or good enough three point shooters for the Wildcats to take down Syracuse in the Dome.

In Wachovia might be a little different. Though I don't think there's a huge home court advantage there, I went to the game and sat upperdeck and the entire upper concourse was like all Orange. I expect more the same when I go this year.

I think I said 86-76 Syracuse on CuseAdelphia.

At 6:26 PM, January 18, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nova 76
Syracuse 74

At 9:03 PM, January 18, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Our defense is improving, it will not be so high scoring. I want to see Dante or Pena to throw a few dunks down to quiet the crowd initially.

Nova 72
Syracuse 66

At 3:02 AM, January 19, 2008, Blogger Matt said...

Syracuse 77
Villanova 69

At 2:17 PM, January 19, 2008, Blogger NovaFan09 said...

that was an extremely gutsy win by nova this afternoon. this team is seething with potential and talent and it is exciting to see them starting to come together

At 2:22 PM, January 19, 2008, Blogger Eric said...

What a win on the road! I think we need a rule that any Nova "fan" who incorrectly picks the other team to win should be banned from commenting until after the next game.

At 2:30 PM, January 19, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Syracuse is not very good

At 2:51 PM, January 19, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

We looked great tonight. Swinging the ball around the zone beautifully. Scottie Reynolds penetrating the 2-3 was huge!! We had a good plan and we executed, lets keep it rolling!

At 3:40 PM, January 19, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That was a key win. They didn't let the Syracuse crowd intimidate them, and dismantled the 2-3 zone by finding the seams on the baseline. It's good to finally get a legit road win!

At 4:14 PM, January 19, 2008, Blogger DaveNJ said...

This was a huge road win for Villanova. Big East road wins have been hard to come by so far, and given the upsets in the top 25 this week Villanova will be moving up again. Winning in the Carrier Dome is never easy, but Nova managed to pull through and get a major victory.

And personally, I'm very impressed by Antonio Peña, who has really started to come along for Villanova. Grant and Fisher may be flashier, but Peña's quietly developing into a great offensive and defensive PF. He has the athleticism to go pro eventually, too.

At 3:02 AM, January 20, 2008, Blogger DaveNJ said...

Also, was this not the perfect time for a win to move back up the rankings? AZ State, Miami, Clemson, Mississippi, Texas A&M (twice), Butler, Dayton, and Xavier all lost this week.

At 9:09 PM, January 20, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Regarding the "tough to win in the Carrier Dome," that seems to be true for every team in the nation, except Villanova. Nova has by far the best record of any visiting team to the Carrier Dome. (12-13)

Though that doesn't make the Carrier Dome an easier place to play, and doesn't take away from a great win.


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