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Villanova at Syracuse
Big East Hoops Betting Analysis
The best game of the weekend pits Big East heavyweights Villanova against
Syracuse. Both teams are in the top 10 and have a very good chance to make some
noise in the upcoming NCAA Tournament. Villanova started the year 20-1, but has
since lost 3 of their last 6 bring their overall record to 23-4. They were last
seen beating up on an overmatched but South Florida team. Syracuse is rolling
through the Big East with a record of 26-2 behind the guidance of the legendary
Jim Boeheim. Their last game was a win over Providence who has been used as a
punching bag by most of their opponents this year. Villanova will host what
promises to be an exciting game on ESPN at 9 PM EST.
Villanova is likely to live or die based on the effectiveness of senior PG Scottie Reynolds. He is averaging 40.4% from three point range, and he can kill the opposing team if he gets hot. Reynolds proved this when he sank 5 of 5 three pointers against Louisville and had a total of 36 points. He sank 4 of 7 three pointers in a narrow victory over Georgetown where he scored a total of 27 points. He rarely gets in foul trouble and has averaged 29.6 MPG. Reynolds is very solid at the charity stripe as he proved when he hit 10 of 10 free throws against the Hoyas.
Reynolds is the best player for Villanova, but he does have a strong supporting cast. Junior G Corey Fisher is averaging 13.8 PPG and 4.0 APG. One of his best games of the year came against Maryland when he scored 20 points and drained 4 of 6 three pointers. Junior F Antonio Pena does well on the glass, pulling down 7.5 RPG. He scores 11.0 PPG, but tends to get in foul trouble. He has fouled out 6 times this year. If Villanova is going to succeed against Syracuse they will need to stop the 2-3 zone and get the ball in the hands of Scottie Reynolds. They have to get good shots and they can’t settle for outside jumpers.
The Syracuse Orange is a very deep team with 5 players averaging 10+ PPG. Junior F Wesley Johnson does the most damage for Syracuse who is ranked #4 in both polls. He puts up 15.8 PPG while pulling down 8.7 RPG. He also gets 1.9 blocks per game, and 1.8 steals per game. He isn’t the biggest player on the court at 6’ 7”, but he clearly knows how to get the job done. His best game of the year came against UNC when he scored 25 points and grabbed 8 rebounds.
G Andy Rautins and F Rick Jackson are also key parts to this Syracuse team. Rautins pulls down 3.2 RPG while dishing out 4.6 assists per game. He is the second leading scorer at 11.8 PPG behind Johnson. Jackson pulls down 7 boards per game and adds 10.0 PPG. His best game of this season came on the road against Florida where he had 21 points and 11 rebounds. Syracuse will have a tough time losing if he plays that well in this game.
This clash of the titans could go either way. Some of the keys to the game will be the effectiveness of Syracuse’s 2-3 zone, and Villanova’s ability to get to the free throw line. The Wildcats get to the charity stripe 27 times per game and average 75% as a team. If the Orange can shut down Reynolds and evenly distribute the ball on offense they will probably take this one. The Wildcats key to victory will be getting good shots. Regardless of the winner, this game promises to be a thriller!
Predicted Final Score - Syracuse 85 Villanova
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