(Note: Bud Light will be sponsoring the stretch run here, where we'll be writing a series of posts as part of their 'Here We Go' campaign. Bud Light will also be sending two lucky contest winners to Las Vegas in March. Details are at the conclusion of this post)
There will be no attendance records broken tonight when Syracuse plays Villanova. The only record that matters is the one called Big East season record. Both teams have nine wins on the season. A tenth win ensures a winning record in the toughest conference in the land and puts the winner in good position for a double-bye in the Big East Tournament (as much as that's not an actual advantage when you look at the numbers).
"Teams seem to shoot well against us," Jardine said after SU's win Saturday. "We have to do a better job of making them take tougher shots."
The Orange have made a lot of good second-half adjustments. The problem is, they usually have to because their first-half performance is so awful. And it especially was against Villanova the first time around.
The most polarizing and frustrating player on the Orange right now is Scoop Jardine and we really began to realize those frustrations with the Nova game. Scoop scored two points in that game on 1-for-8 shooting. To say we need more out of him is an understatement. Even moreso, we need him to make smart decisions. Scoop is always the one to say quotes like the one above. Off-the-court, he's a leader and a veteran. On it...Hell if I know.
The Syracuse line-up has been in a constant state of flux since Big East play started. James Southerland went from starter to benchwarmer. Fab Melo is now doing the same. Dion Waiters and C.J. Fair seemingly swapped PT. Baye Moussa Keita went from role player to starter. Coming off last season, in which the Orange had an extremely stable rotation all year, it's been curious to watch, to say the least.
Those rotation shifts might continue if the nagging injuries that are plaguing the Orange continue to do so. Try to break down who has what kind of injury and trainer Brad Pike will laugh in your face:
"Everybody has something, yes," SU athletic trainer Brad Pike said. "It’s just trying to make it better. At this point, everything is kind of smoldering. We’re trying to keep them smoldering and have no flames."
According to Donna, Kris Joseph is playing with a sore left knee, Baye Moussa Keita has an ongoing hand injury, Scoop injured his hand on Saturday (though he said it will not affect the way he plays), Dion Waiters has knee issue, Fab Melo had an Achilles issue (I thought it was a calf muscle?), C.J. Fair ices both knees after games and even had to ice up his arm after someone's teeth inadvertently sunk into it. It's been that kind of season.
Hopefully no one tells a perfectly-healthy Mookie Jones about all of this...
Corey Stokes has been injured for the Wildcats and has missed their last four games (2-2). Jay Wright said Stokes is "questionable" for tonight. Stokes led the Cats with four 3-pointers last time against the Orange, so we won't shed any tears if he's not there. Stokes says he's going to play so you should probably assume he will. Of course, even if he doesn't, Corey Fisher and Maalik Wayns are no slouches from beyond the arc as well, as we learned.
- Orange Scouting Report: Syracuse at Villanova..Mike Waters
- Villanova - Syracuse Preview...Orange44
- Following Escape Act, Some Philly Foresight...CuseOrange
- No Love Lost For Cuse And Nova...Otto's Army
- preGame: Villanova vs. Syracuse...The Nova Blog
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