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Let's Not All Go Patting Each Other's Backsides Just Yet

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Still a ways to go here.  But we can move a little closer to the end goal here with a win over Villanova on Sunday.  A win accomplishes quite a few things:

  • Split the series with Nova and Scottie Reynolds.  It's a moral imperative.
  • 20 wins
  • 8th Big East win
  • Ends the Gauntlet on a high note as the Orange prepare for the 2nd "easy" part of the Big East sched.

If nothing else, the team is well-rested heading into the match-up.  They've had a week since the Georgetown win to think about things, prepare and heal thy-selves. They're gonna be glad they got the lull:

After taking off a full eight days between Georgetown and Villanova, Syracuse will face five teams in a 14-day stretch - including a trip to Madison Square Garden to face St. John's on Tuesday and a March 7 trip to No. 10 Marquette in the team's regular-season finale.

Before that onslaught is upon it, the team has used this past week to regroup and get some key practices in. After the Georgetown game, Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said the week is especially important for center Arinze Onuaku and shooting guard Andy Rautins, who have both been hampered nagging injuries in recent weeks.

"We need this week," Boeheim said. "I think Arinze is coming back healthier, and Andy. But this week I think will be very good for us. I think we need this week to kind of get retooled."

One player who won't be back at full-strength despite the time off is Kris Joseph.  The freshman has seen his minutes plummet ever since shoulder tendinitis reared it's ugly head in the Providence game.  The good news is that the injury doesn't appear to be chronic (heehee) and given that he take it easy it should heal itself.In the meantime, Joseph is working on getting into more questionable photos with Eric Devendorf, always an appreciated practice here.

While Joseph's minutes have diminished, Rick Jackson has been flourishing for the Orange this season.  The surprise player so far, Jackson is bringing a lot to the table in his sophomore effort:

During his 15 starts, Jackson has not only provided SU with some unexpected offense (9.5 points per game, 62-percent shooting), he has given the Orange another rebounder (6.2 per game) and an extra inside defender (22 blocks), and has stabilized a position that was in flux for most of the season.

"Rick is playing good. He's getting better,'' said Boeheim. "A lot of that has to do with the work he put in over the summer, but a lot is also maturity. He's a lot stronger and he learned a lot last year by sitting and watching.''

Couple news and notes for your viewing pleasure on Sunday...

G'Orange!

Photo Credit: Caroline Marr