Of course you remember THESE guys. The no. 7-ranked Villanova Wildcats (10-0) host your Syracuse Orange (6-3) at Philadelphia's Wells Fargo Center this Saturday at 1 p.m. ET. If you're unable to attend (likely), you can catch the game on your local FOX affiliate. This will not be an easy game for Syracuse at all, as you might have guessed -- making it even more disturbing that we've already lost three games to-date. Let's hope it's not four come Saturday afternoon.
So what happens tomorrow? Can Syracuse pull off one of the bigger upsets of the young college basketball season (weird to think that)? The TNIAAM gang weighs in (spoiler alert: they're all #disloyalidiots)...
Villanova 76 - Syracuse 64
If this game is ever close, it will be for the first five minutes. After that, Syracuse will Syracuse, and struggle mightily to score. Effort and energy won't be a problem, but 'Nova's shooting will be. They're just a better offensive team, especially under late-game pressure, and as Jimmy B said after SU lost to St. John's in a nail-biter, "You can't win if you don't make some shots in those situations."
Villanova 75 - Syracuse 63
I think SU plays a good game, but it comes down to the fact that Villanova is just a far superior team. I don’t believe SU can really hang with Nova right now with the way SU is struggling on offense. I do believe, however, that this could be a turning point. Nova is going to be one of the best teams SU plays all season and this could be a game where SU finally sees what it has to do to be successful this year.
Villanova 68 - Syracuse 61
Part of me says Villanova isn't as good as people think - wins over Michigan and VCU don't look as good on paper now as they did a few weeks ago. Part of me says Rakeem Christmas will pull a Hakeem Warrick in a dominant return to his home town. Part of me says this is the turning point. But I'm pretty sure that's just the part of me that's hoping I'm not driving up to Philly to watch SU get smashed by a superior team. Ultimately this is a team that can't score going up against a coach that has limited far superior Syracuse offenses in the past. I don't think this will be fun.
Villanova 71 - Syracuse 56
In nine games, the Orange haven't done much of anything to indicate that they can go on the road and beat a really good Villanova team. Not only are the Wildcats 10-0, but they've won eight of those games by double digits, including five straight. This very well might be the best team Jay Wright has had in some time, and unfortunately, I see them winning rather comfortably tomorrow.
Villanova 77 - Syracuse 62
The Wildcats are legitimately better, but I do think Syracuse gives them a game for a while. Ultimately, it's just too easy to beat the Orange right now: face guard Trevor Cooney and collapse in on Rakeem Christmas. Villanova has too much experience and is too well coached not do those things (it'll be close for a while, though, because Jim Boeheim teams drag opponents into rock fights).
Villanova 75 - Syracuse 66
Yeah, this sucks. I take solace in the fact that this is just as much about how good Nova is as it is about how mediocre Syracuse has looked. They've got shooters everywhere, they have good interior playmakers, and they're more experience than SU overall. Shock me, Orange, please.
Villanova 77 - Syracuse 69
We might be back in moral victory territory here. There's really no reason to expect the Syracuse squad we've seen so far this season can go into Philly and beat a solid Wildcat team. That said, perhaps we'll start to see the team take more steps towards becoming more competent and consistent. If we can at least keep this a ballgame throughout, there's always a chance. Unfortunately, there is going to be a strong chorus from some that simply see the record and start shouting "Fire, Fire!"
Villanova 71 - Syracuse 61
Villanova's trail of bodies on the schedule shouldn't really inspire this much faith, but then again, neither should Syracuse's resume and lack of shooting ability, respectively. The Orange's only chance here is a hot shooter from the outside (hi, Trevor Cooney) extending the Wildcat defense and allowing Rakeem Christmas and Chris McCullough to operate freely in the paint. If that can't happen, I doubt SU will have much of a shot beyond its defense keeping things within 10 points or so throughout. Loss no. 4, here we come :(
So how about you?