After the Syracuse Orange men’s basketball team’s 3-3 start, you had every right to be worried. The team was blown out by Colgate, and looked out of its depth in the Bahamas. With a tough late November/early December slate in front of the team, things looked a bit dire.
They still might, admittedly. But Syracuse has managed to win two straight vs. Indiana and Florida State, and now goes into a big matchup with Villanova carrying what some might consider momentum — even if there’s a case to be made that it’s fool’s gold.
Regardless of the semantics there, the TNIAAM staff provides their picks for the game. And if you’re betting-minded yourself, Syracuse is currently an 8.5-point underdog per DraftKings (odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details).
Villanova 77, Syracuse 63
I’ve been a #disloyalidiot for the past two games and it’s worked out pretty well, so let’s try it again. ‘Nova is one of the most efficient offenses in the country at No. 4 on KenPom, has a low turnover percentage and hits over 42% of their threes. I just don’t see how any of this ends well for the Orange when their three-point defense is suspect this season (ranked 249th) and overall are ranked outside the top 150 teams in the country on D. Basically, we’re hoping for an uncharacteristically poor shooting night from the Wildcats or else there’s not a lot to like about this matchup.
Syracuse 75, Villanova 70
Syracuse is currently on a two game winning streak, defeating Indiana and Florida State last week in close games. While their defense and rebounding have been weak spots for the team this season, their offense has been great, ranking 17th in offensive efficiency, according to KenPom. Villanova has been a top 25 team in the AP rankings for the entirety of the season currently sitting with a 6-2 record only losing to Purdue and UCLA early in the season, both top 5 teams. Villanova will come into Madison Square Garden focused on the task at hand, however I believe the Orange will ride their recent momentum and make a statement to the entire NCAA that they shouldn’t be counted out just yet.
Villanova 97, Syracuse 84
This game should be a high scoring affair with two of the top 20 offenses in the country going toe-to-toe, which will be great for viewers on the national stage but not so great for Syracuse’s porous defense. The zone (zones?) took a step forward against Florida State on Saturday, but we’ll find out if that was a harbinger of things to come or if that was just a fluke against a bad shooting FSU team. Collin Gillespie will have no problem finding his shots tonight and that worries me for Syracuse. Villanova by a baker’s dozen.
Villanova 84, Syracuse 79
These teams could put on a shooting clinic in MSG but I think Villanova is a little bit better overall. Collin Gillespie is going to present a big challenge for the Syracuse defense. The Orange cannot afford to let the Wildcats get good opportunities from beyond the arc as Villanova is shooting 42% from deep. Can Jesse Edwards stay out of foul trouble? If he’s able to remain on the floor late his size could switch the expected outcome
Villanova 82, Syracuse 69
First of all, Zeke clearly didn’t get the #disloyalidiot memo.
This could get ugly. Villanova is just athletic enough to cause the one problem Syracuse can’t afford to have - foul trouble. Things always start to go wrong for the Orange when the fouls rack up on Jesse Edwards. He’s got to get some help from everyone. The guards have to prevent the ball from getting inside the arc easily from the top and the wings need to stop giving up the baseline so easily. Add that to a very inconsistent offense and there might not be much hope for the Orange.
Now it’s your turn...
Who wins the game between Syracuse and Villanova?
This poll is closed
Syracuse, and we’re the Big East champs by default now
Villanova, and welcome back, dread