Day & Time: Tuesday, December 7, 9:30 pm ET
Location: Madison Square Garden, New York, N.Y.
TV/Streaming: ESPN, WatchESPN
Villanova Blog: VUHoops
Rivalry: 39-33, Syracuse
Current Streak: 1, Villanova
First Meeting: Syracuse and Villanova played for the first time in 1946 in Central New York. The Orange won 44-33 with Royce Newell leading the way with 11 points.
Last Meeting: Syracuse traveled down to Villanova and went to overtime in 2014. The Orange unfortunately lost 82-77. Michael Gbinje and Rakeem Christmas had 18 points each.
Head Coaches: Syracuse - Jim Boeheim (46th year, 1,088-412) | Villanova - Jay Wright (21st year, 496-192)
Coach Bio: Wright played college basketball at Bucknell. He got his coaching start immediately at D-III Rochester. His first Division I job was with Drexel in 1986, and he moved to Villanova as an assistant a year later, joining Rollie Massimino’s staff. Wright moved with Massimino to UNLV in 1992. He then moved to Hofstra as the team’s head coach in 1994.
After finishing with losing records in his first three years, Wright led Hofstra 19 wins in his fourth year and over 20 wins in each of his last three seasons. Hofstra won two American East Conference titles and played in the NCAA tournament during Wright’s last two seasons with the program.
Wright then moved to Villanova in 2001, where he has stayed since. Ever since, he’s turned the Wildcats into a powerhouse. Villanova has won at least 20 games in 15 of the last 17 seasons. The Wildcats have won the Big East Tournament four times, made the NCAA tournament 15 times, and won two NCAA tournament championships under Wright’s tenure at Villanova.
Last Year: Villanova started the 2020-21 season strong, going 11-1 to begin the campaign. However, the Wildcats stumbled to the end of the regular season, finishing the last nine games with a 5-4 record. Villanova still held the No. 1 seed in the Big East tournament, but immediately got upset by Georgetown. The Wildcats got a five seed in the NCAA tournament and made the Sweet 16 before losing to Baylor.
Last Game: Villanova picked up its third straight win with a 81-52 victory over Saint Joseph’s. The Wildcats held Saint Joseph’s to 36.2% field goal shooting and 22.6% three point shooting.
“Fear Me, I’ve Killed Hundreds of Timelords”: Collin Gillespie was the co-Big East Player of the Year last season and he’s continued his production into this season. He’s scored double-digit points in every Villanova game this season and is shooting nearly 47% from beyond the arc.
If Syracuse Wins: Take that, Big East
If Syracuse Loses: Let’s not go back to the Big East
Fun Fact: Everyone is used to saying “a Hall of Fame coach on the sidelines” when Jim Boeheim is coaching. Now, broadcasters will say two Hall of Fame coaches as Jay Wright was elected into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame this year.