Villanova (11-4, 2-0) travels to the Carrier Dome to take on #7 ranked Syracuse (15-1, 3-0) on Saturday at 12PM. Here are a few key matchups and things to watch for in this Big East Showdown.
Villanova's Offense Vs. Syracuse 2-3 Zone
Villanova is averaging 71.1 points per game, including a respectable 34.6% from 3-point range. Syracuse is ranked 18th in the country in total scoring defense allowing just 57.2 points per game. The Wildacts will need to take good shots from the outside, while also getting into the middle of the zone. If they can get into the middle, they will be able to pass it out to open shooters along the perimeter or even dish it down low to Nova's bigs.
Villanova's Perimeter Defense Vs. Cuse's 3 Point Shooters
No matter who the opponent is, it always feels like that team finds a way to light Villanova up from 3-point range. Cuse has a couple of players that can do just that - starter C.J. Fair, (37.5%) and sixth man James Southerland (37.5%). Villanova will really need to tighten their D and make this impressive Syracuse offense take contested shots.
Syracuse is currently ranked 3rd in the NCAA averaging 43 rebounds per game, including 9th in rebounding margin (+9.5) while Villanova ranks 64th with 38.3 rebounds per game. Villanova will need to hit the glass aggressively to get second chance oppurtunites. Nova does have the size advantage with bigs Mouphtaou Yarou (6' 10"), Maurice Sutton (6' 11"), and Daniel Ochefu (6' 11"), while Cuse's tallest players is forward Rakeem Christmas who is listed at 6'9".
I think Ryan Arcidiacano will need to be the X factor if Villanova wants to pull off the Big East upset on the road. Arcidiacano, Villanova's second leading scorer at 12.5 points, will facilitate Villanova's offense and isn't afraid to shoot the 3-ball when needed against that tough 2-3 zone. He is shooting 42.3 % from behind the arch during Nova's 7 game winning streak.
Villanova has been playing very well lately, but they are not on Syracuse's level yet. Syracuse wins this one at home 69-54.