Syracuse holds a 38-32 all-time series edge against Villanova, but the Wildcats hold the upper hand when looking only at matchups played when both schools were members of the BIG EAST, 28-26. Jay Wright is one of the more successful coaches against Jim Boeheim and Syracuse, with an 11-7 record, while Boeheim is 36-31 all-time vs. the 'Cats. Villanova is 14-14 at the Carrier Dome, and won the last meeting between the two schools last season at the Wells Fargo Center.
Syracuse came in to 2013 with their usual high expectations and a top 10 ranking, but there was some uncertainty about the roster. The frontcourt was once again stacked with C.J. Fair (1.7.8/5.3/1.4 apg) and Jerami Grant (12.9/5.7/1.8) the primary scorers while DaJuan Coleman (5.1/4.6/0.5 bpg), Rakeem Christmas (5.1/3.7/1.4) and Baye Moussa Keita (2.3/3.0/0.8) do the dirty work down low. Michael Gbinije will also come off the bench to provide support.
The backcourt was the greater unknown, with only sharp-shooter Trevor Cooney boasting any real experience. Jim Boeheim was very high on freshmen point guard Tyler Ennis, and the younger brother of Dylan Ennis has backed up his coach's praise by playing over 30 minutes per game and posting a 12.1/3.3/5.4 line to go along with almost 3 steals a game at the top of the zone.
Boeheim also has freshmen Tyler Roberson, B.J. Johnson and Ron Patterson at his disposal, but it's unlikely he will go to that part of the bench in such a high-profile game unless foul trouble deems it necessary.
Villanova's defense will be put the the test for the first time since the Battle 4 Atlantis, as the Orange can get it done both inside an out. It all starts with Ennis, who can drive, shoot (43.5% from outside), and dish. Fair and Grant will work the mid-range game and with Villanova's propensity to switch, all five players on the court will likely be called upon to slow down the talented frontcourt.
Jay Wright has always leaned more to denying good chances around the basket, which can leave open shooters on the outside. They can't afford that vs. Syracuse, as in addition to Ennis, Cooney is shooting an absurd 49.3% from beyond the arc.
Jim Boeheim, love him or hate him (okay fine, hate him) started his coaching career as an assistant at Syracuse in 1969 before taking the head job in 1976. Since then, he has amassed over 900 wins, been inducted into both the Basketball and College Basketball Hall of Fame, and won the National Championship in 2003. He has also served his country coaching, winning two Gold Medals at the Olympics in 2008 and 2012.
Boeheim has gotten it done with his vaunted 2-3 zone, which is typically much more active and aggressive than most zones that are played. He stocks his roster with long athletic players that can disrupt on the defense end and get out and run in transition.
In his playing days, Boeheim played for the Orange from 1962-1966,
Syracuse is known for their broadcast journalism school and has a long list of TV personalities in their Alumni Database, including Dick Clark (ABC), Bob Costas (NBC), Marv Albert (TNT), Mike Tirico (ESPN), and Craig Carton (WFAN-660).
But, did you know that the father of Joan Baez, Albert Baez, is a Syracuse Alumn? He was also the inventor of the X-Ray Reflection Microscope. Ei-ichi Negishi, winner of the 2010 Nobel Prize for Chemistry is from the Upstate New York University.The inventor of the first permanently implantable artificial heart (Robert Jarvik), a co-founder of FourSquare, and actor Taye Diggs are also Orange grads too.
Syracuse: 12:00 PM, Pregame Meetup: The Sheraton Syracuse 2nd Floor/Upper Lobby
Dallas-Fort Worth: 1:00 PM, Humperdink's 2208 W. Northwest Hwy, Dallas, TX
Houston: 12:00 PM, Jake's Philly Cheesesteaks, 2944 Chimney Rock, Houston, TX
Lancaster: 1:30 PM, The Brickyard, 415 N. Prince Street, #100, Lancaster, PA
Long Island: 2:00 PM, Prost Grill & Garten, 652 Franklin Ave, Garden City, NY
NJ-Morris/Somerset: 2:00 PM, Sona Thirteen, 13 South Street, Morristown, NJ
Orange County: 11:00 AM (PST), Silky Sulllivans, 10201 Slater Avenue, Fountain Valley, CA, 92708
San Diego: 10:00 AM, Jimmy O's, 225 15th Street, Del Mar, CA
Monmouth County New Jersey: 2:00 PM, Brannigans, 14 Wharf Ave, Red Bank, NJ 07701 (Free wings for Nova fans)
Southern New Jersey: 2:00 PM, Main Street Pub, 2011 Main Street Voorhees, NJ