Matchup: Syracuse (5-3) vs #6 Villanova (6-2)
Location: Madison Square Garden (New York, NY)
Time: 9:30 p.m. Eastern - Tuesday, December 7th.
Broadcast Team: Dan Shulman, Jay Bilas, Holy Rowe
Radio: TK99, WAER, Cuse.com, TuneIn App
Odds: Syracuse +9.5. Over/under 145.
ESPN Matchup Predictor: Syracuse has a 15.1% chance to win.
Series History: Syracuse and Villanova have met 72 times prior to this game. The Orange holds a 39-33 series advantage. Most of those games stem from being in the Big East together for decades. The two have not met since 2014, when Villanova won 82-77 in overtime in Philadelphia. Syracuse has, however, won four of the last six. Villanova's longest winning streak in the series is three, while Syracuse's is six. The Orange's streak occurred from 1985 to 1987.
Live Stats: LINK
Syracuse enters the 2021-22 season with high expectations. After making a run to the Sweet-16 last season, the Orange has undergone significant roster change. Gone are Kadary Richmond, Alan Griffin, Quincy Guerrier, Marek Dolezaj and Robert Braswell. Coming in are Symir Torrence, Cole Swider, Jimmy Boeheim and Benny Williams. Players such as Buddy Boeheim, Joe Girard, Bourama Sidibe, Jesse Edwards and Frank Anselem elected to stay. Now Buddy Boeheim is receiving All American hype and the Orange is being billed as one of the nation's best offensive teams. It got off to a strong start with wins over Lafayette and Drexel before suffering back to back setbacks against Colgate and VCU. The Orange responded with a win over Arizona State before falling to 19th ranked Auburn. Syracuse bounced back with a 112-110 double overtime victory over Indiana and 63-60 road win at Florida State.
Villanova's two losses were to two of the best teams in college basketball. The Wildcats lost to UCLA and Purdue in close contests. Villanova is led by guard Collin Gillespie, who averages 17.8 points per game while shooting 46.9% from three point range. As a team, 'Nova shoots over 42% from beyond the arc. Joining Gillespie in the backcourt is Justin Moore, who scores more than 15 points per game. Wing Brandon Slater is also a three level scorer and averages 14 points per game. Forwards Jermaine Samuels (6-7) and Eric Dixon (6-8) are the power forward and center, respectively. They combine for 11.7 rebounds per game. Villanova is not a very deep team and does not have a rim protector either, as Samuels leads the team with 0.6 blocks per game.