The Orange host West Virginia at home on Saturday in a matchup of two of the top teams in the Big East.
JONESING FOR MORE: When the 2011-12 Preseason Coaches’ Poll was released, West Virginia was selected to finish seventh in the 16 team Big East. So much for preseason polls. The Mountaineers head into the game against Syracuse tied for fourth in the conference with a 6-2 Big East record, leapfrogging preseason favorites Connecticut, Pittsburgh and Louisville along the way. That is in no small thanks to Kevin Jones, who has emerged as a candidate for Big East Player of the Year. He’s reeled off six straight 20+ point games, which led his coach, Bob Huggins, to say that Jones should warrant national Player of the Year consideration. It may be hard to argue against Huggins, with Jones averaging more than 20 points and 11 rebounds a game.
SCOUTING THE MOUNTAINEERS: Aside from Jones, Darryl Bryant has become a reliable second option, averaging more than 17 points a game, but he shoots just 37 percent from the field. Look out for Jabarie Hinds, who has come on as of late.
IN WEST VIRGINIA’S LAST GAME: Jones scored 26 points on 10-for-21 shooting, but got no help from his teammates as the Mountaineers shot 35 percent from the field in a 78-62 loss to St. Johns. Moe Harkless led the Red Storm with 23 points.
HISTORICALLY SPEAKING: The last time these two teams met, Brandon Triche scored 20 points to lead Syracuse past West Virginia, 63-52. SU owns the lead in the all-time series, 33-16.
GAME INFORMATION: Sat., Jan 28. 1:00 p.m. ESPNU. Syracuse, NY.Wesley Cheng