Syracuse will travel to Philadelphia to take on Villanova as it tries to keep its perfect 17-0 record intact.
NOT SO WILD CATS: Jay Wright’s squad is in the middle of a down year. Without a big man manning the paint for Villanova, the Wildcats have had surprising losses to Santa Clara, Saint Louis and Saint Joseph’s. They then stumbled into Big East play, losing three in a row before beating DePaul. It was the first time since joining the conference they lost three straight to open Big East play. The Wildcats rank 114th in the nation with 71.8 ppg, 189th with 12.8 apg and 215th shooting just 42% from the field.
SCOUTING THE WILDCATS: Gone are the days of Scottie Reynolds, Corey Fisher and Corey Stokes leading a lethal guard attack with the ability to penetrate and carve up the 2-3 zone. But they do have junior guard Maalik Wayns, who is averaging 17.2 ppg and 4.9 apt. He forms a nice inside-out tandem with junior forward Mouphtaou Yarou, who is averaging 12.5 points the last four games and has gotten to the free-throw line 16 times in that span. Expect head coach Jay Wright to use the second half of Syracuse’s game against Marquette as a blueprint. The Golden Eagles were able to outscore the Orange 32-28 in points in the paint and get in the bonus with over 13 minutes left to play in the game.
IN VILLANOVA’S LAST GAME: Maalik Wayns scored 21 points and Dominic Cheek chipped in 20 as Villanova topped DePaul 87-71 on Sunday. The Wildcats shot 56 percent from the field and they never trailed in the game.
HISTORICALLY SPEAKING: The last time these two teams met, the Orange edged the Wildcats, 69-64. Rick Jackson led the way with 18 points and five rebounds as SU outscored Villanova 30-16 in the paint. Syracuse has a 36-31 all time advantage with Villanova.
GAME INFORMATION: Wed, Jan 11. 7:00 p.m. ESPN2. Philadelphia, PA.