As the biggest Big East conference game of the season approaches tomorrow, the entire city of Syracuse is anxiously waiting for the hour to arrive.
34,616 fans are expected to make their way into the Carrier Dome tomorrow for the 9 p.m. tipoff between their beloved Orange and Big East rival Villanova.
The amount of fans at this game will surpass any number of fans to ever attend an on campus game in NCAA history, and they will give the Orangemen a huge advantage.
Villanova, which is just one game behind Syracuse, can all but solidify a No. 1 seed in the Big East tournament with a win. However, a Syracuse win would not only clinch a No. 1 seed for Madison Square Garden; it would also give them a lot of momentum heading into postseason play on March 9.
Syracuse will have not only the crowd advantage in this one—it will also have a major bonus in talent and coaching. Syracuse is averaging five players in double figures to Villanova's three.
Syracuse and Villanova are about equal with their talent at the guard position with Andy Rautins, Brandon Triche, and Scoop Jardine for Syracuse. Villanova has Scottie Reynolds, Corey Fisher, and Corey Stokes.
When it comes to the big men, there is no messing with the Orange. Not only will they be able to step up defensively with their great zone defense, but they will also dominate the boards and be able to score. Rick Jackson and Arinze Onuaku will get be able to get the job done, both of them being upperclassmen. Kris Joseph, averaging 11 points and five rebounds a game as a sophomore, will also be ready to play.
Jim Boeheim hasn't gotten where he is by losing big games, and a lot of his core players have some experience in big games. They have a monster defense to force perimeter shots by Reynolds and Co., and unless the Wildcats are red-hot, this game might not even be that close.
Final Score Prediction: 88-76 Syracuse.
The Orange have found ways to win all year. This game will be no different as Syracuse pulls away in the final minutes.