NCAA Basketball Picks: Villanova vs. Syracuse -4

Joe Catalano

Saturday, December 28, 2013 5:03 PM GMT

Saturday, Dec. 28, 2013 5:03 PM GMT

Today will feature a monster matchup in NCAA Hoops as the #2 ranked Syracuse Orange (11-0) host the #8 Villanova Wildcats (11-0) in a battle of 2 possible NCAA Championship Title contenders.

Bet 365 Sportsbook lists the Orange as a 4 point betting favorite on the college basketball odds board and the total for the game is 132.

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Offense vs. Defense

It’s always interesting to see two teams face eachother who excel at opposite ends of spectrum. The Orange allow just 62.1 points per game while the Wildcats average 82.5 points per game offensively. This game will have a Big East feel for it as these teams are very familiar with eachother.

The Old and the New

Syracuse is a team with great depth, led by senior, C.J. Fair. Fair (17.8 ppg., 5.3 rpg.) is a very athletic and clutch player that’s been in many pressure- filled situations and he’ll definitely lead the way on a team that features 2 super sophomores and an upcoming freshman.

In Syracuse’s biggest test thus far, Fair poured in 24 points on 10 of 17 shooting from the field against Baylor. He doesn’t excel at one particular facet of the game, this is a player that just gets the job done when head coach Jim Boeheim needs him to. Look for Fair to “fare” well against a Villanova team that will seek a fast paced game.

Fair will have the support of players Trevor Cooney, Jerami Grant, and freshman point guard Tyler Ennis. Except for a game against St.John’s in which he completely disappeared, Cooney has played very well as of late. Excluding the St.John’s game, in his last 3 games, Cooney has shot 15 of 24 from 3-point range and has averaged 18.3 points per game in his last 3 games.

Cooney will need to find a way to get open as Ennis is a superb ball distributor for a freshman. Although the Orange will look to slow down the pace of this game, the Syracuse offense will need to find a way to keep pace with the Wildcats offense and Cooney is a definite “x-factor” in this ball game.

Taking On All Comers

The Wildcats schedule has been a difficult one thus far, but they’ve been simply masterful with victories over 2 –top 25 teams in Kansas and Iowa while they also possess another memorable victory over USC. If Villanova keeps playing this way, they’ll be an easy #1 in the NCAA Tournament, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves; Syracuse will be Villanova’s toughest opponent to date.

With leading scorers JayVaughn Pinkston (16.5 ppg., 5.3 rpg.) and James Bell (15.4 ppg, 6.5 rpg.) being cold as ice as of late, someone has had to step up and freshman Josh Hart has been the go to guy for the Wildcats. In his last 2 games, Hart is averaging nearly double his seasonal average at 16 points and 5 rebounds. Darrun Hilliard has been consistent, but Hart has unexpectedly kept this team undefeated. For Villanova to have any chance in this game, Pinkston and Bell must find a way to get back on track. This will be a tall order against the Orange defense and the support of their fans.

Make sure to check out our:

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Outcome

Both of these teams are exceptional teams, but Villanova’s stars have been non-existent as of late and the Orange defense won’t make it any easier for Pinkston and Bell to recover. Look for Syracuse to pick up an easier than expected home victory against Villanova for your free college basketball picks.

College Basketball Pick: Syracuse -4 at Bet 365

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