Villanova, Syracuse tip NCAA betting slate

By: Joe Freda | Friday, January 21, 2011
Corey Stokes

Corey Stokes and the Villanova Wildcats face Syracuse on Saturday.

The No. 7 Villanova Wildcats have a 6-0 spread record in their last six games, with the ‘total’ splitting at 3-3.  Jay Wright’s troops head north for Saturday afternoon’s clash against the No. 3 Syracuse Orange, who are 3-2 ATS in their last five contests.

Villanova saw an 11-game win streak end in Monday’s 61-59 defeat as a 2 ½-point road dog against the No. 8 Connecticut Huskies.  The Wildcats began the matchup trailing, 10-0, but rallied to as much as a seven-point lead in the second half.  Huskies guard Kemba Walker hit a clutch jump shot with three seconds remaining, giving UConn the victory.

Villanova’s Corey Fisher notched team-highs of 28 points and six assists.  The senior guard drained 3-of-7 beyond the arc, while sinking 5-of-6 at the foul line.

Fisher’s mate Mouphtaou Yarou logged a team-high 10 boards, extending his streak of rebounding in double-digits to three.  The Natitingou native connected on 3-of-8 field buckets, while failing to log a block for the first time in six contests.

The tight battle’s combined 120 points plunged below the ‘total’ of 141 ½, bringing the ‘under’ to 3-1 in Villanova’s last four games.  Both squads united for 34 fouls, while the Wildcats were outrebounded, 37-31.

Villanova improved to 3-3 ATS in its six ‘board’ games away from home, with the ‘over’ dropping to 4-2.  Yarou and Co. have allowed 69 PPG in that stretch.

Syracuse suffered its first loss in Monday’s 74-66 setback as a 6 ½-point road dog against the No. 4 Pittsburgh Panthers.  The Orange were held to 39.1 percent field shooting, while being outrebounded by Pittsburgh, 41-27.

Orange forward C.J. Fair put up a season-high 16 points, playing 36 minutes off the bench.  The freshman added nine boards and two of his squad’s seven blocks.

Syracuse’s Rick Jackson notched 10 points and a team-high 11 boards, finishing with his third straight double-double.  The Philadelphia native hit 5-of-11 from the field, while logging three steals and two assists.

The contest’s combined 140 points jumped above the ‘total’ of 138, making the ‘over’ 2-1 in Syracuse’s last three games.  Both squads united to drain 14-of-35 three-point shots, while the Orange meagerly hit 8-of-15 free throws.

Orange leading-scorer Kris Joseph (14.6 PPG) missed Monday’s game with a concussion.  The junior forward is listed by as “probable” to return against Villanova.

Syracuse is 5-6 ATS in its first 11 ‘board’ home dates, with the ‘under’ going 7-3 in the 10 matchups containing a ‘total.’  Jim Boeheim’s crew has scored 77.8 PPG in its last four games at Carrier Dome.

Villanova is 3-1 ATS in its last four meetings against the Orange, with the ‘over’ also going 3-1.

Syracuse won last February’s duel between the Big East Conference rivals, 95-77, as a 4 ½-point home favorite.  Jackson finished with a team-high 19 points for Syracuse, who edged out the Wildcats in rebounds, 48-36.  Fisher struggled for Villanova, shooting 3-for-12 from the field, including an 0-for-5 blitz beyond the arc.

Saturday’s tip is scheduled for 9 a.m. (PT), with ESPN providing the national television coverage.

Villanova will be off for three days, traveling to meet the Providence Friars as part of Wednesday’s college hoops card.  Syracuse will be idle for two days, remaining at home for Tuesday’s matchup against the Seton Hall Pirates.

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