How to Watch:
Date: Tuesday, December 7th, 2021
Time: 9:00pm EST
Venue: Madison Square Garden - New York, NY
Spread: CUSE: +9.5 (+100) | NOVA: -9.5 (-120)
via: Odds Shark
In honor of V Week On ESPN, Madison Square Garden will be hosting a four team showcase to raise awareness for the Jimmy V Foundation. The showcase is appropriately named the Jimmy V Classic, and it will kick off a week-long initiative across multiple ESPN platforms and programs that will feature special content to help raise funds for cancer research.
The University of Tennessee will kick off the evening at 7:00pm facing Texas Tech and then immediately following that game will be Villanova taking on Syracuse.
The Syracuse Orange will come into this game looking for a signature victory to equilibrate their roller coaster start to the season. After being blown out at home by Colgate, the Orange dropped two of their three games in the Battle 4 Atlantis Tournament in late November. Fortunately for the Orange, they have responded nicely, notching a double overtime win against Indiana, and a road win at Florida State last week. All five starters for Syracuse average double-digit points per game, including former Villanova forward; Cole Swider. The Orange will be led by a pair of head coach Jim Boeheim’s sons, Buddy and Jimmy, averaging 19.1 and 14.1 points, respectively. Syracuse is historically known for their stingy zone defense, however over the last couple of seasons, that has been the Orange’s achilles heel. They will need to take advantage of Villanova’s miscues early and often if they plan on hanging around with the number six team in the country.
As for the Wildcats, they will be looking to notch their fourth consecutive victory after dropping a pair of games to two elite teams early in the season. As of late, Collin Gillespie has been showing that he is more than just a floor general, leading the Wildcats in scoring with just over 17 points per game on the year. Justin Moore will be another key contributor for the Wildcats in this matchup with Syracuse. His talented outside shooting combined with his above average rebounding skillset will be crucial in this contest. Villanova, and especially their defense, started the year off very suspect and left a lot of questions to be answered. Since then, they have allowed 56 points or fewer in four of their last five contests. Wether it is a reflection on the team as a whole, or their competition, will soon be brought to light when they face Syracuse, a team who is averaging over 80 points per game.
This historic matchup between these two elite teams will be a great show on basketballs grandest stage. If Villanova takes care of the ball on offense and continues their hot defensive play, there will not be much Syracuse can do to counter. Likewise, a hot shooting night and tenacious defense from Syracuse could bring out the vulnerable Villanova team that we saw against Purdue just a few weeks ago. With that being said, offense alone will not sway the needle in either direction for either team. Barring foul trouble or a Cole Swider revenge game, I do not for-see the Wildcats dropping this contest. Their starting five is far more talented and they are the better all around team.
My Prediction: 75-65 Villanova