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MBB : On the block: A position-by-position breakdown of Syracuse vs. Villanova

first_img Published on January 20, 2011 at 12:00 pm Point guardJardine is coming off a rather poor shooting night against Pittsburgh, contributing to Syracuse’s subpar performance from the field. He shot just 4-of-13 on the night and is shooting 38.1 percent over his last four games. Meanwhile, Maalik Wayns willed the Wildcats to a thrilling comeback win over Maryland last weekend, finishing with 22 points and hitting a clutch 3-pointer with a little more than one minute to play. Wayns has scored 15-plus points in four of his last five games.Advantage: EvenShooting guardBrandon Triche needs to continue his string of solid performances for the Orange to be successful. He has been the most effective of Syracuse’s three-guard rotation, which also includes Jardine and Dion Waiters. In the second half against Seton Hall two weeks ago, Triche carried the Orange to victory. Fisher, too, has been on fire lately. In a 61-59 loss at Connecticut Monday — when he matched up against Kemba Walker — he scored a career-high 28 points. Thus far in January, he has averaged 19 points and 5.3 assists per game while shooting 48.1 percent from beyond the 3-point line.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textAdvantage: EvenSmall forwardThe uncertainty surrounding Kris Joseph here gives Villanova the edge. He hopes to play against the Wildcats, but until he takes the court, it isn’t a certainty. And even if he does take the court, there are questions about his readiness to play and if he’ll be at full strength. For Villanova, Corey Stokes is averaging 15.8 points per game this season. But perhaps the most overlooked factor of his game is his free-throw shooting. He ranks third in the nation in free-throw percentage, shooting 93.9 percent (62-of-66) on the season.Advantage: VillanovaPower forwardDespite Syracuse’s loss against Pittsburgh Monday, Rick Jackson was his usual self, tallying yet another double-double. He now has 12 in Syracuse’s 19 games. SU senior Jackson and Villanova senior Antonio Pena took similar paths through their teams’ respective lineups in their first three seasons, quickly becoming — and eventually cementing themselves — as rotation fixtures. But Jackson has taken the next step this year into a dominating force down low in the rugged Big East.Advantage: SyracuseCenterA highly touted recruit out of Montrose Christian School in Rockville, Md., Mouphtaou Yarou was something of a disappointment last season, much like current SU freshman center Fab Melo. Yarou only averaged 4.5 points and 3.7 rebounds per game. But this season, he has been much more effective in the middle of the Wildcats’ attack. He had 18 points and 11 rebounds a little more than a week ago in a win over Louisville. Melo, on the other hand, continues to struggle. He only played two minutes in SU’s loss to Pittsburgh.Advantage: VillanovaBenchSyracuse’s bench could be thinned out a little if Joseph doesn’t go. Even if he doesn’t play, SU gets the edge. Boeheim has played nine routinely, with all four players off the bench filling a niche. Villanova, on the other hand, only has one player — Dominic Cheek — who proves to be a dynamic threat off the bench. The Wildcats are a starter-heavy team, as 83.4 percent of their scoring comes from the starting five.Advantage: SyracuseCoachingBoth Jim Boeheim and Jay Wright have done well with their respective teams this season after each losing important players. For Boeheim, it was Wes Johnson, Andy Rautins and Arinze Onuaku. For Wright, it was Scottie Reynolds, Reggie Redding and Taylor King. And yet both coaches have their teams in the Top 10 of the national rankings. Boeheim gets a little edge here because of experience and a bigger early-season turnaround.Advantage: Syracuse— Compiled by Sports Editor Brett LoGiurato, [email protected] Commentscenter_img Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more

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