Friday Five - Nova edition

This is the seventh installment of “Friday Five,” a weekly column with analysis and insight on the Orange, the Big East and the rest of college basketball. The regular season championship hangs in the balance as No. 8 Villanova heads to snow-bound No. 4 Syracuse.

The first year in the new decade is not a leap year and we are without that 29th day in February. This will not keep Halftime Snack from taking a few leaps:

Starting five:

1 -             Syracuse guard Brandon Triche leaves for the NBA after his junior year. The 6-foot 4 inch, 200 lb freshman posses all the ingredients needed to cook up a top-flight player: strength, shooting touch (51% from the floor this season), and the apprenticeship on a top-ranked team.  Triche (pictured) will be the floor leader of the new SU dynasty, sure to continue with the incoming freshman class and the return of potential All-Big East performers Kris Joseph and Rick Jackson.

(Photo: Andrew Burton)

2 -            More SU departures: embattled wing Mookie Jones will transfer. The root of the lone dissention on this year’s squad (see Headbandgate) can’t find the court in Big East play of late, and now news of a broken digit. It’s a shame; cause Mookie shown plenty of promise at Archbold pick-up games.

3 -            Forward Devin Ebanks from West Virginia would be the Big East Player of the Year in 2011, if he stays in school.  The impending NBA lockout makes Devin’s decision more complicated each day as being a 6’9” wing no longer translates to NBA riches. Don’t leap, Devin. Don’t be Thabeet.

4 -             The 2011 All-Star Dunk contest needs to include Syracuse forward Wes Johnson and Connecticut forward Stanley Robinson.  Both appear to have the springs to take off from the free throw line, and even join Dwight Howard on the elevated 11-foot rim. Enough with the midget circus, let’s get back to seeing how high the flyers can leap.

5-             All of college basketball’s attention is on the Carrier Dome for this Saturday’s battle between Syracuse and Villanova, so let’s leap into the fray with a reminder the next-best thing in Big East basketball is on the way: Fab Melo. Brush on fun Melo 2.0 facts (desire to play for native Brazil in 2016 Olympics) in this ESPN RIse article.

Big East weekend predictions:

Orange: This column is accused of anti-Syracuse basis for much of the year, and to fellow grad student Michael Masucci, here’s another shot: Villanova 85, Syracuse 81 The Wildcats have won 6 of the last 7 meetings with the Orange, possess the firepower to outscore Syracuse and have built in their own signature defensive trappings (a variety of zone presses that invite turnovers). The game will come down to the last three minutes and each team’s ability to stop the league’s top two penetrators, SU’s Kris Joseph and Nova’s Scottie Reynolds.

Other Big East games:

Georgetown 74, Notre Dame 64
Pittsburgh 73, St. John’s 67
West Virginia 81, Cincinnati 71
DePaul 67, Rutgers 66
USF 81, Providence 79
Seton Hall 79, Marquette 74
UCONN 84, Louisville 72

National Scene: All college basketball attention should be this weekend is the Carrier Dome, let’s take a look at the Big Head fad. Over/under on Big Heads bobbing the Dome on Saturday is set at 10 (and I’m not talking about Brent Musburger).

Record last week: 5-2
Overall: 34-19

Stat nerd stat of the week – The tide has turned for Halftime Snack’s basketball beat, now writing about roundball royalty (Orange lead Division I by making 52 percent of shot attempts). Last season, we covered the Swarthmore College Garnet, a Division III team from suburban Philadelphia. The Garnet concluded the 2009-10 regular season with a strangle hold as the worst shooters in NCAA men’s college basketball teams—they rank last out of 1,008 teams in field goal percentage (34.3). Division II’s poorest shooters are Texas Permian Basin (37.2), and Division I lists Alcorn State (also 37.2) as its top bricklayers. The best shooting team in all of the NCAA: Swarthmore’s classroom rival, Williams (Mass.) College at 52.9 percent.

They said it: “Guys, we need to make shots to win the game. Just make shots!” longtime Swarthmore head coach Lee Wimberly during a Centennial game in 2008.

Thank you. We are happy today to bring this game to you from New York State and the county of Onondaga. And just because I’m rooting for the Senators, I’m here with Joe Morabito who also helped to sponsor this event, and the First Lady of the State, Michelle B. Trousain, graduate of Syracuse University. We don’t care who wins this game, as long as it’s the Crunch.” Gov. David Paterson, ever the double-talker, at the Mirabito Outdoor Classic on Feb. 20 as boos drowned out his pre-game address. Times are tough for Paterson.

Follow Halftime Snack author Kyle C. Leach on Twitter, and catch the latest SU athletics updates @NewsHouseSports.


Thanks for the PR!

Post new comment

* Field must be completed for your comment to appear on The NewsHouse
The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.