Friday Five – Lover’s Edition

This is the fifth installment of “Friday Five,” a weekly column with analysis and insight on the Orange, the Big East and the rest of college basketball. Love it or leave it, let the emotion flow out.

This weekend is the time to love or to hate, Halftime Snack chooses to love:

The starting five: 
1 -  Kansas head coach Bill Self has the best point guard in the country, senior Sherron Collins. Collins has big-game experience, a cache full of offensive weapons for teammates, and can create baskets on his own. Think Jonny Flynn, formerly of Syracuse and currently on the Minnesota Timberwolves, wishes he was in Collins’ position? Read Jared Diamond’s column about Flynn in The Daily Orange and judge for yourself.
2 -  Time to throw out love to a fellow Section II (N.Y.) high school legend: As much as Halftime Snack loves Collins, John Wall, Kemba Walker and Scottie Reynolds, the best playmaker in the country might be BYU senior Jimmer Fredette. Fredette, a product of Glens Falls (N.Y.) High School has directed the Cougars to a 22-3 record by averaging 21.4 points per game and 4.9 assists per contest. BYU needs a big game by Fredette to right its ship Saturday again Air Force - the Cougars lost in their last game at UNLV.
3 -  Infamous former Syracuse wing Eric Devendorf landed a professional gig in New Zealand this past week. Famous for the shot that didn’t count and the assault allegations that didn’t stick, Devendorf’s new coach is calling his new spade a spade 
4 - The shiny star in the Orange sky, Wes Johnson, has dulled. The lack of luster is not Johnson’s doing, but the work of aggressive opposition: foul trouble hindered him at Cincinnati and the Fall, against Providence, created bruises. Johnson, ever resilient, emerged against Connecticut, sinking an array of jumpers and then two crucial free throws in the 72-67 victory.
5 -  Double the Kansas love today because Halftime Snack wants a KU/SU national championship game match-up. The gruesome twosome of the Morris twins on the Jayhawk squad (not to mention All-American center Cole Aldrich) is perhaps the only match for the Orange in the paint. How did these brothers (both Philadelphia natives) get out of the Big East?

Big East weekend predictions: 
Orange: Syracuse will see red on Sunday afternoon when Rick Pitino brings his struggling Cardinals to the Dome, using its size advantage once again to slay a conference opponent (Syracuse 84, Louisville 70).
Other Big East games:
Pittsburgh 73, West Virginia 71
Connecticut 81, Cincinnati 74
Nova 84, Providence 71
Marquette 76, USF 61
Seton Hall 85, DePaul 65
Georgetown 71, Rutgers 68
Notre Dame 85, St. John’s 72
Last week's record: 7-2
Overall record: 25-13

Stat nerd stat of the week – Points per possession bounced into the central focus of many basketball programs, providing a turnover-prone team like Syracuse justification for its careless style. The same can be said for the other top dog in the conference, Villanova, who relies on pressing and 3-pointers as a way of amplifying the stat-per-possession number.
They said it:In the time it took me to say ‘Tyrone Wheatley’ I already forgot about the other guy.”  SU Director of Athletics Dr. Daryl Gross, on “The Gomez and Dave Show” Tuesday morning after the announcement of the newest SU running backs coach.
"Jimmer is by far the best player in the conference and one of the top players in the country. He keeps his composure during the game and doesn’t get easily rattled." TCU head coach Jim Christian after his team fell to Jimmer Fredette and the BYU Cougars on Feb. 2. 

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