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West Virginia - Syracuse Preview

Syracuse students agree: The season sweep would be excellent.
Syracuse bounced back from their loss to Notre Dame last Saturday to beat a pretty good Cincinnati team at home on Big Monday. Now the Mountaineers come into a fairly packed Carrier Dome for a Saturday afternoon affair that pits the fourth place team in the Big East versus the top dog. Can Syracuse handle the leading candidate for Big East PoY?
Syracuse is again without starting center Fab Melo. He is out until further notice, with rumors swirling that he could be back next game or in "a while". Moral of the story, only Syracuse University knows at this point. Either way, this is a winable game for Syracuse at home in front of a friendly and full crowd. Over 27.5k tickets have been sold for this game, which will make it the largest on campus crowd of the season so far. And that bodes well for the Orange as the Mountaineers have had problems on the road as of late. Specifically at St. John's, where the lost on Wednesday 78-62. WVU's freshmen players have not adapted to playing well on the road in Big East play as of late. Kevin Jones (20.9ppg, 11.6rpg), is their leading scorer and rebounder however. And he has played great all season. He scored 26 points in that loss in MSG. He will score a bunch today most likely. The key is to limiting WVU to as few possessions as possible and getting in an offensive rhythm. Transition buckets, which have not come easy to the Orange the last few games will also be key. While Jones doesn't turn the ball over that much, Darryl Bryant turns over the ball quite a bit. 56 turnovers to his 57 assists. The Turkish Thunder Deniz Kilicli will be tough inside, but his main strength is rebounding. Aaron Brown, off the bench, will be the best three point shooter for West Virginia. Moral of the story, if Syracuse wants to win they need to convert easy baskets and execute good half court offense. West Virginia's strength is their defense and rebounding. WVU will have trouble penetrating the zone. Adequately guarding three point shooters and pulling defensive rebounds are needed. If Syracuse gets their transition offense going this game is over early. If not, Syracuse will have a game similar to the Cincinnati game. They might be down early, but more likely it will simply be close until later in the second half, when Syracuse will get the lead or really pull away. Syracuse is just too deep and too talented. And you have to assume Dion Waiters will wake up in front of the home crowd. Syracuse earns a nice Big East win at home by 12.
This game is broadcast nationally on ESPN U at 1:00pm this afternoon. You can also watch on your home computing device. We're in the Dome today and there's a big crowd so phone action will be spotty at best. Enjoy the game and a fine Saturday. We all hope.

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