Written by: Kenny Mauss

The Jim Boeheim led Syracuse Orangemen are welcoming the Wildcats of Villanova to the Carrier Dome this evening in front of an expected record crowd. Syracuse comes in at 13-2 in the Big East (26-2 overall) and Villanova enters tonight at 12-3 (23-4 overall). It’s a matchup between the top 2 teams in the Big East and two of the top teams in the country.

Villanova has beaten Syracuse two consecutive times in New York but with a win today, Syracuse can clinch its first regular season conference championship since 2002-2003. Not coincidentally, that was the year the Carmelo Anthony and Gerry McNamara led Orangemen won the national championship.

Syracuse comes in ranked #4, and Villanova #7, but ‘Nova has struggled of late. Villanova started the season with lofty expectations, coming off of a Final Four Appearance that left them one game from a national championship. For the most part, they have met all expectations, ranked in the top 10, and fighting for a regular season Big East championship. The surprise has been what Syracuse has been able to accomplish thus far this season. They began the season losing to a Division II exhibition game vs. Le Moyne and entered the season unranked.

Today’s game will most likely determine the #1 seed in the Big East Tournament, the Big East Regular Season Championship, and quite possibly a #1 seed in the NCAA tournament in a few weeks. This game will be about as big as the expected crowd tonight at the Carrier Dome.

Prediction: Syracuse 82- Villanova 76