Like a game between two top-ten teams that happen to be historic division rivals, each coming off tough losses, wasn't going to be big enough to begin with. For their much-anticipated Saturday match up a year ago, 34,616 showed up to the Carrier Dome to witness the grudgematch, an NCAA record. The number is starting to creep up to that high again for the rematch this year, with gate sales of 33K being reported as of Wednesday. ('Cuse has even added extra seats to the Dome to accommodate possible further demand, apparently.)
Hopefully the Wildcats will give the however-many in attendance a reason to hold their breath a little more this time. In the team's last matchup, Syracuse led by ten at halftime on a 20-6 and never looked back, causing 17 Villanova turnovers on their way to a 95-77 victory, which cemented them at the time as the #1 team in the country. Neither team are likely to be playing for those honors today, as both teams lost to Big East rivals on MLK Day--Nova to UConn and Syracuse to Pitt, the latter the Orange's first loss of the season. The two will at least be playing for second in the Big East, and perhaps a share of first in the unlikely event of a Pitt loss today at DePaul.
12:00 tip from the Carrier Dome. In ex-Wildcat news, the Springfield Armor recently traded a future first-round pick to the Tulsa 66ers in exchange for one-time Nova star and NBA-undrafted pro Scottie Reynolds. "This was an extremely exciting trade for this organization and the team as a whole," said Armor coach Dee Brown (!!!). "Bringing an All-American like Scottie Reynolds to Springfield is a big step for us and we're looking forward to seeing him display his skills in the MassMutual Center this season." Good to see Scottie back stateside, in any event.