College Hoops Monday: Your Commentary

    
January 25th, 2010
Monday's headline game is one of the rivalries that shaped the early years of the Big East Conference, and with both Georgetown and Syracuse ranked in the Top 15 of the polls it's fitting that they meet again on the primetime stage. The game matches two of the conference's best shooting teams, with Syracuse ranking first in field goal percentage while the Hoyas are second. In regards to what they like to run there is a difference, with the Hoyas' system being more of the half-court variety that is among the most efficient offenses in the Big East. The Orange will look to get out in the open floor, using the versatile Wes Johnson to make plays inside and out while Andy Rautins can knock down the outside shots and Arinze Onuaku (and Rick Jackson) get the job done inside.

Georgetown has one of the best power forwards in America in sophomore Greg Monroe, and he's played very good basketball of late. In his last three games Monroe is averaging 21 points and 11 rebounds per game, and the improved play of Austin Freeman has made a difference as well. But the position to watch on Monday night is point guard. Syracuse operated by platooning freshman Brandon Triche and Scoop Jardine while Georgetown relies on Chris Wright (Jason Clark can also handle the chores when called upon). But Wright has been the key for the Hoyas in Big East play; when he's on Georgetown is a near-impossible team to beat. A Georgetown win would give Villanova a two-game lead in the Big East standings while the Orange hope to stay within a game of the Wildcats.

The other big game is a rivalry that is likely more heated that Georgetown/Syracuse. Missouri and Kansas could care less about each other, and the Tigers show up in Lawrence in need of a marquee win to bolster their tournament seeding. Mizzou has won ten of their last eleven games, with the lone defeat being a bad showing at Oklahoma on the 16th. Kim English leads three Tigers in double figures and they've also got one of the best perimeter defenders in J.T. Tiller. But the key for them will be how they match up with the likes of Cole Aldrich and the Collins twins. Because of their ability to get the ball inside the Jayhawks are the Big 12's most efficient offensive team, and point guard Sherron Collins does a great job of leading the team. Missouri will have their hands full to say the least.

TV GAMES

7p ESPN Georgetown at Syracuse
7p ESPNU Delaware State at Coppin State
9p ESPN Missouri at Kansas
9p ESPNU Alabama State at Southern
11p ESPNU Boise State at Idaho

OTHER GAMES

7p Charleston at Western Carolina
8p Bethune-Cookman at Howard
8:05p Western Kentucky at Southern Illinois
9p Arkansas-Pine Bluff at Texas Southern

ONE PREDICTION

Syracuse over Georgetown: One area that can be lost in the shuffle when talking about the Orange is their defense. Their length makes them a very tough defense to score on, and Syracuse ranks second in the Big East in field goal percentage defense and defensive efficiency in league games. If Georgetown's outside shots are falling they could leave with the victory. But against a defense as good as Jim Boeheim's 2-3 zone they're going to have a tough time finding a lot of good looks. The Orange defend their home floor.