NO. 11 GEORGETOWN (18-4, 8-3 Big East) AT NO. 2 SYRACUSE (23-1, 10-1 Big East)
Time/TV: 7 p.m./ESPN
Location: Carrier Dome in Syracuse
Georgetown 13 (No. 3 Big East)
Syracuse 1 (No. 1 Big East)
Line: Syracuse -11½ (O/U 129)
Georgetown Players to Watch: F Otto Porter, 6-8 Fr. (8.4 ppg, 6.6 rpg, 49.7% FG); C Henry Sims, 6-10 Sr. (11.9 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 3.6 apg); G Jason Clark, 6-2 Sr. (15.2 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 50% FG). Sims is arguably the best passing center in the country. He easily leads the Hoyas with 79 assists this season, including 13 in Georgetown’s last three outings.
Syracuse Players to Watch: F Kris Joseph, 6-7 Sr. (13.7 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 1.9 apg); G Scoop Jardine, 6-2 Sr. (8.5 ppg, 4.8 apg, 1.4 spg); C Feb Melo, 7-0 So. (7.5 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 57.6% FG). Melo had 14 points on 5-of-6 shooting, plus three rebounds and two blocked shots in his first game back – a 95-70 win over St. John’s – following his 3-game suspension for academic issues.
Storylines: The Orange have won three straight since their only loss of the season at Notre Dame on Jan. 21. They have built a 2-game lead on Marquette. After five wins in its last six games, Georgetown is in third place, a half-game behind Marquette and 1½ games behind Syracuse.
Keys: After Saturday’s win over St. John’s, Syracuse has nine wins over 20 points or more this season. Georgetown made 15 of its 23 second-half field goal attempts in Saturday’s 75-45 win over South Florida, including four of its six 3-pointers. Syracuse leads the Big East and is 21st in the nation in points per game at 78.1. Georgetown leads the Big East and is 15th nationally surrendering 58.6 points per game. Syracuse gives up 60.8 per outing. The Orange and Hoyas are 1-2, respectively, in scoring margin. Syracuse wins by an average of 17.4 points per game, which is third in the country. The Hoyas are second – and 22nd in America – at plus-12.4. The Hoyas are one of only five teams in the nation with at least four wins over top-25 teams this season. Memphis, Alabama, Louisville, Marquette were all ranked when they lost to Georgetown. Georgetown has held four of its 11 Big East opponents under 50 points. Syracuse has one of the deepest teams in the country. It has 10 players who average at least 12 minutes per game and all ten average at least 2.9 points per game. No Orange played more than 29 minutes in Saturday’s win over St. John’s. One of the few Syracuse weaknesses in rebounding. Despite out-rebounding the Red Storm 42-31 on Saturday, tthe Orange rank 12th in the Big East in rebounding margin at plus-0.2. Despite a deliberate pace, Georgetown is plus-4.9 this season, which is fourth-best in the league. Syracuse is 15-0 at home this season. The Hoyas are 4-2 in true road games and 6-3 away from home this season.
The Bottom Line: It appears that Syracuse is far too deep and talented for the overachieving Hoyas, but Georgetown has been playing above its head all season. A win is unlikely, but expect the Hoyas to keep it close.
The Pick: Syracuse 72, Georgetown 65.
Greg Against the Spread This Season: 57-34