(17) Syracuse (23-7) at (5) Georgetown (23-5)
Saturday, March 9, 12 p.m. (et)
The Sports Network
By Frank Haynes, Senior College Basketball Editor
FACTS & STATS: Site: Verizon Center (18,277) -- Washington, D.C. Television: ESPN. Home Record: SU 17-2, GU 15-1. Away Record: SU 5-4, GU 6-3. Neutral Record: SU 1-1, GU 2-1. Conference Record: SU 11-6, GU 13-4. Series Record: Syracuse leads, 48-40.
GAME NOTES: The final regular-season meeting between long-time Big East Conference rivals Syracuse and Georgetown takes place on Saturday afternoon at Verizon Center in our nation's capitol.
Syracuse comes into this regular-season finale sporting an impressive 23-7 record, and the team has won 11 of its 17 Big East bouts to tie Pittsburgh and Notre Dame for fourth place. The Orange are fresh off a 78-57 shellacking of DePaul on Wednesday night, which gave the team its 17th home win in 19 opportunities, but more importantly, put the brakes on a three-game slide.
Georgetown is 23-5 overall and at 13-4 in conference, it is currently deadlocked with Louisville and Marquette atop the Big East standings. The Hoyas seemingly had control in the race for the conference crown, but a stunning 67-57 loss at Villanova on Wednesday night put them in the position they're in now.
These two teams met less than two weeks ago at Carrier Dome, with the Hoyas prevailing in a 57-46 final. Syracuse owns a 48-40 series advantage over Georgetown, and the Hoyas have won three of the last five meetings.
Despite an off-shooting night, the Orange had little trouble getting past DePaul earlier in the week, as James Southerland scored 22 points and grabbed 10 rebounds to lead the team in both categories. Southerland was fortunate to convert all 11 of his free throws, as he went just 5-of-18 from the floor and hit only one of his 10 3-point attempts. C.J. Fair tacked on 16 points, Brandon Triche had 15 and Michael Carter-Williams finished with 10 for Syracuse, which connected on only 38.8 percent of its total shots, missing 16 of its 18 3-point tries along the way. The team did go 24-of-31 at the foul line, compared to just a 12-of-24 effort by the Blue Demons, who wound up shooting a mere 37.7 percent from the floor, draining only 5-of-18 long-range bombs in the process. They were also guilty of 18 turnovers, and the Orange ruled the glass with a 47-38 rebounding advantage. Fair (14.6 ppg, 7.3 rpg), Triche (14.3 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 3.7 apg), Southerland (14.1 ppg, 5.3 rpg) and Carter-Williams (12.4 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 7.8 apg) are all averaging double digits in scoring for a team that puts up 73.4 ppg while allowing only 59.6 ppg.
Foul trouble was the primary reason Georgetown fell at Villanova earlier this week as the Hoyas committed 27 transgressions, allowing the Wildcats to attempt a whopping 42 free throws, of which they converted 30. Conversely, GU went just 4-of-8 from the charity stripe. Adding insult to injury, the Hoyas committed an unsightly 23 turnovers, off which 'Nova scored 24 points. Both teams shot around the same from the field (.460 for the Hoyas, .471 for the 'Cats), and Georgetown was led Otto Porter, Jr. who tallied 17 points. Porter, Jr. is now averaging a club-best 16.6 ppg, and he also paces the unit on the boards (7.4 rpg) and in steals (53). Markel Starks (12.2 ppg, 2.8 apg) is the only other active double-digit scorer for the Hoyas, who generate 65.1 ppg behind 46.1 percent success on their field goal attempts, while really tightening the screws on defense, as they permit only 56.7 ppg, with foes shooting a mere 37.9 percent from the floor, which includes a 30.5 percent showing from beyond the arc.
The Hoyas can still win the Big East, but they'll likely need a win in order to do so. The Orange would love to pick up a win in their final Big East regular season game, but winning in this conference on the road, is extremely difficult.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Georgetown 66, Syracuse 63
03/09 10:33:49 ET