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Big East Pick
The top of the big East is a battle at the moment with some schools that weren't expected to be there. Georgetown is one of those teams that have taken people by surprise as they are currently ranked No. 11 in the country. However, with two games against Syracuse and road games at Connecticut and Villanova, they could easily go from first to out of the top five in the conference if not careful.
The Hoyas are on a rampant pace at the moment, having not lost since Jan. 19. Their last loss came surprisingly at South Florida who is last place in the conference. Georgetown has beaten Louisville and Marquette at home and gone on the road to take out Notre Dame and Cincinnati. This game at Syracuse will probably be their hardest task of the season to date. For starters, the Orange are undefeated at home this year.
Syracuse has been floating around the Top 10 for pretty much the entire season for a good reason. They started the year with an 18-1 record which was highlighted by a road win at then-ranked No. 1 Louisville. That win came without one of their leading scorers, James Southerland. After a tough stretch of road games that saw them lose three straight (on the road), Syracuse finally came through at Seton Hall last Saturday to get their first road win since that Louisville game. Now they are back at home and ready to show everyone they are the best team in the Big East.
The main problem the Hoyas will have in this game is scoring on the dreaded Syracuse zone defense. Georgetown doesn't have a great offense as it is and their scorers are limited. They rank 254th in points per game for a reason. Otto Porter Jr. and Markel Starks have been great on this current winning streak, but will the two be enough against the Orange? They both shoot a decent percentage from behind the arc, yet only combine for three made treys per game. No one else on their team is that great of a shooter which brings problems against zones. Nate Lubick will have to work the paint and top of the key to get space for Porter Jr. and Starks. The last time either one of them had a bad game, it was in the loss at South Florida when Starks only had three points on 1-of-8 shooting.
The one advantage Georgetown has is their defense which makes its living by suffocating opponents. Syracuse has some great players, but they aren't prone to looking lost or having a poor game. The return of Southerland has helped a ton as he spreads the floor for them as a big man. He's averaging about three made three-balls per game since his return back on Feb. 10. That has only helped the rest of the team as it puts less pressure on them. Brandon Triche, C.J. Fair and Michael Carter-Williams now have a player to look to in the corner if they are in trouble driving the lane. All of those players average at least 12 points a game, not to mention MCW is getting eight assists per contest.
The Hoyas have been playing great defense lately, but against a well-rounded offense like Syracuse's they'll have their hands full. If that doesn't work for them, their offense will need to somehow pull them out of a hole on the road. We'll get to see just how good Georgetown can be in this game.
Predicted Score - Syracuse 61 Georgetown 53
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