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Georgetown at Syracuse

February 26, 2007

College Basketball - Georgetown Hoyas (-3, 134) at Syracuse Orangemen 7:00 PM EST

Tonight’s Big East tussle really has a familiar ring to it. On the Syracuse sidelines is Jim Boeheim, who has coached in these games for years. On the opposing coach’s chair is John Thompson, granted a younger and smaller version, yet one who is starting to produce results that are grabbing attention. For good measure there is even one Patrick Ewing, who has become a constant contributor for Georgetown. The more things change the more they stay the same.

The Hoyas have stormed into first place in the Big East with their 12th consecutive win, the longest in seventeen years, when they overtook tenth ranked Pittsburgh 61-53 at home this past Saturday. Two more wins for Georgetown and they take the league crown outright for the first time since the 1988-89 season.

"You can't be unhappy about the position we're in - even I can't," said Georgetown coach John Thompson III, who's a notorious curmudgeon like his father when talking about achievements that have yet to truly been captured. The Hoyas streak of success also has supporters gleaming with 10-1-1 ATS record. Now Georgetown must quickly turnaround and face an old foe who has given them fits in recent times.

Syracuse has won six of last seven meetings with the Hoyas including twice knocking them out of the Big East tournament. The Orangemen have two elements in their favor coming into this ESPN televised contest. Syracuse is on second 4-game winning streak of the season in the conference after upset at Providence Saturday. Coach Boeheim’s is 7-1 at the Carrier Dome vs. G-Town, lending itself to even greater confidence.

While Georgetown already has a bye in the Big East Tournament, Syracuse is trying to earn one, being tied with Notre Dame for the last spot in fourth place. As the regular season winds down, seniors are the players that normally step up realizing the end is near, and Demetris Nichols who done just that for the Orangemen. The senior forward as averaged almost 21 points a game in the last four wins and has taken over as the leading scorer in the Big East at 18.9.

Georgetown does not have any seniors to fall back on, instead they depend on a pair of juniors who very likely could be first round draft choices this summer should they decide to come out. Roy Hibbert has been “awesome with a capital A” is how Dick Vitale would say it. Hibbert now has the experience and confidence and calls for the ball when his team needs a bucket.

Jeff Green’s game might be better suited for the pros, with numerous all around skills to go with his 6’9 frame. His game too has evolved as he has looked for his shot more frequently and has averaged 18.8 points in the last nine games.

The powerful Hoyas will be a rare favorite of 3.5- point in upstate New York as noted at sportsbook.com. This has not occurred in well over a decade. They have proved they should be, being second in the country in field percentage at 52.2% and converting on 37.9% of three point shots. This has all lead to Georgetown being 9-2 ATS off a win against a conference rival this season.

For Georgetown’s prowess on the defensive side, it is Syracuse that actually has the better field goal percentage defense at 37.5 percent, which also happens to be fourth in the nation. This is part of the reason why the Orangemen are 5-2 ATS playing against teams with winning records in recent outings.

The Hoyas are playing as well or better then any team in the country. Syracuse has lost four times at home this season and is 1-4 against ranked teams. Though the defense has been stifling, they are 1-7 ATS after three straight games allowing a shooting pct. of 40% or less this season.

With Georgetown 8-2 ATS in road games this campaign and this being only the Orangemen’s third game in which they have played with one day off, this lends itself to the Hoyas being the play.

Discuss picks and predictions for Monday's college basketball betting card in the SCI posting forum.


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