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Syracuse and Georgetown will meet for the final time in the regular season as members of the Big East Saturday, putting a lid on one of college basketball’s most storied conference rivalries. Georgetown can clinch at least a tie of the Big East crown with a victory.

Syracuse and Georgetown were charter members of the Big East when the conference was formed in 1979 as a high-profile basketball conference that included several other member schools from along the Eastern seaboard. Since then, with all apologies to UConn, the Hoyas and Orange have been the flagship programs of the Big East. After this season, Syracuse is leaving the conference to join the ACC.

These two teams met just two weeks ago with the Hoyas coming away with a 57-46 win as a 7.5-point road favorite. That win came as part of an 11-game win streak for Georgetown that was snapped Wednesday in a loss to Villanova. Syracuse beat DePaul Wednesday that snapped a two-game skid.

As is their tradition, Georgetown is led by a rough-and-rugged defense that ranks in the top-10 in nation in both points allowed (56.3 a game) and opponent’s field-goal percentage (37.6 percent). Offensively, the Hoyas are paced by forward Otto Porter Jr. The 6’8” sophomore leads the team in both scoring (16.6 points a game) and rebounds (7.6 a game). Porter has been particularly strong down the stretch while emerging as a candidate for National Player of the Year. In the Hoyas last three games—wins against Syracuse, Connecticut and Rutgers—Porter has averaged 27.6 points and been a beast on the boards.

Syracuse come into this big matchup reeling as they have lost three straight games to fall out of  contention in the Big East regular season race. Coach Jim Boeheim will be itching to get his team back on track before entering tournament play next week and the college basketball bracket picks season commences in offices everywhere. Not to mention a win would come against his bitterest rival in Georgetown in the team’s final game as a member of the Big East. 

Everyone and their mother knows that Syracuse Basketball is always a force to be reckoned with. The Orange always fields one of the toughest teams in the country year in and year out under Coach Jim Boeheim. This year started off no different, as they won their first 18 games of the season. However, all of a sudden something happened. Syracuse collapsed and looked to have major issues, winning just four out of ten games. However, in the midst of the major freak out, Syracuse scored two huge road victories against co-Big East power houses Villanova and Georgetown. So this makes you wonder; are they back to where they should be as one of the best teams in the NCAA or is there still cause for a concern despite those two wins?

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Jim Boeheim’s Syracuse Orange have been a perennial powerhouse in the Big East for many reasons: good talent, excellent coaching and quality defense. That defense has been stellar for so many years based on the fact that they play the 2-3 zone better than anyone in the country.

Those following college basketball betting at BetUs know that that 2-3 zone has been cracked this year.

Syracuse is still 20-6 on the season so nothing is lost but what has been lost is their last two contests. They’ve also lost six of their last eight games. The bigger concern is the amount of three-pointers that they are giving up.

In Syracuse’s latest loss to Louisville, the Cardinals nailed 13 three-pointers in a 73-69 victory. In previous Big East games, Villanova drilled 11 three’s, Cincinnati had the same, Seton Hall had 10 and Georgetown drained nine.

Simply put, the 2-3 zone is constructed to prevent perimeter shooting and clamp down on the interior players when the ball goes inside. The only way to beat this zone is to get hot from the outside, stretch it further and create room inside.

That’s exactly what has been happening to Syracuse this season – particularly in their losses – and it seems as though a weakness has been uncovered.

The Orange haven’t won a home game since January 15th, which is a big surprise considering who they are and the weight their stadium normally carries. They better tighten up the defense and correct their flaws quickly or they may slide all the way out of the NCAA Tournament.

While the season ended too soon for the Syracuse Orangemen, Wesley Johnson received a post-season honor today after being named to the All-American squad along with Kentucky’s DeMarcus Cousins and John Wall, Villanova’s Scottie Reynolds, and Ohio State’s Evan Turner. Not the ultimate award Johnson was looking to obtain, but still a nice award for an outstanding year turned in by the transfer. He’ll most likely head to the NBA this summer. Congratulations, Wes Johnson. Johnson averaged 16.0 points and 8.4 rebounds per game this year as he led Syracuse to their first #1 ranking in the regular season since 1990.

photo credit: sportsillustrated.cnn.com

The struggles of the Big East thus far in the NCAA tournament has not affected the Orangemen of Syracuse. Syracuse defeated Gonzaga in Buffalo, New York today 87-65. continue reading…

With the NCAA tournament now well under way, offices have stopped working, classes have been skipped, and fans all over the country have tuned in to watch their teams do what they can to make it to the weekend games. Syracuse doesn’t play till tomorrow, one of the final games on the slate for the 1st round. continue reading…

Written By: Matt Vereb

Syracuse dropped their opening round game in the Big East Tournament to Georgetown, 91-84.

Should Syracuse fans worry? The team has dropped two straight games before the NCAA Tournament, so it causes some reason for concern. However, their projected #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament will not be affected after today’s loss.

The real concern? Forward Arinze Onuaku left in 2nd half with an apart leg injury. X-rays have come back negative, but ‘Cuse fans will hold their breath with only five days before the NCAA tournament kicks off. If Onuaku is unable play, Syracuse will only have one inside presence in center, Rick Jackson. After watching Georgetown center Greg Monroe have his way with Jackson(15 points, 10 rebounds), Syracuse will have matchup problems against teams with larger front courts. Long term, Syracuse will have a problem against a team like Kansas if they do not have Onuaku.

Is there a silver lining? Definitely. Syracuse has played great basketball all season in the nation’s toughest conference, posting a 15-3 record. Their RPI of 4 and Strength of schedule of 11, further emphasizes that point. Big East player of the year, Wes Johnson and head coach, Jim Boeheim, will have the Orange motivated heading into the tournament.

Syracuse will have the next 5-6 days to rest and recover before embarking on a National Championship journey. They will not have to battle two, top-tier Big East teams in the next two days. To me, that is a big advantage. Syracuse will come out angry in the NCAA Tournament.

Syracuse has been elimiated in the first round in two of the last three NCAA Tournaments. Last season, they were eliminated by Blake Griffin and the Oklahoma Sooners in the Sweet 16.

Photo Credit: news.yahoo.com

Written By: Kenny Mauss

In a classic Big East battle between two bitter rivals, the Orangemen of Syracuse were able to hold off the Huskies of UConn. Led by Wes Johnson, Syracuse was able to win its 11th straight game and 10th straight inside of Big East conference play.  Rick Jackson led the Orange with 15 points while Jerome Dyson paced the Huskies with 19 points.

Late in the 2nd half, with Syracuse clinging to a small lead, Jim Boeheim was granted a controversial timeout as Scoop Jardine drove down the lane. Boeheim was visibly angry with his star point guard for taking the ball to the basket with little over a minute remaining in the game. He could be seen lecturing the young court general telling him, “That could have cost us the game!” Fortunately for Boeheim’s Orangemen, The Orange were 23-28 from the Free Throw line, and 6-6 in the waning minutes to hold on vs. Connecticut.

This game meant a lot more to the desperate Huskies than to the high flying Orangemen. Wins like this will continue to prove the legitimacy of this 2010 Syracuse team. Upcoming games versus arch-rival Georgetown and the upstart Villanova Wildcats will either propel Syracuse into the Big East Conference tournament and NCAA tournament, or potentially put a damper on their status as national title contenders come March.

Overall, it was a great win for this young team. The wins keep flowing as Syracuse is now 24-1 overall with a 12-1 record in conference play.

Written By: Matt Vereb

Syracuse takes on Georgetown in the 3rd round of the Big East Tournament at 12:00PM today at Madison Square Garden. #1 seeded Syracuse Orange will look to rebound after they lost their final Big East regular season game at Louisville, 78-68 on Saturday. The Orange come into this contest focused on winning the Big East Championship and solidifying their claim to an NCAA Tournament #1 seed.

Led by Big East Player of the Year Wes Johnson, Syracuse defeated Georgetown in both of their regular season meetings. Johnson averaged 15 points per game in those victories.

Syracuse will need to contain guard Austin Freeman and center Greg Monroe in order to win. Monroe and Freeman combined for 41 points in the team’s last meeting.(SYR victory, 75-71). Look for Syracuse Senior Forward/Center Arinze Onuaku to do a better job defending Monroe in this game.

Georgetown has been one of the streakiest teams in the Big East this season. During the regular season, they defeated Duke, 89-77, but lost to South Florida three days later at home, 72-64. Georgetown was able to avenge that USF loss yesterday(69-49), but their overall inconsistent play resulted in a 10-8 conference record.

Look for the Orange to grab their first Big East tournament win tomorrow.

Prediction: Syracuse 75 Georgetown 66

Photo Credit: meghangrace.com

Written By: Matt Vereb

The #1 Syracuse Orangemen lost their regular season finale at Louisville, 78-68. Louisville’s victory was an appropriate way for the Cardinals to close the historic, Freedom Hall. Cardinals guard, Kyle Kuric scored 22 second half points to pace the Cards. Kuric, normally a reserve player, stepped in for injured star, Jerry Smith. Syracuse came out extremely flat in the 2nd half. However, Wes Johnson played a good game for Syracuse by scoring 18 points. Scoop Jardine added 20 in the loss.

This victory ensures that the Cardinals will be in the NCAA Tournament. They have posted two victories this season against Syracuse and more impressively, 11 Big East wins.

Syracuse will look to rebound next week as the Big East tournament kicks off. Look for a lot of great basketball next week at Madison Square Garden. Go Syracuse.

Photo Credit: news.yahoo.com