GEORGETOWN HOYAS (20-4)
at SYRACUSE ORANGE (22-4)
Carrier Dome Ė Syracuse, NY
Tip-off: Saturday, 4:00 p.m. ET
Line: Syracuse -7, Total: 123.5
Long-time rivals No. 8 Syracuse and No. 11 Georgetown will tip off for the first of two regular-season meetings Saturday afternoon.
The Hoyas are among the hottest teams in college basketball, winning eight in a row SU and ATS. That includes wins as underdogs against Notre Dame, Louisville and Cincinnati. The Orange fell to Connecticut last week, but have bounced back for two SU and ATS wins against Seton Hall and Providence.
Can the Orange cover the moderate spread against their long-time rival? For the answer, connect to College Basketball Best Bets for all the Expert picks throughout the entire 2012-13 season. Through Thursday, StatFox Scott is 58% ATS (19-14) on college hoops Best Bets since Feb. 8, while StatFox Gary is 55% ATS (85-71-3) for Best Bets this season. StatFox Dave is 52% ATS (139-130-5) for the season, and StatFox Brian has been 50% ATS or better in nine of the past 12 days, posting a 5-3 ATS mark (63%) over the past three days.
These two teams played once last season, a narrow three-point win for the then-No. 2 Orange in overtime against the then-No. 11 Hoyas. PF Otto Porter led the way for Georgetown in that game with 14 points on 5-of-9 shooting. Porter (15.1 PPG, 7.7 RPG) is leading the Hoyas offense again this year as a threat to score from anywhere on the court, also knocking down 1.3 threes per game on a phenomenal 44.6% clip. His frontcourt mate Greg Whittington is still out with academic violations, but seeing as how the Hoyas have won eight in a row, that doesnít seem to be a problem. The other key scorer is G Markel Starks (12.4 PPG, 3.0 APG), who like Porter has been on-point from distance, hitting 42.7% of his threes. Accurate outside shooting will be key to giving the Hoyas a shot of breaking down Jim Boeheimís 2-3 zone on Saturday.
No current member of the Orange scored double-digit points against the Hoyas last year as the graduated Kris Joseph carried the team to victory with 29 points. This yearís squad is led by 6-foot-6 PG Michael Carter-Williams (12.7 PPG) who is second nationally in assists (8.2 APG) and third in steals (3.0 SPG). Heís making just 38.0% FG and turning it over 3.5 times per game, but makes up for it with his elite defense and ball distribution. SG Brandon Triche (14.9 PPG) leads the offense, and over his past two games is averaging 21.5 PPG. Junior SF C.J. Fair (14.3 PPG, 7.3 RPG) is the teamís biggest asset down low, though he can stretch a defense with his shot and is coming off two consecutive double-doubles, averaging 19.5 PPG and 10.5 RPG. The team also gets a big spark off the bench from PF James Southerland (13.8 PPG), who knocks down 2.3 threes per game and scored 20 points his last time out on 7-for-8 shooting. Heís shown no trepidation since returning from academic violations, and will be key to breaking down a stingy Georgetown defense that yields just 56.1 PPG, second lowest in the Big East.