Georgetown Hoyas (15-3 SU, 8-6 ATS) vs. Syracuse Orange (19-1 SU, 11-4 ATS), 7:00 p.m. EST, Monday, January 25, 2009, Carrier Dome, Syracuse, N.Y. TV: ESPN
by Ryno of Predictem.com
Point Spread: Georgetown +5.5/Syraucse -5.5
Two of the top teams in the Big East and in the country square off Monday night at the Carrier Dome in a powerhouse primetime matchup, as the Syracuse Orange host the Georgetown Hoyas.
Syracuse has just one loss this season, 82-72 at home to Pittsburgh on January 2. If it weren’t for that loss, everybody would be talking about Syracuse right now as the best team in the country. But that loss may be a good thing, as now the Orange are a bit under the radar to the likes of Kentucky, Kansas and Texas. Syracuse has quality wins over California, North Carolina, Cornell, Florida, Seton Hall, Memphis, West Virginia, Notre Dame and Marquette.
The Orange defeated Marquette at home on Saturday, 76-71. Wesley Johnson, one of the top candidates for both Big East and National Player of the Year, had 22 points and 15 rebounds. Kris Joseph had 14 points and 11 rebounds, and big men Rick Jackson and Arinze Onuaku each had 12 points and five boards. Despite shooting only 1-for-8 on 3-pointers, the Orange shot 59 percent from the field. Despite Marquette shooting 10-for-25 from 3-point range, the Golden Eagles only shot 39 percent overall. Syracuse held a commanding 43-21 rebounding edge on the much smaller Golden Eagles, but the Orange committed 22 turnovers while only forcing nine. Syracuse was lucky to come away with the victory, as it’s tough to do so when allowing the opposition to make 10 3-pointers and forcing 22 turnovers. The Orange must do a much better job in both departments to earn a win over Georgetown.
After not making the NCAA tournament last year, the Hoyas have been about as good as they can be this season. Their three losses have come to Old Dominion at home and on the road at Marquette and Villanova. All three losses have come by five points or less. They have defeated Temple, Butler, Washington, Harvard, St. John’s, UConn, Seton Hall and Pittsburgh.
Georgetown’s last game was an 88-73 victory at home over Rutgers on Saturday. Greg Monroe was absolutely dominant for the Hoyas with 21 points, 14 rebounds and six assists. He shot 10-of-12 from the field and even made a 3-pointer in his only attempt. Chris Wright had 16 points and six assists, Austin Freeman had 14 points, and Julian Vaughn scored 12. The Hoyas shot a ridiculous 63 percent from the field and 9-for-16 on 3-pointers.
Against Syracuse’s zone defense, the Hoyas will have to knock down some 3-pointers to win this game. Fortunately for them, they are shooting a terrific 39.9 percent from 3-point range this season, so if they keep that up they have a great chance to win this game. Syracuse is making 38.7 percent of its 3-point attempts and holding opponents to 30.6 percent from downtown. Rebounding will be important, as Monroe will try to deal with the size of Onuaku and Jackson down low. The Hoyas average a +5.2 margin on the boards, while Syracuse has a +4 margin. Syracuse can force a lot of turnovers with its zone defense, averaging 17.4 per game. But the Orange also turn it over a lot themselves. They commit 16.1 per game and turned it over 22 times in their last game. Georgetown is committing 14.3 turnovers per game and forcing 13.7 per game.
Syracuse is 14-5 ATS in its last 19 games as a home favorite, 12-4 ATS in its last 16 home games, 20-6 ATS in its last 26 games as a favorite, and 21-6 ATS in its last 27 games overall. Georgetown is 6-21-1 ATS in its last 28 games following an ATS win. The home team is 4-1 ATS in the last five meetings between these teams. The Hoyas are 1-5 ATS in their last six games against Syracuse and also 1-5 ATS in their last six games at Syracuse.
Ryno’s Pick: Both of these teams are shooting very well from beyond the arc this season, so it could simply come down to which team is hotter in this game. Wright and Freeman are very good outside shooters for the Hoyas, but Syracuse has the better shooters with Johnson and Andy Rautins. Look for the Orange to try to pound it inside early to Onuaku and Jackson and try to get Monroe in foul trouble. If that happens, the Hoyas are in trouble. Syracuse has been playing very well in almost every game this season and will keep it going tonight. Take Syracuse -5.5 to cover the spread.