Submitted by Jim Hurley on Friday, March 15, 2013 at 7:00 AM
Syracuse was already embarrassed by Georgetown in the Carrierdome…and again in the regular season finale to the Big East season. That would be Syracuse’s FINAL Big East season as the team heads out the door to the ACC. But…like a zombie that keeps rising up from the ground after getting flattened…the Orange are back for a THIRD encounter with the Hoyas Friday Night in the semifinal round of the conference tournament.
What’s different this time around?
Well, obviously…Syracuse has double revenge! They’re also shooting lights out at Madison Square Garden this week…following up a 9 of 15 performance on three-pointers vs. Seton Hall with a 12 of 19 effort vs. Pittsburgh in Thursday’s quarterfinals. If you believe in “hot” teams or shooters gaining confidence…then the Orange will be tough to deal with. If you believe in the laws of math…there’s one heck of a regression coming up!
For its part, Georgetown may have trouble getting sky high emotionally for a team they’ve already beat with peak emotional efforts. They managed to avoid overconfidence Thursday against Cincinnati. This will be a real test of whether or not they’re ready for a #1 seed in the Big Dance. The AP poll has them at #5 right now, knocking on the door. If the Hoyas win the week…they probably can’t be denied a #1 seed. A loss here…and they could even slip back to a #3 if Florida looks great down in the SEC.
Let’s run this high profile TV game through our gauntlet if indicator stats to see if much has changed since the prior meetings…
Syracuse: 25-8 (11-7 in the Big East)
Georgetown: 25-5 (14-4 in the Big East)
Georgetown still has the better record, and you could argue they were more impressive Thursday because they didn’t need a miraculous performance from long range to advance. Georgetown is very good…and sometimes they boost their margin with some treys. Syracuse has really only looked good lately vs. quality teams when they were making their treys. They were cleanly outplayed twice by Georgetown, and at home by Louisville.
Syracuse: #12 with Sagarin, #13 with Pomeroy
Georgetown: #11 with Sagarin, #12 with Pomeroy
Interestingly, the computers still have this as a dead heat. Georgetown has a couple of bad losses on their resume. Computers don’t forget those even if the players do. You’ve seen with your own eyes that Georgetown is the better team head-to-head right now. And, you’ve also seen why computers are “pretty good” but not GREAT at evaluating teams from a handicapping perspective. Too much old news in the software. That being said…if Syracuse stays hot and Georgetown comes in overconfident…megabytes and stats won’t matter. The Orange will win.
COMPUTER STRENGTH OF SCHEDULE RANKINGS
Syracuse: #32 with Sagarin, #31 with Pomeroy
Georgetown: #24 with Sagarin, #34 with Pomeroy
Pretty similar here because conference games are such a large part of the sampling now. Actuallly, the computers disagree on who had it tougher. We should probably call it a wash and move on.
WON-LOST RECORDS VS. SAGARIN’S TOP 50
Big edge here for Georgetown, who uses its great defense to shut down opponents late in close games. You saw them find another gear Thursday when Cincinnati got close early in the second half. Cincinnati ended the second half with only 43 points! Georgetown excels when it’s time to win a game. Syracuse performed well early in the season…but really started to struggle down the stretch against teams who had seen their zone before.
JOE LUNARDI’S BRACKETOLOGY
Syracuse: projected #5 seed
Georgetown: projected #2 seed
The Orange had dropped all the way down to a #5 because of their recent poor performances. Remember when they were in the discussion for a #1 after that road win at Louisville? That’s quite a drop in this sport in just a few weeks. A win here would probably push Syracuse back up to a #4. Georgetown is within arm’s reach of a #1 if they sweep the weekend…but could easily fall back to a #3 as we mentioned earlier. Those who trust the computers are saying Georgetown isn’t qualified to be a #1 or a #2. They still need to prove otherwise to skeptics.
POMEROY’S ADJUSTED OFFENSE RANKINGS
In the chess game…Syracuse grades out much better offensively. Georgetown isn’t lethal offensively. They just score enough to win a great percentage of the time because their defense is so lethal. We should note that Syracuse hasn’t played at all like a top 20 offense late in close games recently. And, they only scored 22 in the second half of their win over Pittsburgh. You should probably think of Syracuse as more like a #40 type offense…unless they can keep draining those bombs.
POMEROY’S ADJUSTED DEFENSE RANKINGS
What we learned late during Big East play is that Syracuse isn’t a top 25 defense against teams who are comfortable playing against their zone. The more you see it, the easier it is to deal with. Now…against a team who hasn’t seen it before…Syracuse may play like a top 10 defense. Remember that in their Dance opener. Georgetown has already seen it twice. Of course, Syracuse has seen Georgetown’s defense twice…but they haven’t figured it out! Georgetown doesn’t play a gimmick that can be solved. Georgetown hurts people who try to score.
POMEROY’S ADJUSTED TEMPO RANKINGS
Georgetown has been able to force Syracuse into a slow tempo in both earlier games, and will be trying to do the same thing here. It can be tough for Syracuse to speed things up because they’re coming out of a zone defensively…and trying to run into a wall when they have the ball. This makes it clear as can be that Syracuse must keep making their treys. It’s going to be a halfcourt game. Nobody scores inside on Georgetown.
The intangibles favor Syracuse to a significant degree. The chess match elements of this game favor Georgetown fairly dramatically, which was clear in their two victories. Syracuse doesn’t have any workable options beyond hoping the treys go in…unless Georgetown comes in overconfident and loses a stop defensively and on the boards. JIM HURLEY is working closely with his New York sources to get a read on the Hoya’s mindset going into this game. You KNOW Syracuse will have a chip on its shoulder. Can Georgetown knock it off again/
To see if Syracuse-Georgetown made the final cut for Friday, purchase JIM HURLEY’S picks right here at the website with your credit card. We’re also looking at the other semifinal in New York, as well as quarterfinal action in the Big 10, ACC, Atlantic 10 and SEC, and semifinal action in the Big 12, Mountain West, and Pac 12. Some of the lesser followed events may create a big edge as well.
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Back with you Saturday for a preview of one of the marquee major conference semifinals, as we continue our focus on teams who are going to matter all through the month of March in college basketball. Sunday we’ll study the best matchup amongst the final set of championship games. By Monday…the brackets will be set!
It’s been a busy few days already, but the fun is just beginning. There’s nothing like CHAMPIONSHIP WEEK in college basketball. When championships are on the line, YOU NEED WORLD CHAMPION HANDICAPPER JIM HURLEY!