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College Basketball: Big East Teams Look to Rebound

Written by:
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Published on:
Feb/18/2010

After 25 games, the only question remaining for Syracuse was would they be the top seed in the East Region when the NCAA bids come out in just over three weeks. Despite suffering just their second loss of the year this past Sunday, now they might not even be in first place in their conference this upcoming weekend with another defeat. And what about Georgetown? The Hoyas have been as reliable as Toyota lately. College basketball in February, the bettors dream and nightmare all rolled into one. Tonight the teams go head-to-head in D.C., with Georgetown playing as a slight favorite according to oddsmakers at Sportsbook.com.

Maybe the Orangemen (24-2, 15-7 ATS) were due for a flat outing like they suffered at home to Louisville, losing 66-60 as seven-point favorites. Save about seven total minutes, Syracuse players looked like zombies, going through the motions.

They have played similar to this of late with a 3-4 ATS mark, winning games in the last five minutes, until they finally got burned. The Orangemen can still play, inside or out and their 2-3 zone is the most active coach Jim Boeheim has had in years. With the tenacity of the Big East, fouls are inevitable and Syracuse has a bench, with Scoop Jardine, Kris Joseph and Mookie Jones in particular making immediate contributions for a team already loaded. The ‘Cuse is 13-5 ATS playing against a team with a winning record this season.

A closer look reveals Wesley Johnson doesn't appear to be completely healthy from a couple of spills this month (10-35 shooting) and his game has lacked the explosiveness seen earlier. With opponents taking a wait and see attitude with Johnson, they've been shadowing Andy Rautins more and his shooting has been off. Compounding that problem, Syracuse guards have been less inclined to dump the ball down to the big guys in the paint. Add it up and a team averaging 80.8 points per game has scored 72 or less in four of its last five.

Coach John Thompson III has tried to develop a bench, with no success. Yes, sophomore guard Jesse Clark continues to improve and Georgetown (18-6, 11-9 ATS) might well become a very treacherous club to play in March with Austin Freeman, Greg Monroe, Chris Wright the principle scorers. Clark would make the Hoyas almost impossible to guard, likely giving them at least three bonafide scorers each contest with a fourth possible almost any time.

Georgetown is 9-24 ATS at home after playing consecutive games as favorite.

Though the Hoyas haven't won three in a row since Jan. 3, they haven't lost two in a row either and are 5-0 and 4-1 ATS off a loss, returning home after being upset by Rutgers 71-68 as 10.5-point favorites. In fact, G-Town is a sensational 8-0 SU after failing to cover with a 6-1 ATS record.

Sportsbook.com has Georgetown as two-point favorites, with total of 144 for this Big East battle and the Hoyas are 9-22 ATS in last 31 conference clashes while Syracuse boasts a 9-0 and 8-1 ATS mark away from the Carrier Dome this season.

These are two universities that helped make the Big East Conference nationally known in basketball and they have played oodles of memorable contests. The Jan. 25 meeting was noteworthy for its unusualness. The Hoyas opened up a 14-0 lead and slattern away the good fortune, being outscored 73-41 from that point forward.

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