Syracuse Orange at Georgetown Hoyas (-1, 121)
With all the turmoil surrounding Big East basketball, it seems fitting there is a regular-season finale between Syracuse and Georgetown with a title on the line. The fifth-ranked Hoyas can clinch at least a share of the crown and a possible No. 1 seed in the conference tournament when they host the 16th-ranked Orange on Saturday in the 89th meeting between the rivals, their last before Syracuse joins the ACC and Georgetown helps establish the new Big East with the rest of the Catholic 7.
The Hoyas lost a chance to clinch at least a share of the league title when they fell at Villanova on Wednesday, snapping an 11-game winning streak and falling into a tie with Louisville and Marquette, both of whom will play later Saturday. At the same time, Syracuse was in the process of ending its three-game slide with a 78-57 win over DePaul. The Orange enter in a three-way tie for fourth with Notre Dame and Pittsburgh, only one of which will earn the coveted two-day bye at the conference tournament in Madison Square Garden.
TV: 12 p.m. ET, ESPN.
ABOUT SYRACUSE (23-7, 11-6 Big East): During their three-game skid, all against ranked opponents, the Orange shot 39.5 percent from the floor and had more turnovers than assists. In bouncing back against the last-place Blue Demons, some of the offensive numbers remained ugly, or even worse. However, Syracuse's defense stepped up, forcing 18 turnovers, recording 12 blocks and posting a 47-38 advantage on the glass. James Southerland made all 11 of his free throws en route to 22 points, C.J. Fair added 16 and Brandon Triche chipped in 15.
ABOUT GEORGETOWN (23-5, 13-4): Star forward Otto Porter Jr. led the Hoyas with 17 points in the loss to Villanova. However, he was just 2-for-9 from 3-point range and contributed to the sloppy performance from Georgetown, which had a season-high 22 turnovers. Even more glaring was the massive discrepancy at the free-throw line, where the Hoyas had 34 fewer attempts (42-8) than the Wildcats. Head coach John Thompson III indicated his team was not lacking in motivation. "We needed this game, also," he told reporters. "We're playing for a championship. That's something just as important. We were desperate coming into this game, also."
* Orange are 1-4 ATS in their last five road games.
* Hoyas are 6-1 ATS in their last seven home games.
* Under is 4-0 in Orange’s last four vs. a team with a winning S.U. record.
* Road team is 6-0 ATS in the last six meetings.
1. According to Elias, the last time a top-5 team took at least 30 fewer free throws than its opponent was March 1, 2008, when Texas Tech took 43 foul shots, compared to 13 for No. 5 Texas.
2. Due to two wire-to-wire efforts and a double-overtime game, Porter is averaging 42 minutes over his last four games. He had 33 of Georgetown's 57 points in a win at Syracuse on Feb. 23.
3. Triche has missed 12 straight 3-pointers.