Syracuse Orange vs. Georgetown Hoyas (-2, 115)
No. 5 Georgetown and No. 20 Syracuse will renew one of the country’s most meaningful rivalries for the last time as conference foes Friday when the top-seeded Hoyas attempt to defeat the fifth-seeded Orange in the semifinals of the Big East tournament at Madison Square Garden. Georgetown will remain in the new-look Big East while Syracuse will join the ACC next season, ending a conference run that saw the two schools combine for 20 regular-season titles and 12 tournament crowns since the league was formed in 1980.
The Hoyas ended the Orange’s 38-game home winning streak on Feb. 23 during their 11-game winning streak and held Syracuse to its lowest scoring total since 1962 in last Saturday’s 61-39 rout. After defeating Cincinnati 62-43 in the quarterfinals, Georgetown will seek its 14th victory in 15 games against the Orange. Syracuse managed its second victory in as many days with Thursday’s 62-59 triumph over Pittsburgh. Friday’s winner will meet face either No. 4 Louisville or Notre Dame in Saturday’s championship game.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, ESPN
ABOUT SYRACUSE (25-8, 16-13-0 ATS): James Southerland (14.1 points) is coming off consecutive 20-point games and has been remarkable beyond the arc in the Orange’s two tournament wins, connecting on 12 of his 15 3-point attempts – including all six Thursday. The scoring punch the senior forward has provided has ignited an offense that struggled at times near the end of the season, particularly against Georgetown. Syracuse finished the regular season shooting 31.3 percent beyond the arc, but is 21-for-34 (58.8 percent) at this event. The Orange’s top-10 field-goal percentage defense held Pittsburgh to 37.5 percent shooting, one game after Seton Hall became the first Syracuse opponent to shoot over 50 percent.
ABOUT GEORGETOWN (25-5, 16-10-0 ATS): Big East Player of the Year Otto Porter (16.4 points) had a rare poor shooting performance Thursday, but made up for his 3-for-9 effort by connecting on all 11 of his free throws for the Hoyas, who advanced to the semifinals for the 21st time in program history. The few times Porter has struggled, Markel Starks (12.5) and D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera (9.2) have generally stepped up. Georgetown’s guard duo is averaging 26.2 points during Georgetown’s 13-1 stretch. They have been particularly effective from the 3-point line over the last seven games, combining to hit 35 of their 76 attempts (46.1 percent).
* Hoyas are 9-1 ATS in their last 10 games following a ATS win.
* Under is 5-0 in Orange’s last five vs. a team with a winning S.U. record.
* Under is 5-0 in the last five meetings.
1. Georgetown is 15-1 as the top seed in the Big East tournament, suffering its only loss against West Virginia in 2010.
2. Syracuse shot a combined 5-for-31 beyond the arc in the first two meetings.
3. The Hoyas have held the Orange to an average of 42.5 points – 31.5 points fewer than Syracuse’s average against every other opponent.
Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs. Louisville Cardinals (-9, 125)
Notre Dame has reached the semifinals of the Big East tournament in each of the past three seasons, only to see its hopes of making the championship game dashed by Louisville in the last two. The teams will vie for a title-game appearance at this event for the third straight season Friday when they meet at Madison Square Garden. The sixth-seeded Fighting Irish and second-seeded Cardinals have delivered their fair share of thrilling games in recent years, with five of the last seven and six of the past nine matchups decided in overtime.
One of those overtime games was a Louisville victory in the semifinals of the 2011 Big East tournament while the most recent one was a five-overtime marathon in which the Irish outlasted the Cardinals on Feb. 9. Louisville hasn’t lost since, winning eight straight – seven by double figures – while Notre Dame is 7-3 since claiming victory in the longest game in Big East regular-season history. Friday’s winner will meet face either No. 5 Georgetown or No. 20 Syracuse in Saturday’s championship game.
TV: 9 p.m. ET, ESPN
ABOUT NOTRE DAME (25-8, 16-14-0 ATS): Pat Connaughton (9 points), who hit six of his 10 3-point attempts in Thursday’s quarterfinal win over Marquette, is 12-for-18 beyond the arc in two Big East tournament games. The sophomore guard has performed admirably in the two earlier matchups against the Cardinals, shooting 9-for-11 beyond the arc and averaging 14.5 points and 10 rebounds. All-Big East selection Jack Cooley (13 points, 10.4 rebounds) was in foul trouble for the third straight game Thursday and was bailed out by Garrick Sherman’s 16 points off the bench. Cooley is averaging five points and 23.3 minutes during his slump.
ABOUT LOUISVILLE (27-5, 18-14-0 ATS): Leading scorer Russ Smith (18.3 points) fought through an ankle injury and posted 28 points in the Cardinals’ quarterfinal win over Villanova, an inspired performance hours after he learned that his high school coach – Archbishop Molloy’s Jack Curran – died at the age of 82. Louisville forced 25 turnovers against Villanova, but a more telling statistic of the defensive domination may have been the 58 deflections Louisville’s assistant coaches charted, a total coach Rick Pitino stated was a record for one of his teams - college or pro. The Cardinals finished with 12 steals, with seven players collecting at least one and four players tallying at least two.
* Over is 9-1 in the last 10 meetings.
* Fighting Irish are 4-0 ATS in their last four neutral site games.
* Cardinals are 5-0 ATS in their last five games overall.
* Over is 4-1 in Fighting Irish's last five overall.
1. Louisville has outscored opponents by an average of 15.9 points during its winning streak.
2. Notre Dame is seeking its first Big East tournament title game.
3. With 229 career steals, the Cardinals’ Peyton Siva needs two more to set a school record.