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Game Preview: Georgetown vs Syracuse

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NCAA Basketball: Syracuse at Georgetown Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Game 11: Georgetown Hoyas (6-4) vs Syracuse Orange (6-3)

Series: Syracuse leads 48-42, last met in 2015

Where/When: Carrier Dome, Saturday at noon

TV: ESPN

Line: Orange -8

KenPom: Syracuse 75-66, 77 percent

This is the game you circled on your non-conference calendar as soon as the schedule came out as Georgetown and Syracuse meet for just the second time since the Orange left the BIG EAST. Apparently losing to Wake Forest despite being given all of the plays before the game was more appealing than being in the best basketball conference of all time.

The game sounds awesome on paper and to my younger self but does it still have that feel? The only Hoya to have experienced the unique northern charm of the Carrier Dome is Bradley Hayes and that’s only on a technicality as he received a fifth-year at the last minute. The buzz seems low.

Well, there’s a reason for that as both teams are off to meh starts.

This point is best illustrated by the fact that for the first time since 2002 – a string of 22 straight games - neither the Hoyas nor Orange enter the game ranked. Both teams had been ranked in ten of the past 12 matchups.

That was the second best run in the rivalry’s history. The only period to best it came during the stretch between 1983 and 1993 when the two met 27 straight times with at least one school ranked. During that incredible stretch both schools met as ranked opponents 23 times. That’s a damn good run and that’s exactly how you end up really hating somebody even though they are located in all the way up in Southern Canada.

The way to fix it?

Simply stated, Georgetown needs to go back to being Georgetown. That fixes a lot of things right? Well Rodney Pryor and LJ Peak will have a lot to say about that in front of 35,000 people on Saturday afternoon. A victory in the Dome could go a long way towards turning the season and with it, the rivalry, around.

Getting to know the Orange

Good news for Syracuse is that, unlike last season, Jim Boeheim is eligible to sit on the sidelines. Last season he was suspended for not being in control of his program. So far Syracuse’s best win is over Monmouth. Yes, I know we shouldn’t be throwing stones over that but I’m still going to do so.

Frank Howard is a local kid that is doing well in his sophomore season, controlling things for the Orange by averaging nearly seven assists per game. Much like the Hoyas, Syracuse is benefitting greatly by a grad transfer. Andrew White is leading the Orange with just under 17 points per contest. Tyler Lydon is putting up similar numbers as last season despite shooting a dip in his shooting numbers.

Hoyas

What to Watch:

Dome Sweet Dome: After losing in his first five trips to the Carrier Dome, JT3 and the Hoyas have taken two of their last three in Syracuse.

Replacing Ike: It had seemed as though something odd was happening with Isaac Copeland’s minutes and after not playing in the LaSalle game, the junior decided to dip.

“It was shocking but Isaac’s gonna make what’s best for him and his family and we’re going to support that,” said Pryor on Thursday afternoon. “We’re confident with the group of guys we’ve got in the locker room. It’s sad that he can’t be a part of what we got going but there’s no hard feelings.”

Copeland had 14 points in 36 minutes last season in the victory over the Orange. Georgetown will need Marcus Derrickson to be healthy the rest of the season to offset this loss.

Money Mosely: After starting the his career making just 1 of his first 12 shots from deep – including an 0 for 6 performance against Arkansas State – Jagan Mosely was on first in Miami. Mosely had a season best 14 points thanks to going 3 of 4 from long distance.

“Jagan can make shots,” said JT3.

“He does a very good job in taking the shots he should take. When it goes in like it did down in Miami against LaSalle that makes everything else easier as he’s making things easier for everyone else.”

The Hoyas are going to need either Tre Campbell or Mosely to make shots against that Syracuse zone.

No Pryor no Problem: With Pryor in foul trouble in the first half against LaSalle, JT3 and the Hoyas had to turn elsewhere for their offense. Luckily for the Hoyas, LJ Peak is more than capable of carrying the load

“I think LJ Peak is playing at a really high level right now,” JT3 said on Thursday.

“That play he made to end the first half where he blocks the shot at one end and flies down the court and makes a tough, tough layup that’s one indication he’s playing at a high level right now. If Rodney gets in foul trouble we just roll to LJ for the rest of the half.”

Just to be clear, Georgetown needs both Pryor and Peak to be out of foul trouble on Saturday.

Reason to be delusional: You saw Bradley Hayes manhandle the Orange last season. This could be just the game that gets him going especially since he probably won’t get a sixth year.

Reason to be cynical: Unfortunately Mike Hopkins isn’t coaching this time around and Boeheim’s whining is probably worth a few points every game from the line and despite what the guys in Vegas think, that might just be enough to tilt this one.

Prediction: Marcus Derrickson and Jessie Govan are the kind of bigs that can kill Syracuse with their shooting. Akoy Agau will need to continue his unexpected form from the free throw line. Hoyas 66, Orange 62