We Are Georgetown: The semifinals, Georgetown vs. Syracuse, Round 3

DSC_0132Could there be a more perfect match-up?

Well, maybe if it were the finals, but that would be too perfect.

Could the stakes be any higher?

A shot at the Big East Tournament Championship.  A shot at a number-one seed in the NCAA Tournament (for the Hoyas).  Bragging rights at last Big East tournament at Madison Square Garden.  A chance for Georgetown to sweep the series against Syracuse this year.  Most importantly, a chance to end the Syracuse-Georgetown rivalry on top.

A more than 30-year Big East rivalry will officially end tonight at Madison Square.  No. 5 Georgetown (25-5, 14-4 Big East) will battle No. 19 Syracuse (25-8, 11-7 Big East) in the Big East semi-finals to decide who goes to the Big East Championship game.  Georgetown is 7-6 against Syracuse all-time in the Big East Tournament.

“It would be a great game,” sophomore Otto Porter Jr. said after Georgetown’s victory over Cincinnati. “I’m pretty sure they would a rematch against us.”

Those are wise words from the National Player of the Year Candidate. Syracuse most certainly would like a rematch since the Hoyas have embarrassed the Orange so far this year. First, on February 23, Georgetown visited a Carrier Dome full of 35,000 people rooting against them and left with a 57-46 triumph.  Two weeks later the Hoyas thumped the Orange 61-39 at the Verizon Center. It was Syracuse’s worst loss to Georgetown since 1985 and Syracuse’s lowest point total since 1962.

What has changed since Georgetown walloped Syracuse six days ago? The Orange have shown signs that they are getting out of their slump.  On Wednesday, Syracuse defeated Seton Hall 62-59 and then beat Pittsburgh 62-59 last night.  Over the past two games, senior forward James Southerland has looked liked the scorer everyone expected him to be.  He posted 20 points in both games and shot a sizzling 7-of-10 last night against Pittsburgh.  Against Seton Halll, sophomore guard Michael Carter-Williams set a Big East Tournament record with 14 assists.

The Hoyas are coming off yesterday’s 62-43 win over Cincinnati.  Even though Georgetown squandered a 16-point lead early in the second half, the team responded with suffocating defense.  The Blue and Gray had a balanced offense of Porter (18 points), junior guard Markel Starks (14 points), freshman guard D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera (13 points), and sophomore guard Jabril Trawick (9 points).

“We are going to go sit out there and watch,” head coach John Thompson III said before knowing Georgetown would play Syracuse. “Whoever wins, the head coach is going to be really nervous about playing against them.”

Tip-off is at 7 p.m.  Follow along on Twitter at @guvoicesports.  Winner goes to the Big East Championship Finals.

File Photo: Miles Gavin Meng/Georgetown Voice (Mar. 9, 2013)

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