The 11th-ranked Georgetown Hoyas look to be the first visitor to win at the Carrier Dome in some time, as they tangle with the No. 8 Syracuse Orange in the second to last regular season matchup between the two storied programs at members of the Big East Conference.
Syracuse currently has the longest home-winning streak in the nation at 38. The Orange have not lost at the Carrier Dome since Feb. 9, 2011, when the Hoyas, who were also No. 11 in the nation then, took control in the final four minutes to escape upstate New York with an eight-point win.
The Orange and Hoyas enter Saturday as part of a three-way tie for first place in the Big East standings with Marquette, as all three own 10-3 records in conference play.
Georgetown began its Big East slate with back-to-back losses to Marquette and Pitt, but it followed the poor start with 10 wins in 11 games. The Hoyas notched their eighth win in a row on Wednesday as they coasted to a 90-66 victory over DePaul in the Nation's Capital. Coach John Thompson III's squad is by no means an offensive juggernaut, as it is second to last in the conference in scoring with 65.3 ppg. However, it has managed to climb just outside the top 10 in the national polls by limiting its opposition to 56.1 ppg with very physical play on the defensive end.
Jim Boeheim's Orange went through a stretch where they lost three times in five games from Jan. 26 through Feb. 13, but they have regained their composure to notch double-digit victories in their past two outings. Syracuse is coming off of an impressive, 84-59, rout of Providence in which C.J. Fair and James Southerland netted 20 points apiece. Superstar sophomore guard Michael Carter-Williams also had a productive showing with 15 points, 12 assists and five rebounds. The Orange are leading the Big East in scoring with 75.2 ppg and also place fifth in the conference in scoring defense with only 59.3 points allowed per outing.
This will be the second to last regular season matchup between these programs as members of the Big East. They will meet against in the regular-season finale for both in Washington D.C. on March 9. The Orange are 48-39 in history against Georgetown after their 64-61 overtime victory in 2010-11's only meeting, which also took place at the Carrier Dome.
The Hoyas' scoring outburst against the Blue Demons is even more perplexing considering their star forward, Otto Porter, was limited to 20 minutes of action due to a sore knee. He still managed to produce 11 points, but freshman guard D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera stole the show by going 10-of-12 from the field en route to a career-high 33 points. Nate Lubick (15 points, eight rebounds) and Jabril Trawick (13 points) also made their mark in the scoring column while Markel Starks dealt out seven assists. Thanks the coming out party of its rookie guard, Georgetown connected on 63.5 percent of its field goal tries while its stifling defensive effort limited DePaul to 38.5 percent field goal efficiency.
Syracuse can be virtually impossible to defend at times due to its plethora of options on the offensive end. While Fair (14.3 ppg, 7.3 rpg), Southerland (13.8 ppg) and Carter-Williams (12.7 ppg) are all worthy of all-conference consideration, Brandon Triche paces the team with 14.9 ppg. Carter-Williams is the engine to Syracuse's operation as he not only serves as a scoring threat, but also deals out 8.2 assists per game to rank second among all Division I players.