Syracuse will play its final Power 6 non-conference game on Saturday afternoon (12:00 p.m. ET / FOX) against Georgetown. Ahead of the game, The Juice Online’s Brad Bierman and Adam Robinson give their predictions below.
BRAD BIERMAN: Since the turn to the 2000s, Syracuse and Georgetown have failed to meet only two seasons (2013-14, 2014-15) as the ‘Cuse got its feet wet in the ACC, going from two games (or more) each year, to the present continuation of the rivalry in the form of an annual home-and-home series game each December that makes sense for both programs.
During that span SU has won 18 of the 30 games, with Jim Boeheim besting Patrick Ewing (and Louis Orr) in the last two close meetings that went to overtime in D.C. in 2017 and last year’s 72-71 Orange squeaker in the Dome.
This year there’s been early upheaval with both programs for contrasting reasons. Georgetown (6-3, 0-0) has had to dismiss and discipline players on the roster in addition to trying to win on the court, while Syracuse (5-4, 1-1) has been searching for an identity through nine games, tantalizing Orange Nation with just how good the team can play when connecting on three-point bombs in last weekend’s demolition of Georgia Tech.
It’s been a week off for both teams, Georgetown had a most impressive two-game southwest road sweep of Oklahoma State and SMU, in addition to SU’s first ACC win in Atlanta.
From a matchup perspective, Hoyas big man Omer Yurtseven will provide a challenge underneath for Syracuse, and guards Jahvon Blair and Mac McClung combined for 40-points in the win over SMU. It figures that that duo will dual with ‘Cuse shooters Elijah Hughes and Buddy Boeheim who both had career-highs against the Yellow Jackets.
In a great atmosphere at Capital One Arena where there will be plenty of “Let’s Go Orange” chanting, a late basket by Blair sneaks the Hoyas past the Orange 81-80.
ADAM ROBINSON: Sportsbooks were fading the Hoyas after the team lost two of its top-five scorers to transfer last week, but Georgetown went on the road as underdogs to blast both Oklahoma State and SMU. As a result, the projection model at Torvik has the spread at about 4.5 points in favor of the Hoyas, with the moneyline potentially being in the +170/-195 range.
It’ll be worth seeing where those odds actually open, so keep an eye on this page for when they’re available, because Patrick Ewing’s team hasn’t just survived these transfers: they’ve continued to maintain a highly efficient offense despite the unexpected roster shake-up.
None of that seemed to affect the Hoyas in a near wire-to-wire win over SMU last Saturday. The Hoyas jumped out to a 20-2 lead seven minutes into the game, and led by at least 15 the entire second half. Mac McClung, coming off 33 points against Oklahoma State (which previously torched Syracuse in the NIT Season Tip-Off), continued his solid play this season with 19 points. Jahvon Blair added 21 points, including four 3-pointers in the second half.
With Blair and McClung playing at a high level, I anticipate a 81-78 win for the Hoyas in what will hopefully be an entertaining back and forth game.