The 2013 Big East tournament is winding to a close, as there are just three games still to be played. Two of those are taking place Friday night, as the Syracuse Orange go up against the Georgetown Hoyas, and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish take on the Louisville Cardinals for a spot in the tourney finals.
These contests promise to be some of the more thrilling battles in the event and could definitely go either way. However, we’re here to help you pick some winners and try to identify which schools will advance to compete for the Big East postseason crown.
Let’s take a closer look at each matchup.
No. 5 Syracuse vs. No. 1 Georgetown, 7 p.m. ET, ESPN
It’s not a surprise to see either of these prestigious programs contending for a spot in the championship game. Unfortunately, it’s going to be the last time they meet up in Big East play.
‘Cuse is all set to make the leap to the ACC after the 2012-13 campaign wraps up, a sad end to this longtime rivalry that has been one of the best in college basketball over the last 15 years or so.
Things have been a bit one-sided this year, with the Hoyas winning the first meeting at the Carrier Dome on Feb. 23, 57-46, and following that up with 61-39 shellacking of the Orange at home on March 9 in the season finale.
However, the third time will be a charm for coach Jim Boeheim and his boys, as we predict they will finally earn a much-needed victory over Georgetown.
The Orange are firing on all cylinders at the right time, navigating past Seton Hall and Pittsburgh to set up this anticipated rematch.
Star point guard Michael Carter-Williams is once again living up to his tremendous upside—setting up teammates and getting his jumper to fall. C.J. Fair and Brandon Triche are bombing away at a good percentage, while James Southerland is absolutely unconscious from long range during the tournament.
It’s going to be tough to get those same shots to fall against a tough Hoyas defense, led by star swingman Otto Porter, but the resolve of Syracuse will be on display come Friday night, and we don’t see their shooters cooling off anytime soon.
Syracuse 64 – Georgetown 62
No. 6 Notre Dame vs. No. 2 Louisville, 9:30 p.m. ET, ESPN
Which team will win?
This will be the second showdown between these two Big East powerhouses in six days and the third meeting of the 2012-13 campaign.
We doubt it will be more epic than the five-overtime-period thriller that took place on Feb. 9—in which the Irish narrowly won, 104-101—but think it will be closer than the 73-57 shellacking that Louisville delivered in the regular-season finale.
Because of the familiarity between the foes, we expect a back-and-forth affair that may not be decided until late in the second half. The matchup to watch will be in the paint, as Notre Dame’s Jack Cooley will try to get going against Louisville’s stud center Gorgui Dieng.
Dieng definitely won the battle in the last one, scoring 20 points, grabbing 11 boards, blocking five shots and recording three steals in 33 minutes of play. Cooley was limited to seven points, seven rebounds and a block in 21 minutes.
We believe that Dieng and the rest of Louisville simply have the Irish’s number and will be able to use their superior strength and athleticism in the post to come away with the victory.
Louisville 68 – Notre Dame 62