Syracuse vs. Georgetown: 3 Keys to the Big East Tournament Showdown

Tyson AgbayaniCorrespondent IMarch 15, 2013

WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 9:  Otto Porter Jr. #22 of the Georgetown Hoyas dribbles by James Southerland #43 of the Syracuse Orange during a college basketball game on March 9, 2013 at the Verizon Center in Washington, DC.  The Hoyas won 61-39.  (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)
Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

The No. 19 Syracuse Orange and the No. 5 Georgetown Hoyas are set to square off for the third time this season, as the two will be battling in Friday's Big East Semifinal. 

Both previous matchups were won by the Hoyas in convincing fashion, as they beat Orange by a combined average of 17.5 points.

The Orange will no doubt be looking to get revenge against the Hoyas on Friday and that should prove to make this year's semifinal game a good one. 

With Friday's showdown set, let's take a look at three keys of the game that could potentially decide who will be moving on in this year's Big East Tournament.


Outside Shooting

In the two previous matchups this season, the Hoyas have dominated the battle from outside, hitting a combined 16-of-47 three-point attempts compared to Syracuse's 5-of-31. While the Hoyas have shot a decent combined percentage of 34 percent, the Orange have struggled, shooting a dismal 16 percent from behind the arc in the two contests.

If the Hoyas are able hit their average of eight three-pointers against Syracuse and force them to shoot a bad percentage from downtown again, the Orange could fall for the third time.




Syracuse has been one of the better rebounding teams in the nation this season, but they haven't shown it against Georgetown. In the Hoyas first win against the Orange, they were able to keep pace by grabbing 30 rebounds compared to the Orange's 32. While the Orange were able to win the rebounding battle the first time around, they failed to control the boards in the second meeting, grabbing five rebounds less than Georgetown's 29.

On paper, the Orange are the better rebounding team as the rank 22nd in the nation with 38.7 rebounds per game compared to the Hoyas' 252nd ranking of 32.8 rebounds per game. If the Orange are able to assert their dominance on the boards in a big way this time around, they could come away with the victory. 


Which James Southerland Will Show Up?

 Senior forward James Southerland could be the X-factor in Friday's game that could sway the outcome between the two teams. In Southerland's first matchup against the Hoyas this season, he had a solid performance off the bench, putting up 13 points and 7 rebounds in 34 minutes. While Southerland was able to have himself a great performance the first time around, in the second matchup he disappointed, shooting 0-8 from the field leaving him with just one point on the game.  

Southerland has been averaging 15.2 points and 6.2 rebounds in his last five games and will need to put up this kind of average if he wants to lead his team to victory.