Fifth-ranked Georgetown and No. 20 Syracuse will renew one of the country's most meaningful rivalries for the last time as conference foes Friday when the top-seeded Hoyas attempt to defeat the fifth-seeded Orange in the semifinals of the Big East tournament at Madison Square Garden. Georgetown will remain in the new-look Big East while Syracuse will join the ACC next season, ending a conference run that saw the two schools combine for 20 regular-season titles and 12 tournament crowns since the league was formed in 1980.
The Hoyas ended the Orange's 38-game home winning streak on Feb. 23 during their 11-game winning streak and held Syracuse to its lowest scoring total since 1962 in Saturday's 61-39 rout. After defeating Cincinnati 62-43 in the quarterfinals, Georgetown will seek its 14th victory in 15 games against the Orange. Syracuse managed its second victory in as many days with Thursday's 62-59 triumph over Pittsburgh. Friday's winner will meet face either No. 4 Louisville or Notre Dame in Saturday's championship game.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, ESPN
ABOUT SYRACUSE (25-8): James Southerland (14.1 points) is coming off consecutive 20-point games and has been remarkable beyond the arc in the Orange's two tournament wins, connecting on 12 of his 15 3-point attempts - including all six Thursday. The scoring punch the senior forward has provided has ignited an offense that struggled at times near the end of the season, particularly against Georgetown. Syracuse finished the regular season shooting 31.3 percent beyond the arc, but is 21-for-34 (58.8 percent) at this event. The Orange's top-10 field-goal percentage defense held Pittsburgh to 37.5 percent shooting, one game after Seton Hall became the first Syracuse opponent to shoot better than 50 percent.
ABOUT GEORGETOWN (25-5): Big East Player of the Year Otto Porter (16.4 points) had a rare poor shooting performance Thursday, but made up for his 3-for-9 effort by connecting on all 11 of his free throws for the Hoyas, who advanced to the semifinals for the 21st time in program history. The few times Porter has struggled, Markel Starks (12.5) and D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera (9.2) have generally stepped up. Georgetown's guard duo is averaging 26.2 points during Georgetown's 13-1 stretch. They have been particularly effective from the 3-point line over the last seven games, combining to hit 35 of their 76 attempts (46.1 percent).
1. Georgetown is 15-1 as the top seed in the Big East tournament, suffering its only loss against West Virginia in 2010.
2. Syracuse shot a combined 5-for-31 beyond the arc in the first two meetings.
3. The Hoyas have held the Orange to an average of 42.5 points - 31.5 points fewer than Syracuse's average against every other opponent.
PREDICTION: Georgetown 61, Syracuse 57