Free Sports Picks: College Basketball Thursday Night
by Nicholas Tolomeo - 2/18/2010
A double dose of Big East action is on the college basketball schedule Thursday night with an ESPN doubleheader starting at 7 p.m. with a showdown of Top 10 teams in the nation’s capital between Syracuse and Georgetown and then No. 21 Pitt hits the road against Marquette who is fighting for its tournament life.
No. 5 Syracuse (24-2) at No. 10 Georgetown (18-6), 7 p.m. ET, ESPN2
How They Enter
Both Big East powers enter this showdown reeling from stunning upsets. It’s tough to figure out which upset was bigger. Syracuse, 24-1 before the game, lost at home, 66-60, to Louisville. Georgetown’s upset loss was on the road, but it was to Rutgers and the Hoyas were 10.5-point favorites. It was Syracuse’s first loss since Jan. 2 while Georgetown was upset as a double-digit favorite for the second time in four games.
Georgetown has shown the ability to knock off anyone it plays this season; it owns wins over Villanova, Duke, Pitt and Connecticut but has also losses to Rutgers, South Florida and Old Dominion. The last time these two teams met, Syracuse won going away, 73-56, in the Carrier Dome. Syracuse made it to the free throw line 28 times compared to just 11 trips for Georgetown. It outrebounded the Hoyas by nine and blocked eight shots but it was their ability to draw fouls that proved to be the difference.
Trends That Matter
Home team is 4-0 ATS in the last four meetings between these two teams
Syracuse is 6-1 ATS in the last seven games against Georgetown
Georgetown is 5-1 ATS coming off a SU loss (Syracuse is 4-0 ATS coming off a SU loss)
Syracuse is 7-1 ATS in its last eight road games (Georgetown is 4-1 ATS in its last five home games)
The Orange dominated this matchup the last time but that was mostly because they were sent to the free throw line 28 times. There will not be a discrepancy like that this time and Georgetown has shown the ability to rise to the occasion against ranked teams. The pick is Georgetown giving the points.
No. 21 Pitt (19-6) at Marquette (16-8), 9 p.m. ET, ESPN2
How They Enter
Pitt has had almost a full week to recover from a bruising three-overtime 98-95 win over rival West Virginia at home while Marquette has rebounded from a slow start to conference play to win five straight games including a 70-68 win at Connecticut at the end of January.
Marquette is the best three-point shooting team in the conference (42.3 percent) and second best in the nation. The only post presence the Golden Eagles have is from Lazar Hayward, but he is very productive, scoring 18.6 points per game and adding 8.1 rebounds per game. Pitt has been getting it done with its defense but it has four guards, Ashton Gibbs, Brad Wanamaker, Gilbert Brown and Jermaine Dixon, who can all average double figures in points per game. Their weakness is inside but Gary McGhee has come a long way since the beginning of the season.
Trends That Matter
Pitt is 5-1 ATS in their last six games as an underdog, 4-1 ATS in their last five games as a road underdog
Pitt is 1-2 ATS and 0-3 SU in its last three road games
Marquette is 5-1 ATS in their last six games (all were Big East games)
Marquette is 5-1 ATS in their last six games as a home favorite
The same Pitt team who won three consecutive Big East road games against Syracuse, Cincinnati and Connecticut has struggled mightily on the road losing at Seton Hall and South Florida and getting blown out at West Virginia. The pick is Marquette giving the points.