When the Hoyas met the Orange last month, they came into the Dome with a case of schizophrenia, having knocked off Butler and UConn, but losing to the likes of Old Dominion and Marquette. After SU squashed an early but large hole dug by Austin Freeman, it’s been more of the same for Georgetown – a home loss to USF and a loss at the RAC, which hasn’t been anything close to the road environment it was in the days of Quincy Douby, but wins against a pair of top 10 teams in Duke and a sound victory over Villanova. Oh yeah, they also beat Pitt in their house, arguably the toughest place to notch a road win in college basketball.
If the season ended today, they’d be on the outside looking in at teams with favorable enough seeding to warrant a game close to campus. Since they haven’t won as many as four in a row since December, it would be hard for the selection committee to justify giving the Hoyas a trip to Providence or Buffalo, the two Northeastern sites for the opening rounds.
The Hoyas are something of a land mine, and the fact that they’ve dropped three of their last six coupled with a heated rival coming into town should be enough motivation for them to play well Thursday night, but as has been the case throughout the season, will the execution be there to match?
For Syracuse, while they may be undefeated on the road, they also have some major questions that need to be answered in the home stretch as they go on the road to DC and Providence:
When does Wes Johnson heal enough for him to return to his dominant form?
Will either of the point guards step up and become the floor general the team needs to succeed in March?
As half of SU’s bench (in a de facto sort of way), can Kris Joseph continue to be a stabilizing sixth man while dealing with nagging tendinitis?
The guards need to make sure Freeman and Chris Wright don’t get hot from outside, and if the bigs can neuter neutralize Greg Monroe as they did in January, it would go miles towards another important win for the ‘Cuse.
This team is a little dinged up, which has contributed to shaky performance as of late. Here’s to hoping SU gets its Ding King in a hurry.