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No. 5 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 last 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 over 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).
* Hoyas are 9-1 ATS in their last 10 games following a ATS win.
* Under is 5-0 in Orange’s last five vs. a team with a winning S.U. record.
* Under is 5-0 in the last five meetings.
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.
Boston College Eagles vs. Miami Hurricanes (-7.5, 126)
After a 2-3 finish to the regular season, Miami has a chance to regain some confidence at the ACC tournament in Greensboro, N.C. The top-seeded Hurricanes will face Olivier Hanlan and Boston College in the quarterfinals on Friday. Miami clinched its first outright ACC title by beating Clemson 62-49 on Saturday, playing better defense and dominating the glass. Sophomore point guard Shane Larkin, a first-team all-conference pick, leads the way for the balanced and experienced Hurricanes.
Miami will have to be alert defensively against Hanlan, the ACC Freshman of the Year who scored 41 in the first-round victory over Georgia Tech on Thursday. Hanlan has averaged just over 20 points in the last eight games and the Eagles have won four straight. Boston College took the Hurricanes to the wire before losing at home 60-59 on Jan. 16 and dropped a 72-50 decision at Miami on Feb. 5.
* Eagles are 1-4 ATS in the last five meetings.
* Over is 4-1 in Hurricanes’ last five overall.
* Over is 6-0 in Eagles’ last six neutral site games.
NC State Wolfpack vs. Virginia Cavaliers (+1.5, 125)
With victories over Duke, North Carolina, Tennessee and Wisconsin, among others, Virginia appears to be in decent shape for an at-large NCAA bid, but another quality win would allow for more restful sleep. The fourth-seeded Cavaliers could gain that with a victory over North Carolina State in the ACC tournament quarterfinals on Friday at Greensboro, N.C. Virginia rallied to defeat the Wolfpack 58-55 at home on Jan. 29, getting 22 points from first-team all-conference selection Joe Harris. The Cavaliers led the conference in scoring defense during the regular season and North Carolina State was second in offense.
The Wolfpack look to be headed to the NCAA Tournament as well, but would like to build momentum with a run to the final. North Carolina State has five players averaging in double figures scoring and senior forward Richard Howell has probably made the biggest impact with 17 double-doubles.
* Underdog is 4-1 ATS in the last five meetings.
* Wildcats are 0-5 ATS in their last five Thursday games.
* Under is 7-0 in Buffaloes’ last seven games following a win.
Duke Blue Devils vs. Maryland Terrapins (Odds N/A)
Second-seeded Duke should feel at home against Maryland in Friday's quarterfinals of the ACC tournament in Greensboro, N.C. The No. 2 Blue Devils have won nine straight conference tournament games and three of their league-leading 19 tournament titles at the Greensboro Coliseum. Duke is 18-0 with senior forward Ryan Kelly in the lineup, including its last three regular-season games.
The seventh-seeded Terrapins, who beat Wake Forest 75-62 in Thursday's opening round, upset a Kelly-less Duke 83-81 on Feb. 16. Sophomore guard Dez Wells continued his hot streak with a game-high 21 points against the Demon Deacons. The Blue Devils are 11-7 in ACC tournament games against Maryland.
* Blue Devils are 6-0 ATS in their last six neutral site games.
* Terrapins are 1-5 ATS in the last six meetings.
* Under is 4-0 in Blue Devils’ last four Friday games.
Florida State Seminoles vs. North Carolina Tar Heels (Odds N/A)
North Carolina hopes to continue its success in Greensboro, N.C., when it takes on Florida State in the ACC tournament quarterfinals on Friday. The third-seeded Tar Heels are 115-30 all-time in Greensboro and have won eight of their 17 tournament titles there. North Carolina finished the regular season winning six of seven, including a 79-58 victory against Florida State on March 3.
The sixth-seeded Seminoles beat Clemson 73-69 in Thursday's opening round and have won three straight since that loss to the Tar Heels. The defending tournament champs were led by junior forward Okaro White, who is shooting 61.3 percent during his last 10 games. The Tar Heels are 4-2 against Florida State in ACC tournament play.
* Tar Heels are 7-1 ATS in their last eight games overall.
* Under is 6-0 in Tar Heels’ last six overall.
* Underdog is 4-1 ATS in the last five meetings.
Indiana Hoosiers vs. Illinois Fighting Illini (-9.5, 137)
Top-seeded Indiana begins its attempt to win the Big Ten tournament when it plays eighth-seeded Illinois in Friday’s quarterfinals in Chicago. The No. 3 Hoosiers had a first-round bye while the Fighting Illini outlasted Minnesota 51-49 on Thursday. Illinois notched an electric 74-72 win over then-No. 1 Indiana on Feb. 7 when it ended the game with a 13-2 run and won on Tyler Griffey’s layup at the buzzer. The Hoosiers have never won the Big Ten tourney.
Indiana will earn a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament if it emerges as the tournament champion and maybe even if it doesn’t. Still, the Hoosiers are placing a do-or-die spin on the tournament. “I think we just need to take it one game at a time and treat each game like it’s your last,” junior guard Victor Oladipo said. “It’s win or go home.” Illinois senior guard Brandon Paul put on a show against Minnesota by scoring 25 points and draining the game-winning 15-footer at the buzzer. “I saw I had some space, so I let the shot go with the buzzer winding down,” Paul said.
* Under is 6-1 in Fighting Illini’s last seven overall.
* Fighting Illini are 1-5 ATS in their last six games overall.
* Hoosiers are 1-4 ATS in their last five neutral site games.
Wisconsin Badgers vs. Michigan Wolverines (-3, 125)
Fifth-seeded Michigan has the hardest road of the five elite Big Ten programs in the conference tournament and the No. 8 Wolverines face a tough barrier in No. 23 Wisconsin in Friday’s quarterfinals in Chicago. Michigan defeated Penn State in its first-round game while the well-rested Badgers had a bye as one of top four finishers in the regular season. Fourth-seeded Wisconsin has won 11 of the past 12 meetings, including an overtime victory in the lone meeting this season.
The Badgers lost two of their last three regular-season contests and needed a miracle buzzer-beating 3-point shot by sophomore guard Traevon Jackson to beat Penn State in the regular-season finale. Wisconsin last won the Big Ten tournament in 2008, ending a stretch in which it reached the championship game four times in five seasons. The Wolverines fell behind 14-3 early in the contest against Penn State before dominating the second half and winning 83-66. Michigan tied the Big Ten tournament record by committing only four turnovers to lower their conference-best average to 9.2.
* Wolverines are 4-0 ATS in their last four neutral site games.
* Underdog is 7-1 ATS in the last eight meetings.
* Under is 6-1 in the last seven meetings.
Nebraska Cornhuskers vs. Ohio State Buckeyes (Odds N/A)
Ohio State has played in five of the past seven Big Ten tournament title games and the No. 9 Buckeyes begin their pursuit of another appearance when they face 10th-seeded Nebraska in Friday’s quarterfinals in Chicago. Second-seeded Ohio State won the crown in 2007, 2010 and 2011 and lost in the championship game in 2006 and 2009. The Cornhuskers edged Purdue in Thursday’s opening round, but dropped both regular-season meetings against the Buckeyes.
Nebraska first-year coach Tim Miles is in the midst of setting a foundation for a program that was predicted to finish last in the 12-team league and face a quick exit in the tourney. “We were picked dead last by everybody but my mom,” Miles said after the Purdue victory. “We at least outperformed that expectation. Sometimes you got to creep to crawl to walk to run.” The Buckeyes are on the other side of the scale and looking to earn a high seed in the NCAA Tournament. “There is a lot more basketball left,” junior forward Deshaun Thomas said. “I am trying to enjoy myself and get to the Final Four.”
* Under is 5-0 in Buckeyes' last five overall.
* Buckeyes are 4-1 ATS in their last five games overall.
* Under is 3-0-1 in Cornhuskers' last four vs. a team with a winning S.U. record.
New Mexico Lobos vs. San Diego State Aztecs (-2, 131)
Steve Alford's top-seeded Lobos survived a dismal offensive performance in their Mountain West Conference tournament opener. No. 14 New Mexico, which went over 11 minutes without hitting a field goal in a win over Wyoming, hopes for better production when it meets fourth-seeded San Diego State in the semifinals at Las Vegas on Friday night.
The Aztecs, who split a pair of regular-season games with New Mexico, may have popped Boise State's bubble in Wednesday's quarterfinals. Once ranked nationally, San Diego State would like a bit of revenge in this game. The two teams met in the MWC tournament title game last season, with New Mexico winning 68-59.
TV: 9 p.m. ET, CBS Sports Network.
ABOUT SAN DIEGO STATE (22-9): The Aztecs have had a hard time getting on a roll in the second half of the season. They've won eight of their last 15 games after opening the year 14-2. While they still appear to be a lock for an NCAA Tournament berth, they would enhance their seeding dramatically with a tourney title. The Aztecs have plenty of star power in Jamaal Franklin and Chase Tapley and a strong RPI of 28. They also hammered New Mexico 55-34 earlier in the season. Franklin, viewed as a potential lottery pick in the upcoming NBA draft, scored 19 points and grabbed eight rebounds in San Diego State's last outing. SDSU is 5-3 in its last eight games against New Mexico.
ABOUT NEW MEXICO (27-5): The Lobos won the regular season-title for the second straight year and Alford was named the conference's coach of the year. Kendall Williams, who won MWC Player of the Year honors, was limited to six points in Wednesday's 59-46 win over Wyoming. But the Lobos won with strong defense, holding the Cowboys to 32 percent shooting in front of a large fan base who made the trip to Las Vegas. "I guess in the eyes of the beholder of what's pretty and ugly, in March, when you win by 13 -- to me -- it's pretty," Alford said. Australian Cameron Bairstow led the Lobos with 14 points and eight rebounds as he filled in for Alex Kirk, who was saddled with foul trouble most of the game. New Mexico has won seven of its last eight games.
* Aztecs are 1-4 ATS in their last five games overall.
* Favorite is 4-0 ATS in the last four meetings.
* Over is 5-0 in Aztecs’ last five Friday games.
1. The top four seeds all won their openers Wednesday.
2. New Mexico has won the MWC tournament title twice.
3. Aztec Xavier Thames has scored in double figures in four of his last five games and appears to be nearly 100 percent after injuring his back.
Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament
Quarterfinals at Barclays Center, Brooklyn, NY
Butler vs. La Salle: TOO CLOSE TO CALL
Saint Louis 72, Charlotte 60
Temple 81, Massachusetts 75
Vcu 72, Saint Joseph's 66
Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament
Quarterfinals at Greensboro Coliseum, Greensboro, NC
NC State 67, Virginia 64
North Carolina 77, Florida State 65
Duke 78, Maryland 65
Miami (Fla.) 67, Boston College 62
Big 12 Conference Tournament
Semifinals at Sprint Center, Kansas City, MO
Kansas 81, Iowa State 74
Kansas State 69, Oklahoma State 67
Big East Conference Tournament
Semifinals at Madison Square Garden, New York, NY
Georgetown 60, Syracuse 55
Louisville 67, Notre Dame 59
Big Sky Conference Tournament
Semifinals at Dahlberg Arena, Missoula, MT
MONTANA 76, Northern Colorado 67
Weber State 75, North Dakota 62
Big Ten Conference Tournament
Quarterfinals at United Center, Chicago, IL
Indiana 72, Illinois 63
Michigan State 65, Iowa 61
Michigan 62, Wisconsin 61
Ohio State 64, Nebraska 51
Big West Conference Tournament
Semifinals at Honda Center, Anaheim, CA
Cal Poly 62, Pacific 61
UC Irvine vs. Long Beach State: TOO CLOSE TO CALL
Conference USA Tournament
Semifinals at BOK Center, Tulsa, OK
Memphis 78, Tulsa 67
Southern Miss 66, Utep 64
Great West Conference Tournament
Semifinals at Jones Convocation Center, Chicago, IL
Njit 69, Houston Baptist 65
Texas-Pan American vs. CHICAGO STATE: TOO CLOSE TO CALL
Mid-American Conference Tournament
Semifinals at Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland, OH
Akron 71, Kent State 69
Ohio 71, Western Michigan 64
Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Tournament
Semifinals at Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum, Winston-Salem, NC
Morgan State 67, Bethune-Cookman 63
North Carolina A&T 55, Delaware State 49
Mountain West Conference Tournament
Semifinals at Thomas & Mack Center, Las Vegas, NV
New Mexico 66, Boise State 63
UNLV 69, Colorado State 64
Pacific-12 Conference Tournament
Semifinals at MGM Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas, NV
Arizona 72, Ucla 71
Oregon 66, Utah 65
Southeastern Conference Tournament
Quarterfinals at Bridgestone Arena, Nashville, TN
Florida 71, Lsu 59
Tennessee 62, Alabama 59
Kentucky 66, Vanderbilt 61
Missouri 80, Ole Miss 75
Southland Conference Tournament
Semifinals at Leonard E. Merrell Center, Katy, TX
Stephen F. Austin 62, Southeastern Louisiana 49
Northwestern State 74, Sam Houston State 66
Southwestern Athletic Conference Tournament
Semifinals at Special Events Center, Garland, TX
Jackson State 64, Prairie View A&M 61
Southern 66, Alabama A&M 53
Western Athletic Conference Tournament
Semifinals at Orleans Arena, Las Vegas, NV
New Mexico State 77, Texas State 64
UT Arlington 68, UT San Antonio 61
ACC tournament (Greensboro)
NC State didn't extend itself much in 80-63 win over Va Tech Thursday, its 7th win in last nine games; State (+3.5) lost 58-55 at Virginia Jan 26, game Wolfpack led by 11 late in first half. State is 5-3 in last eight ACC tourney games; Virginia is 1-6 last six years, with last tourney win in '10. Cavaliers are 3-4 in last seven games, with last four decided by 5 or less points. State's last five games, UVa's last three stayed under total.
Big Dozen tourney (Chicago)
Indiana (-7) lost 74-72 at Illinois Feb 7, game they led by 14 with 12:50 left; Hoosiers split last four games after 24-3 start. LY's 75-58 win over Penn State is Indiana's only Big Dozen tourney win last six years. Illini survived 32% shooting to nip Minnesota 51-49 Thursday; three of their starters played 31+ minutes, subs provided one hoop. Five of last seven Indiana games, five of last seven Illini games stayed under the total.
Michigan has gone W-L in last six Big Dozen tourneys; they won by 17 yesterday (led by 2 at half)- they're only 6-5 in last 11 games- they lost 65-62 (-2) at Wisconsin Feb 9, when Badgers hit 45-footer at buzzer to force OT. Wisky won this tourney in '08, is 1-4 in it since, scoring 49.0 ppg in four losses; they lost two of last three games, with only win at buzzer at Penn State. Seven of last ten Wolverine games went over total.
Atlantic 16 tournament (Brooklyn)
Butler was 16-2 before losing 54-53 (+2.5) at LaSalle Jan 23, game they led by 10 late in first half; Bulldogs played three starters 31+ minutes in 73-67 win over Dayton Thursday, making 10-24 from arc. Butler is now 14-6 in last 20 conference tournament games. LaSalle won seven of last nine games behind senior G Galloway (41.7% from arc); over last decade Explorers are 5-3 in first A-16 tourney games. Five of Explorers' last six games went over the total.
SEC tournament (Nashville)
Tennessee was just 9-8 before nipping Alabama 54-53 Jan 26, avenging earlier 68-65 loss to Tide; Vols crushed an awful Miss State club 69-53 Thursday, its 9th win in last 10 games- they're 6-4 in last 10 conference tourney games. Alabama is 2-3 in last five games, losing last three away games- they've won first SEC tourney game last four years. Five of last seven Tennessee games went over total. Tennessee was up 16 at half on Thursday, played three starters 32+ (mainly stress-free) minutes.
Missouri held A&M to 24% from floor Thursday in 62-50 win, its 8th win in last 10 conference tourney games; Tigers split pair of one-sided games with Ole Miss, with last one played Feb 9. Rebels are 3-2 in SEC tourney last two years; over is 9-3 in their last 12 games, 4-1 in last five Mizzou tilts. 23-8 Ole Miss is seen as bubble team, since its win over Mizzou is its only top 50 win (beat #62 Tennessee), so this game is lot for important for Rebel team that won four of its last five games.
Conference USA tournament (Tulsa)
Memphis is 17-0 in league play, 21-2 in last 23 C-USA tourney games, but this is true road game for them, at Tulsa squad they beat 94-64 (-15) Feb 2, making 12-26 from arc. Only two of Tigers' last seven road games were double figure wins. Tulsa was down five at half to ECU Thursday, played three starters 31+ minutes in 79-72 (-1) win. Hurricane is 0-5 vs top 100 teams this year, with only one loss by less than 15 points. Six of last seven Tulsa games went over total.
Big East tournament (NYC)
Syracuse scored TOTAL of 85 points in 11-22 point losses to Hoyas in last three weeks; Georgetown won 12 of last 13 games overall, is 12-6 in last 18 Big East tourney games. Syracuse made 12-19 from arc in 62-59 upset of Pitt Thursday, just its third win in last nine games, second time since '06 they've won 2+ games in a Big East tourney. Georgetown used three starters 37+ minutes, Syracuse played four starters 35+ Thursday, but Orange also had a game Wednesday.
Last 4+ years, Louisville is 10-2 in this event; over last decade, they are 5-1 in semi-finals of Big East tourney. Cardinals lost in five OTs Feb 9 at Notre Dame (led by 7 in last minute), then beat Irish by 16 six nights ago. Irish played three starters 35+ minutes each of last two nights, and played two guys 40 minutes last night. Louisville had Wednesday night off. Cardinals forced 24 turnovers (+6) in fairly easy 74-55 win over an improving Villanova team last nite. Under is 9-4 in last 13 L'ville games.
Big X tournament (Kansas City)
-- Iowa State had its heart torn out by Kansas twice this year with pair of OT losses, 97-89/108-96; Cyclones led both games late. ISU is 7-2 in last nine games overall; yesterday was its first conference tourney win since '05. Kansas is 17-2 in last 19 Big X tourney games; they crushed Texas Tech 91-63, after Cyclones came back from down 37-29 down at half to nip Oklahoma by 7. My question about State is this: after two brutal losses to Kansas, do their kids believe they can beat Kansas?
Pac-12 tourney (MGM Garden Arena, Las Vegas)
-- UCLA was down 15 with 16:00 left Thursday, rallied to win by 5, as thin ASU squad got tired down stretch. Bruins beat Arizona twice this year, by 11-5 points. Wildcats haven't won Pac-12 tourney since 2002; they lost in final last two years, both by a basket. Arizona is 5-4 in last nine games after 20-2 start, as lack of true PG begins to show up. Its been five years since the #1 seed won Pac-12 tournament, but this is also its first year at truly neutral site.
Mountain West tourney (@ UNLV)
Over last 7+ years, San Diego State is 15-4 in MWC tourney, winning it two of last three years; they've won MWC semis last four years, by 2-3-2-10 points. Aztecs split pair of one-sided games with New Mexico this season- their win Wednesday was first in last six games away from home. Lobos won seven of last eight games, with only loss in that span by point at Air Force. New Mexico won this event LY, since '05, Lobos are 9-6 in MWC tourney.
UNLV won this event in '07/'08, is just 5-4 in it since, despite playing at home; Rebels split pair of close games with Colorado State this season, losing by 5 in Fort Collins, winning by hoop here. Rams normally start five seniors, but PG Green (ankle) isn't supposed to play, big blow for State squad that is 4-3 in last seven games after a 21-4 start. Eight of last ten UNLV games stayed under; over is 5-0-1 in Rams' last six. Less than 1,000 tickets were left for this twinbill as of Thursday, but how many are Lobo fans who will leave after first game?