NO. 20 MARQUETTE (12-3, 1-1 Big East) AT NO. 1 SYRACUSE (16-0, 3-0 Big East)
Time: 4 p.m.
Location: Carrier Dome
RPI Rankings: Marquette 24; Syracuse 1
Line: Syracuse -11.5
Marquette Players to Watch: G Darius Johnson-Odom, 6-2 Sr. (17.9 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 2.7 apg); F Jae Crowder, 6-6 Sr. (16.6 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 38.4% 3s); PG Junior Cadougan, 6-1 Jr. (6.7 ppg, 5 apg). Johnson-Odom has scored at least 10 points in every game this season, including 42 combined in the Eagles’ two Big East games.
Syracuse Players to Watch: F Kris Joseph, 6-7 Sr. (13.9 ppg, 5 rpg, 39.1% 3s); G Dion Waiters, 6-4 So. (12.6 ppg, 2.8 apg); PG Scoop Jardine, 6-2 Sr. (8.7 ppg, 4.3 apg, 54.3% FG). Waiters is an emerging star and has scored at least 13 points in Syracuse’s last four contests.
Storylines: Syracuse remains unbeaten and atop the Big East, tied with Georgetown at 3-0. Marquette has dropped 3-of-5 after a 10-0 start, including a 73-70 loss at Georgetown, in which the Eagles lost a 17-point lead in the final 13:22 on Wednesday.
Keys to Victory: Syracuse has unrivaled depth of talent, which will likely make the Orange a favorite in every Big East game from here on out. For Marquette, the key may be to be physical with the Orange. However, Syracuse has proven to be a little tougher this year than in the past couple of seasons. The Eagles have a lot of experience in these situations and they aren’t going to back down.
The Bottom Line: Syracuse will drop a game or two in the Big East, but the first one won’t come Saturday.
The Pick: Syracuse 81, Marquette 65.