When the Syracuse Orange and Georgetown Hoyas first met this season back on Jan. 12, the Orange were unranked. SU came into the game with a gaudy 13-1 record, but only one in-conference game, a 92-79 win over Marquette, to back it up. Syracuse had not beaten Georgetown in their last seven meetings. But that night, the Orange made a statement to Georgetown, to the Big East, and to the poll voters. SU won 86-56.
Tonight at 8 p.m. ET, Syracuse (19-3, 7-2) plays the Hoyas (13-10, 4-6) in McDonough Arena as No. 23/21 in the nation.
The Orange moved up one position in the AP Poll and the Coaches Poll. SU's No. 23 in the AP Poll and No. 21 in the Coaches Poll are the highest rankings the Orange has reached this season in each respective poll. Additionally, the No. 21 ranking in the Coaches Poll ties the highest ranking in either poll in team history. SU was No. 21 in the AP Poll back in February of 2008.
Coach Quentin Hillsman knows SU deserves the accolades, but still appreciates the honors. "Of course, it is nice to have respect among your peers and among the writers and everyone who votes on those polls," he said last week.
The Orange will not prepare differently for Georgetown the second time around, Hillsman said Thursday.
"What we did the first time is the game plan," he said. "You always look at the last tape and look at the things you did previously and try to build on those and do those better."
Kayla Alexander said the game against Georgetown was a model win: strong defense, disciplined play, and team confidence.
"If we continue to do things we are supposed to do and then build upon what we did previously, moving forward I think we will be successful."
With the game being played in D.C. this time, the Orange may not have the luxury of an easy blowout win. That's fine by Hillsman as long as Syracuse gets the win.
"Any win on the road, whether it’s by 1 or 31, is an important win in this conference."
Syracuse went 1-0 over the past week. SU defeated Cincinnati 72-48 in Fifth Third Arena, which would be the strangest named sports venue if only the Phoenix Coyotes didn't play in something called the Jobing.com Arena.