Syracuse and Louisville are both in need of a big-time win this weekend, but only one will get it as they face each other in the Carrier Dome.
The Orange were able to get the best of their Big East rival with a 70-68 win at Louisville earlier in the year when the Cardinals were ranked No. 1 in the country.
However, Syracuse is coming off back-to-back losses to Georgetown and Marquette and is fading fast in the conference standings.
Meanwhile, Louisville has won seven of the last eight games and will try to continue its great play into March.
This is certain to be an exciting battle from beginning to end, so make sure you do not miss a second of the action.
When: Saturday, March 2 at 12 p.m. ET
Where: Carrier Dome, Syracuse, N.Y.
Live Stream: CBS Online
Injury Report (via USA Today)
G Mike Marra (Knee) Out
F DaJuan Coleman (Knee) Questionable
What They're Saying
Each of these teams has the talent to go to the Final Four and beyond, but the Orange have lost some of their luster in recent weeks.
While analyzing the two teams in this game, Andrew Kahn of CBS discussed Syracuse's recent slide:
Syracuse comes in having lost two in a row after Monday’s three-point loss to Marquette. They haven’t been playing that poorly, but there are certainly doubts about whether this team is capable of making a deep Tournament run.
It is certainly possible for the squad to turn things around, but it must start with a win on Saturday.
Louisville Player to Watch: Russ Smith
Although Russ Smith is probably no longer in the discussion for National Player of the Year, he is still one of the top scorers in the country.
Smith averages 18.4 points per game and can get them in a number of ways; he can shoot from the outside, drive to the lane or get himself to the free-throw line. In addition, he is a very good on-ball defender.
If Louisville is going to win this game, the Cardinals need Smith to be at his best.
Syracuse Player to Watch: James Southerland
James Southerland missed six games in the middle of the year due to eligibility issues, but he's back now and playing very well.
The forward has scored in double figures in each of the past six games and has stretched the floor with his great outside shooting. In this stretch, Southerland is 20 of 48 from behind the three-point line.
If he is able to hit his shots on Saturday, Louisville could be in trouble.
Matchup to Watch: Michael Carter-Williams vs. Peyton Siva
While the 6'0" Peyton Siva might not be asked to defend the 6'6" Michael Carter-Williams directly, this game will come down to which one of the two point guards plays better.
Carter-Williams leads the Big East with 7.9 assists per game, while Siva is third in that category. When these men are playing well, their teams are almost unstoppable.
However, both players have struggled this season with turnovers and outside shooting. The inconsistency has led to losses on both sides.
If one man outplays the other in this game, it will be over quickly.
Prediction: Syracuse 74, Louisville 72
Syracuse is desperate for a win after losing five of the last nine games. If the Orange continue to lose, their seed in the NCAA tournament will suffer greatly.
It also seems unlikely that the 30,000 people in the stadium will let this team lose two games in a row on the home floor. Syracuse should be able to do enough to get by in this one.
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