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College basketball odds: Cincinnati at no. 11 Georgetown

Georgetown (21-6, 10-5) possesses favored college basketball odds at home Wednesday night as the Hoyas play host to Cincinnati (21-6, 8-6). Georgetown ranks third in Big East play – perhaps the best conference in the country – sporting a record of 10 wins and 5 losses in conference play. The Bearcats are 8-6 against Big East opponents and will need a solid effort in order to upset the eleventh-ranked Hoyas. That appears to be a tall order. In 2010, Cincinnati suffered a lopsided loss at the nation’s capital and tonight’s game could be a replay of last year’s matchup.

Betting Pick: Georgetown ( - 6 ½ )

Cincinnati is trying to make the NCAA tournament but Georgetown poses a significant roadblock to the Bearcats hopes of catching March Madness. The Hoyas have won four straight at home (where they have a 10-2 record) and has a deeper talent pool than the Bearcats.

Georgetown is the best-shooting team in the Big East. That is quite an achievement considering that the Big East has over half a dozen teams ranked in the top 25 including Pittsburgh, Notre Dame, Villanova, Syracuse, St. John’s and Connecticut.

In pouncing South Florida on Saturday, Georgetown shot over 51 percent from the floor. Guard Chris Wright led the way by dropping a season-high 26 points. He’s not even their leading scorer. Cincinnati’s defense will need to step up. Georgetown has one of the best backcourts in the country: 6’3” guard Austin Freeman leads the team in scoring at 17.7 points per game. The Hoyas average 73.9 points per game and allow 66.1 points.

Do the college basketball odds make sense? Cincinnati will need to do three things to pull off the upset: drive to the hoop, make their free throws and play physical with Georgetown. Freeman is sore from an ankle sprain and Cincinnati will need to exploit this injury by not settling for outside shots.

While the Bearcats are a great defensive team (giving up only 58.7 points per game), their offensive output has been woeful. If the Hoyas consistently make their field goals and free throws, this could be a blowout. While effective on defense, Cincinnati does not have a reliable scorer. Guard Dion Dixon, who stands at 6’3”, is their leading scorer. Unfortunately, he only averages 11 points a game. At 34 percent from three point range, he’s not a killer shooter either.

Going against one of the best backcourt tandems in the country, the Bearcats’ big men will need to out-rebound Georgetown’s frontcourt as well as get to the free throw line. They need to play their typical half-court setup and slow the game down, minimizing Georgetown’s number of ball possessions at home.

Georgetown’s starting lineup will have to avoid fouling out and ensure that their more talented core of players stay on the floor. Why? Because Cincinnati has lost 20 straight on the road against top 25 teams. Additionally, the Bearcats are just 1-4 against ranked teams this season. They say defense wins championships. But when your leading scorer averages 11 points per game, that’s simply too many bricks and air balls on the offensive side. College basketball odds peg Georgetown at – 6 ½.

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