WEEKEND WATCH
Originally Published: Feb 21, 2013

Carrier Dome nostalgia leads a packed weekend

By Rece Davis | ESPN.com

Editor's note: Rece Davis is the host of "College GameDay," which will be in Lexington, Ky., for Saturday night's Missouri-Kentucky game. Check out the video above as six of our writers preview six of the weekend's top games.

There are times when my pragmatic, self-determination viewpoint clashes with my sentimental side. As a core value, I believe every school should determine what's best for their athletics program. I have no qualm whatsoever with Syracuse going to the ACC.

But I hate what those same decisions are doing to the rivalries we look forward to every year. So I plan to savor every moment of the last two regular-season Big East meetings between Georgetown and Syracuse. College GameDay will be in D.C. for the regular-season finale, but Saturday's matchup at the Carrier Dome will be played against a nostalgic backdrop.

Syracuse/Collegiate Images/Getty ImagesOn Saturday afternoon, more than 35,000 will pile into the Carrier Dome to see the Hoyas and Orange.

Maybe there will be moments when we strain our eyes really hard and say, "that looks like a pass Pearl made" or "that's a block Ewing would've gotten." But this game isn't just about the past. It's about the present. Nobody does a big game like Syracuse. A record 35,012 will be in the Carrier Dome to say goodbye to a rivalry and to honor Carmelo Anthony, who will have his jersey retired.

While we have spent a lot of time extolling Syracuse's chances of making a Final Four now that James Southerland is back (and rightfully so), it's time to recognize that the hottest team in the Big East is Georgetown. The Hoyas have ripped off eight straight wins and in social media parlance, the Hoyas are trending. Rarely do you see a team undergo such a dramatic transformation in mid-season.

Georgetown's winning binge came on the heels of an inexplicable loss to South Florida, the only Big East win for the Bulls. This Hoyas team scored 37 points against Tennessee. I don't care that the Vols only scored 36 -- Final Four teams don't score 37 points in a game. Or at least that's what I'd like to think. Except that Georgetown's 1984 national championship team beat SMU by exactly the same score in a tournament game. Coincidence? Yeah probably, but weird nonetheless.

On Wednesday, the Hoyas beat DePaul while their best player Otto Porter rested a sore knee and played only 20 minutes. D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera poured in 33, the biggest scoring night for a Hoya freshman since 1996 and the most by a player off the bench for Georgetown in at least 15 years.

Under John Thompson III, there has always been a concern about dealing with his offensive system, which JT3 doesn't like to call the Princeton offense. Guarding an offense is one thing. Guarding ballers is much different. With Porter and Smith-Rivera, the Hoyas have ballers. And Nate Lubick does the tough things that help you win.

Still, the question hovers: Is this the team that's won eight straight? Or is this the team that couldn't score against Tennessee, lost to USF and were routed 73-45 at Pitt? My gut says the Hoyas will be a force in March. What I know is this: Both teams will be amped for an emotional meeting at the Dome Saturday. Savor it while you can.

The Mountain West is as deep as its ever been. Colorado State finishes a huge week by hosting New Mexico. On College Gameday Saturday, we'll break down the best coaching jobs of the season and Larry Eustachy has to be on that list. You could put several MWC guys on the list, but Eustachy has done an outstanding job in his first year. The Rams had a great look at a potential game-winning shot at UNLV on Wednesday night, but the Rebels survived.

AP Photo/Eric DraperNew Mexico held off CSU in the first meeting. Will the Rams get their revenge in Fort Collins?

Now the Rams, ranked for the first time in 59 years, have to survive a home game against the league-leading Lobos to regain a share of the conference lead. CSU in the top 15 of the BPI and is among the most efficient offensive teams in the nation and rebound a remarkable 42 percent of its missed shots. The Rams lead the nation in limiting second shots. Colton Iverson and Pierce Hornung each grab more than nine rebounds per game. This is a very good team.

New Mexico ranks among the best defensive squads in the country. The Lobos do a great job keeping opponents off the offensive glass, so it'll be strength on strength in Fort Collins. Kendall Williams and Tony Snell are versatile guys on the perimeter and lead a balanced offensive attack. The Lobos will be fresh, it should be noted. They will have had a week off by the time they tip against the Rams.

As for College GameDay, we're headed to Kentucky to see the Wildcats host Missouri. John Calipari coaches his team hard, but he has a good knack for when to lighten the mood. He had the Cats play dodgeball this week. You know the old coaching adage: If you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a ball. Nobody had a bigger wrench thrown at them than UK with the loss of Noel.

Joe Lunardi has the Wildcats sitting precariously on that bubble. Proving to the NCAA tournament selection committee that they can beat good teams without the big shot blocker is vital. Missouri is coming off a win against No. 5 Florida, but...
MORE NCAAB COVERAGE