ESPN / USA Today: 23
A Few Quick-Hitters:
· Silver Linings from the Tennessee Game: We had 11 assists on 16 field goals (nice ratio). We held Tennessee to 32.6% shooting. We limited Tennessee's best player, Jarnell Stokes, to three shots. We only committed nine turnovers. BJ Hayes played! We won. That's it.
· Stat that Won't Surprise You: For the season, Mikael Hopkins has six assists and 15 turnovers.
· Stat that Might Surprise You: Hopkins has more total points than Otto Porter. And yes, that's partly because Otto was held out of a couple of games.
· The Iron Curtain: Less than 24 hours after embracing his new moniker, Comrade Hopkins engaged in one of his most explicit acts of sabotage in our nation's capital. Against the Vols, he was out of position, rarely looked to pass from the top of the key, launched a few lousy shots from the perimeter, committed two offensive fouls, missed half of his free throws, turned the ball over, and missed a dunk. We know you're a Soviet spy, Mikael, but we still embrace you. We will pay more than your Russian backers if you promise to stop exploiting our offensive holes. I'm not sure what your mission is, and, frankly, sometimes I think you are confusing even yourself. Your hall of mirrors frightens me. Even Cousin Yuri is baffled by your tradecraft. To be continued.
· Keep Your Head Up, Mikael: Sometimes means things are posted on the Internet, and sometimes college kids read these mean things, and sometimes that's not a good thing. So if you're reading this, Mikael, keep your head up. You've got talent, you play hard and you're young and athletic. The rest will come. Just be patient. And sorry about that horrible nickname. Really, you're not a communist. (But if you are, that's okay too. Just please work on your free throws.)
· Pearl Jam: Yup, if you were listening closely, midway through the first half of that boring game against Tennessee, ESPN cut to a commercial with the song "Don't Call Me Daughter," which has to be one of the more random song choices I've ever heard from The Worldwide Leader in quite some time. Not sure what it has to do with basketball. It's obviously not an uplifting song, seeing as it's about a kid who struggles with dyslexia (or something like that). Fun Fact That is Only Interesting To Me: I'm pretty sure I received the Pearl Jam CD with "Daughter" on it as a Hanukkah gift 20 years ago. And it made me happy.
Preview of Friday Night's Game: Georgetown v. Texas:
Georgetown's impressive slate of non-conference games continues on Tuesday night at the Garden, where your Hoyas take on the young and hungry Texas Longhorns. Texas, which will once again be without savvy guard Myck Kabongo, has underachieved thus far into the season, with losses already against Chaminade and USC. To explain Texas's early season woes, all you need to do is look at Texas's roster. Texas is led by four freshmen and three sophomores. Translation: Texas is young. Very young. Younger than Georgetown, which is saying something. And Texas has also been playing without its best player.
Like Tennessee, Texas is known for its defense and rebounding. The key difference is that the Longhorns' strength is its backcourt, rather than its frontcourt. Texas is led by a pair of sophomore guards - 6'4'' Sheldon McClellan (17.0 ppg, 4.3 rpg) and 6'3'' Julien Lewis (12.0, 3.9 rpg). Both tend to shoot from the perimeter, but McClellan is better at putting the ball on the floor and drawing fouls. McLellan is deadly from the foul line, where he has made 41 of 45 free throws. Lewis is really quick and effective in transition. Jabril and Markel need to be patient and not commit cheap fouls.
The Longhorns' best distributor is 5'10'' freshman Javan Felix (7.1 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 6.3 apg). Felix is very fast and does a nice job of getting into the lane, but he also makes his fair share of mistakes. He commits a whopping 3.6 turnovers per game (even though his assist-to-turnover ratio has improved in the last few games) and only shoots 31% from the floor. He's also a very poor perimeter shooter. It goes without saying that Georgetown should keep Felix as far from the basket as possible. Also receiving minutes in the backcourt is 6'2'' freshman DeMarcus Holland (4.1 ppg), who seems to be a work in progress.
The Longhorns' best rebounder is 6'7'' sophomore Jonathan Holmes (5.7 ppg, 8.1 rpg). Holmes is a burly guy who is exactly what you expect him to be: he cleans up the glass, but has only a limited offensive game and struggles to make free throws (40%). Rounding out the frontcourt for Texas are a pair of freshmen: 6'8'' forward Ioannis Papapetrou (8.7 ppg, 4.9 rpg) and 6'9'' center Cameron Ridley (5.1 ppg, 5.3 rpg). Papapetrou is a big Greek dude who likes to play on the perimeter. He's a pretty good shooter, but surprisingly, he struggles from the free throw line (54%). Ridley, a McDonald's All-American, is a raw player who excels at the dirty work. He rebounds well and leads the team with 19 blocks. In what has to be one of the more incredible stats you'll see, Ridley has 17 turnovers and zero assists. The rumor is that he too is a Soviet spy.
Lee Melchionni's younger brother, Dean, is also on the Longhorns' roster. Just mentioning this fun fact in case you need another reason to root against Texas.
Keys to the Game:
1. The Zone: Comparisons to Syracuse, be damned. Let's stick with what works. Texas doesn't shoot well from the perimeter. They don't have a Skyler McBee or a Jordan Hulls. We should use our length and athleticism to keep the Longhorns far away from the rim and force them to beat us over the top.
2. Scoring: I know this probably falls into the "yeah, no kidding" category, especially coming after our disgustingly horrible and terrible offensive output against Tennessee. But seriously, Texas plays great defense. The Longhorns have limited all seven of their opponents to under 40% shooting (and a combined 30.7% shooting). That's good enough for #1 in the country (or at least it was before their last game). Against a man defense, we need to be patient and look for open cutters. Against the zone, we need Otto to flash to the foul line and do his thing.
3.Turnovers: Texas is averaging 19 turnovers per game. That's a lot. Hopefully we can take advantage of these mental mistakes and score some easy baskets. Against Tennessee, we probably had one fast break basket all game. This isn't last decade's Hoyas. We can run and push the pace a little bit. And we should, especially when we're struggling to score in our halfcourt sets.
4. Handling the Press: Don't be surprised if Texas uses a press against us. Rick Barnes has been using it from time to time this season as a way to jumpstart his offense. Georgetown hasn't really had to deal with much backcourt pressure yet. Hopefully our guards are up to the challenge.
5. Otto: They all said the same thing about each of the recent Georgetown great ones. Green and Hibbert and Monroe and Sims were all too passive. They didn't look to score enough. And now Otto is in the same boat. He's well-rounded and does everything he's asked to do. Now he needs to lead by looking for his shot a bit more. And I'm not talking about the Adam Morrison-esque long-range two. I mean he needs to demand the ball inside and get some easy looks.
Texas is a young and hungry team that rebounds well and plays great defense. After the first twenty minutes of Tuesday night's game, you may not think our game against the Vols was a fluke. Georgetown, which will be aided by the return of Nate Lubick (who has already been cleared to play) will need to be more disciplined and patient on offense, while continuing to use its length to smother Texas's guards.
Fresh off of last week's embarrassing performance, this game will be Georgetown's final chance to impress the country before the start of Big East play. This is our last remaining "big" non-conference game of the season, and it's on national television, and it's in the Garden. One final chance in 2012 to prove that we're for real this season.
I want a victory, and quite frankly, I expect one. Hook ‘em Hoyas.
Let's go Hoyas. Beat Texas.