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Shootaround: Georgetown v. Colgate

Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

Your Georgetown Hoyas are set to face off against an underrated Colgate Raiders team this Saturday, December 7th. The game will take place at 12:00pm ET at the Verizon Center.

Get to Know Colgate.

The big picture.

After starting off the season with back-to-back losses against Wake Forest and Syracuse, the Raiders have rebounded nicely winning their last four games by double digits. Colgate is currently 3rd in the Patriot League with a record of 4-2.

The top 3 players on the team- Tillotson, Burnatowski and Jacobs- are all transfers that have been huge for Colgate this season. As a team, Colgate is currently 5th in the country in FG% and 13th in assists, making them one of the more efficient teams in the country from an offensive perspective. Of the top nine players on the roster in terms of minutes played (big drop off to the 10th), eight are either juniors or seniors, with ultra talented sophomore Austin Tillotson being the lone underclassman. This is a team with experience and depth that would have an outside shot against any team in the country.

What I learned from Wikipedia.

In 1850, the Baptist Education Society planned to move the university to Rochester, but was halted by legal action. Dissenting trustees, faculty, and students founded the University of Rochester.

In October 2006, Colgate was ranked as the second most fit college in America by Men's Fitness. In July 2008, Colgate was named listed on Forbes' list of Top Colleges for Getting Rich, the only non-Ivy League College in the top 5. The university's campus was ranked as the most beautiful by The Princeton Review in their 2010 edition.

The number 13 is considered to be lucky to Colgate. It is said that Colgate was founded by thirteen men with thirteen dollars, thirteen prayers and thirteen articles. Colgate's address is 13 Oak Drive, and its zip code is 13346, which begins with 13 and ends with three digits that sum to 13. Konosioni, the senior honor society, is composed of thirteen men and thirteen women. Alumni wear Colgate apparel on every Friday the 13th, which is designated as Colgate Day.

Approximately 25% of students are involved in a varsity sport, and 80% of students are involved in some form of varsity, club, or intramural athletics. The 1932 football team was "unbeaten, untied, unscored upon, and uninvited," as it registered shutouts against all nine opponents.

Roster rundown. All 5 Colgate starters are multi-threat players with the ability to shoot from beyond the arc. This is an incredibly well balanced team that is composed in its craft.

Back court.

Sophomore stud Austin Tillotson, who has really put the team on his back in recent games and is improving rapidly as the season progresses, leads the backcourt. Tillotson is averaging 13.5 points, 2.5 rebounds, 5.3 assists and 1.3 steals per game this season while shooting above 66.0% from the field, 64.0% from 3-point land and 83.0% from the line. Joining him as starters in the backcourt are junior Luke Row-5.5 points, 5.0 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 1.2 steals per game- and senior Pat Moore- 10.5 points, 1.8 rebounds, 1.0 assists per game. The team's 6th man is talented guard Damon Sherman-Newsome, who averages 23.8 minutes and 12.3 points, 2.3 rebounds and 2.2 assists on the season. None of the primary 4 guards on this team shoot below 50.0% and three of the four shoot above 60.0%. This is a scary efficient backcourt that will not shoot unless open.

Front court.

Senior forward Murphy Burnatowski is the frontcourt leader for the Raiders, averaging 15.2 points, 4.3 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.5 seals on the season. He has scored in double figures in the past 4 games, and in 5 of 6 games on the season. Joining him in the starting lineup is junior center Ethan Jacobs. Jacobs is not much of a defensive presence at all and for his 6-11 frame is one of the worst rebounders in the country, but the man can score the ball, and in a variety of ways. He is averaging 13.2 points and 3.8 rebounds on the season, has reached double digits in every game so far. Jacobs has 9 3-pointers over Colgate's last two games. Also factoring into the equation off the bench will be junior forwards Matt McMullen and Clayton Graham.

Colgate on twitter. So, Colgate can stroke.

What to watch when the Raiders have the ball.

  • Raider: Austin Tillotson. The sophomore Monmouth transfer is really stepping up for the team this season. Tillotson shot a perfect 9-9 in the Raiders last game against Binghampton (including 4-4 on 3-pointers), finishing with 25 points, 3 assists, and 3 rebounds. He is shooting 87% from the field and 100% from 3-point land over his last 3 games.
  • Hoya: Josh Smith. Both Colgate big men- Burnatowski and Jacobs- can step out and shoot the 3 very effectively, so this game will likely prove to be Smith's biggest test as a defender. As stated above, 6-11 center Ethan Jacobs has 9 3-pointers over Colgate's last two games, so he could very well feast on the matchup against a very slow and out-of-shape Josh Smith.
  • Number. Three-point %. Colgate is the best shooting team in the country according to many media outlets. As a team, Colgate shoots 51.0% from beyond the arc, which is the best in the country by a significant margin (2nd best team shoots 48.1% from three). Colgate is 32-51 from 3-point range over its last two games.
  • Feeling delusional because... Outside of Josh Smith, the Hoyas have a group of defenders that can guard 3-point shooters as well as or better than most other teams in the country. If they can contain Colgate's outside threats without leaving the middle too exposed Georgetown will have a good shot to limit Colgate to its worst shooting percentage on the season.
  • Feeling cynical because... For not having a go-to star, Colgate has a very diverse group of scorers that can beat you in a number of ways. They are consistent in their craft, and part of the problem here for Georgetown is that you never really know which Raider will go off in a given game. This makes them hard to plan for defensively and could give the Hoyas fits all game.

What to watch when the Hoyas have the ball.

  • Hoya: D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera. Just as he was against High Point, DSR will be the go-to player on offense for the Hoyas against Colgate. DSR has reached 17 points and hit at least three 3-pointers in each of Georgetown's last four games. He is not only the team's best scorer, but perhaps its most efficient scorer as well.
  • Raider: Murphy Burnatowski. The 6-7 Colgate forward is big (230 pounds) and surprisingly agile as a defender. He's a smart player, and I'm assuming he already knows that he can sag off of Lubick or Hopkins on defense to sneak into passing lanes and help out on traps. Burnatowski has 8 steals and 4 blocks over Colgate's last 3 games.
  • Number. Rebounds. For as bad as the Hoyas have been on the glass this season, Colgate has been far worse. The Raiders currently rank 328th nationally in rebounding, and its starting frontcourt averages a combined 8.1 rebounds per game. No one on the team averages more than 5 rebounds per game. The Hoyas could have a field day on the offensive glass if they fight aggressively and use their size down low against Colgate's overmatched big men.
  • Feeling delusional because... Just as Colgate will look to exploit our big men on defense by drawing them out of their comfort zones, Georgetown will look to pound the ball down low and exploit its size advantage. Josh Smith could have a huge game offensively as long as he is on the court, which will depend heavily on whether or not he proves to be a liability on defense.
  • Feeling cynical because... Outside of Starks, DSR and Josh Smith, the Hoyas have really been struggling to find offensive help of late. Trawick is slumping (only one double digit performance in the Hoyas previous 5 games) and Lubick is still showing an unwillingness to attack the basket. We will need scorers to step up if we are to exert our superiority over Colgate, and I don't think Reggie Cameron is the answer at this point in his career.

Conclusion. I am not thrilled about this game at all. "Sneaky good," is no longer an appropriate description for Colgate since by now most people know how good they are. The forwards are good and the guards are fantastic, and they continuously refuse to fall into the trap of forcing up bad shots. It will take a stifling effort to control the perimeter on defense, and if a key Hoya is forced to sit out significant minutes due to foul trouble, Colgate is just the type of team that will be able to make us pay. I will be really interested to see whether or not our big men are able to step out and contest Colgate's frontcourt shooters. I think we will ultimately be able to ride the momentum from the High Point game and emerge victorious in this one, but by no means will it be easy.