Game 9: Georgetown Hoyas (5-3) vs Radford Highlanders (5-3)
Series: Hoyas lead 1-0
Where/When: Verizon Center, Saturday at noon
TV: Fox Sports 1
Well for as crushing as the Kansas game might have been for Casual Observers everywhere, the good news is that the guys are getting right back at it less than 72 hours later. Of course, as Coach John Thompson III pointed out on Friday afternoon, a quick turnaround is only good if you win that next game.
So what do we know about the Highlanders?
They just beat our good buddy Buzz Williams and his Virginia Tech Hokies last weekend.
Radford has seen steady improvements under fourth year Coach Mike Jones. The last time Jones was on the other sideline in a game against the Hoyas was in Chicago in 2011 when he was an assistant under Shaka Smart.
Highlanders lowdown: They are a veteran team and are led by their guards.
R.J. Price is a 5-11 guard that has been a double-digit scorer all four years at Radford. He went for 25 points in that win over the Hokies, including five made 3-pointers and the game winning bucket.
The Highlanders hit nine 3-pointers in that win over Va Tech, attempting 22. Georgetown hasn't be great at defending the long ball in losses.
Forward Javonte Green averages ten rebounds a game but he's going to be giving up about 145 pounds to Joshua Smith.
Oh, and they have a Ya Ya on their team. No, he's not a Dia but an Anderson. How often do programs meet with Ya Ya's in the all-time player registry?
Last time out: As mentioned above, Radford scored one of the biggest wins in program history last week in downing Virginia Tech 68-66. It was the Highlanders second ever win against the Hokies and just their first win ever against a school currently in the ACC (1-24).
RPI: Last year Radford won 22 games, finished third in their half of the Big South which is ironically named the North, yet still had an RPI of just 229. It looks like the best a team from the Big South can finish is in the 160 range. Not great.
Now on to your Georgetown Hoyas.
No Trap Games: In case anybody was worried about the players looking past a Big South school during exam week and right after the biggest home game in two seasons, Joshua Smith was able to clear that up real quick on Friday afternoon. When asked if Radford's win over Virginia Tech raised some eyebrows, Smith was quick to point out how these so-called smaller teams aren't messing around anymore.
Said Smith: "You see it now with all these teams - NJIT just beat Michigan, Incarnate Word just beat Nebraska. Usually they are supposed to lose when they play the other teams that are better but these kids have nothing to lose they have nothing to fear they are the underdog and everybody thinks they are going to lose so for them it's just hey lets go out there and play how we play and whatever happens happens. These teams are confident."
Healthy: After going out late in the Kansas game with a knee injury, JT3 told a group of reporters on Friday afternoon that Jabril Trawick will be fine to suit up and play against Radford. It's hard to play sideline doctor so I try not to, but from my vantage point it didn't look so great. Glad to see the injury doesn't appear to be a big deal.
Depth: For the first time this season we saw the bench shortened to just seven players. This was surprising considering that Trawick struggled, and Aaron Bowen seems like he's earned the right to always get in ten minutes or so of action at the least. It's also a bit surprising that Tre Campbell didn't see much time considering how DSR was struggling trying to run the show and score against the Jayhawks. Which leads me to my next topic.....
DSR the PG: Are we going to question the decision to have D'Vauntes play more lead guard after every subpar showing? Probably. Of course when we say he struggled, he did pick up a team high ten rebounds and a game high six assists. It's just that his shot wasn't falling. And he's been a streaky shooter this season so it will be interesting to see much time he gets off the ball against Radford while either Campbell, Paul White, or Trawick serve as the point.
Reason to be cynical: You are worried about an exam week game against a team from the Big South sneaking up on the Hoyas and hitting 15 3-pointers. I get that, but it's not going to happen.
Reason to be delusional: As JT3 said in the beginning of the season, this team is going to be very good. I think you can still see that. The parts are still coming together. Even though they didn't catch Wisconsin or Kansas with a win, the good news is that the BIG EAST seems to be much better than it was last season. This team will get on a roll. It will start against Radford.
Final thoughts: Georgetown is going to roll as the Hoyas will begin another non conference home court winning streak that will last until at least 2020. This would be a great time - before IU and the start of the BIG EAST season - for Hopkins to start finding his groove around the rim. As JT3 said on Friday, he's too good at other parts of the game to leave on the bench.
This will be an important game for some of the players - Campbell, Cameron - that had their minutes cut the other night as it's likely the last game where JT3 can really play around with lineups.