Series: Hoosiers lead 2-1
Where/When: Madison Square Garden, Saturday at noon
Georgetown travels to Gotham this weekend to take on Indiana in the final non-conference game of the season that has a real Last Chance Saloon feel to it. Obviously calling a game in late December a "Must Win" situation is a bit dramatic, but its close considering what Georgetown has, and more importantly, hasn't accomplished thus far.
Basically it would be nice to start BIG EAST play on New Year's Rockin' Eve with a bigger margin of error to work with in terms of March positioning.
The fourth ever meeting between the Hoyas and Hoosiers will take place at the fourth different location - Landover, Bloomington, Brooklyn. This will also be the first matchup between the traditional powers in which neither team is ranked. In each of the last two meetings Indiana entered as the number one team in the nation.
So what do we know about the Hoosiers?
Indiana raised a lot of eyebrows earlier on this season when they fell at home to Eastern Washington. Since that loss to possibly the class of the Big Sky, the Hoosiers taken care of business minus their last trip to MSG in which they dropped a game in the Jimmy V Classic to our old friends Louisville.
The biggest worry for Hoyas fans would have to be the way in which Tom Crean's guys can shoot the long ball.
Hoosiers lowdown: After relying mainly on an inside game during a disappointing 2013-14 campaign. Crean has gone with shooters this season. Right now Indiana has five guys - Yogi Ferrell, Colin Hartman, James Blackmon, Jr., Nick Zeisloft, and Robert Johnson - that are shooting over 40 percent from deep with at least nine makes.
The Hoosiers have made at least seven 3-pointers in all 12 games this season after achieving that mark just eight times in 32 tries last season.
Ferrell - who ran the show for the Hoosiers when they earned a No. 1 seed in the 2013 season - has turned into an all around player. He is currently seventh among B1G players with 16.3 points per game and fifth in assists (5.1) and 3-pt field goal percentage (46.9). He's also nearly automatic from the line in knocking down 87 percent of his attempts from the charity stripe.
Former Hoyas recruiting target Troy Williams is playing really well at the moment. So well in fact that he was named National Player of the Week after going for 22 points and 11 rebounds in a win over in state rival Butler.
Hanner Mosquera-Perea does work for the Hoosiers down low by hitting 68 percent of his shots and
blocking nearly two a game. Over the last four games he's averaging 10.3 points, 6.7 rebounds, and 3.7 blocks.
Last time out: Indiana had no problems in dispatching New Orleans 79-59 this past Monday.
RPI: Indiana is currently 91 in the latest rankings but that will likely improve as B1G play begins next week. Well, unless they stink again like last year. In that case, 91 will be about right.
Now on to your Georgetown Hoyas.
It's been a week since Georgetown last took the court in one of the weirder games of the season as the Hoyas went from blowing out Charlotte to relying on some free throw heroics from rather unlikely sources. Since most of the players probably spent some time with their families during the break - I'm guessing Joshua Smith didn't fly all the way back to Washington - they should be feeling pretty good right about now as they near the second phase of the season.
DSR: I don't want to keep repeating myself here but the DSR shooting watching continues as the do-everything junior guard is hitting just 38 percent from the field and 27 percent from deep - both of which are easily career lows by a pretty wide margin. There seems to be no better stage to fix your shot than at the Mecca of Basketball.
Battle of Styles: Georgetown will have an advantage down low while Indiana can throw out perimeter lineups forcing the Hoyas to defend the 3-point line.
I'm generally in favor of having Mikael Hopkins and Joshua Smith basically sub in and out for each other and I think that will be important against Indiana. While we've seen Hopkins defend perimeter oriented players well - see the home game against Creighton last year - he's often prone to picking up silly fouls away from the hoop.
Indiana - like most teams - has nobody that can guard Smith. That's just a fact. Georgetown needs to focus hard on smart entry passes once he has established position. The more the senior puts the ball on the floor, the more he turns it over with weakside help knocking it away.
More Matchups: In the Hoyas last marquee non conference matchup against Kansas, JT3 only gave Aaron Bowen three minutes. It seemed weird at the time and then it got weirder when the explaination given was that Bowen was a matchup problem. Against the more athletic teams it seems odd to give less minutes than normal to your human highlight film. Personally I'd like to see Bowen given some time against Williams - who is also a freak in a good way.
On the Cusp: Believe it or not, Georgetown hasn't been a nationally ranked powerhouse since losing to Florida Gulf Coast in March 2013. For the first time since his first season at Georgetown, JT3 wasn't able to get the Hoyas into the rankings at any point. A victory against Indiana would like be enough for the Hoyas to crack the Top 25 as they sit just outside as the first team in the others receiving votes category.
The Worldwide Leader: This will be Georgetown' last appearance on the ESPN networks this season
unless....well let's not talk about how they could make it back before next Fall. So far the Hoyas are 0-2 on the Mouse Network with losses to Wisconsin and Butler. Unfortunately for us we don't get to listen to Jay Bilas as we are instead stuck with Jim Calhoun. Yikes.
Reason to be cynical: You believe in the mysterious powers of Tom Crean's Diet Coke addiction.
Reason to be delusional: The last time Georgetown went to MSG in search of a resume building win against a B1G team, they got one against Michigan State in February. With many Hoyas fans and alums home for the holidays in the NYC area, this game should have a home feel to it giving Georgetown the extra boost needed to win.
Final thoughts: I ended up not making the trip so I have to listen to Calhoun for two plus hours. Like most of the people reading this, I've never seen Georgetown defeat Indiana. I'd like for that to change during this Holiday week. This game seems like a toss-up anyway you split it. I think it will come down to foul trouble and Georgetown's ability to defend the 3-point line. JT3 seemed pretty upset after the Charlotte win with his team's defensive breakdowns so it will be interesting to see the adjustments or corrections the team has been able to make over the last seven days. I like the Hoyas in this one.